Why IHeart Organizing and Thoughts on Perfection

I received a comment a few months ago that I just haven't been able to shake.

"Your posts always inspire me, but also bring me down. Your home literally looks like it's from a magazine, not realistic for most of us.  Most of your photos seem so staged and not real life.  While they are beautiful to look at, I just don't see any need to clean and organize because the way you share your home here on your blog, does not look lived in. 

I don't mean to offend, but I just don't visit as much as I used to because I found myself becoming more depressed rather than inspired."

I felt like I had somehow failed along the way.  That although I try to share our messes along with our successes, that something was still being lost in translation.  And that maybe we have all felt that way a time or two.

Perfect.  What does that word mean to you?

Perfect is a word that is tossed around loosely around here and also a word that can carry a lot of weight.  If you would have asked me my idea of perfect 15 years ago, my answer would probably be a lot different than it is today.

And let's face it head on, being organized typically correlates to the thought of perfection.  Everything needing a specific place, shoes all neatly lined in a row, books stacked alphabetically by color and shape and size....

Before I had kids, my vision of perfect was typical.  I imagined getting married to prince charming, living in a beautiful white house with black shutters and a picket fence and having two kids, one boy and one girl of course.  Mr. and I would have two successful jobs and I would make home cooked meals for our family each night.  The house would be filled with pretty furniture and our kids would never be messy.  You know, all of those typical visions I would dream about while flipping through books and magazines or while watching my favorite movies.

But of course what happened in life was not at all what I envisioned.  In fact, I did everything backwards by getting pregnant, building a house and then getting married one week before our first was born.  It wasn't my vision of perfect but my dad was able to walk me down the aisle and I was in love and it was all suddenly clear.

Perfection is only what you want it to be.  You define your own perfect. 

Indulging in blogging and social media worlds can really be a positive or a negative, and finding the right balance can be quite challenging.  This coming as both a blog writer and a blog reader.  A pretty picture one day may inspire you to clean out your closet.  While too many pretty pictures and suddenly you may feel like you are trying to live up to something impossible to achieve. 

Based on comments I have received over the years, I know that some wonder why I spend so much energy doing the things I do {covering a cardboard box with pretty paper if it functions just as well without, giving up a few hours of sleep to finish up a project, spending a day decluttering instead of laying on the beach}.  And there are times when I have even asked myself the same thing.  But then I open a closet and see that pretty box or walk into our living room and glance over at the bookcases my husband and I spent hours assembling, staining and modifying, and it all makes sense.  I get a rush of warmth and happiness and I smile ear to ear.  You see, I have experienced first hand the impact a space has on my mood and my day.

When reading blogs it is easy to fall into the comparison trap.  Their house is so PERFECT!  Their kids are total angels!  They can sew and bake and craft and clean and still have time to workout and publish a book and create a life size playhouse out of cardboard boxes?!  How do they do it all!?  But it is so important to remember that what you see on Instagram and read on a blog is only a tiny piece of the puzzle.  I love to blog and Instagram but still have to remind myself of this important fact every time I am reading and scrolling.  Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, it may not always tell the whole story.  

"Comparison is an act of violence against the self."  -Iyanla Vanzant 

I personally love clean and pretty spaces and I work my tail off to declutter, organize and update our home.  I do it because I love to do it.  I do it because it makes me feel good.  I do it because we spend a lot of time within the walls of our home, and I want it to reflect us and to welcome us with comfort and warmth.  I do it because there are so many parts of my life that are messy, and having a clutter free home does wonders for my soul.  I am more productive and work happier when I know where things are and when I am not gazing at huge piles.  In a way, organizing and working on my home is continuous therapy for me.  Grabbing a paint brush or purging a closet has given me an uplifting escape from some of life's obstacles more than once.

And I share it here.  I share it here because I love connecting with people who share a similar love and passion for organizing and crafting and all things home.  I share it in hopes that our projects and stories and trials and errors can inspire or help someone.  I share because I know that what motivates me is reading blogs and articles in a magazine and I am passionate about being part of that ring of inspiration.  I don't share to deter or to intimidate or to portray a "perfect" image or life.  That is never my goal, that is not what this is all about.

I blog here because it is my time away from everything else.  Away from family drama, illnesses, bickering kiddos, the dirty floors, the never-ending to do list and the other weight I carry on my shoulders.  For the last five years I have referred to it as "my happy place" because that is exactly what this blog is for me.  It allows me to focus on the positives and the things I love.  Does it tell my entire story?  No.  I don't share the things that bring me down or personal situations because that is not what this space was ever intended for.  That won't uplift or inspire you and this is my outlet to celebrate successes and moments around our home that make us happy.  So when you see our rooms styled and photographed and organized, that is because I am celebrating the work I put into those spaces.  It is because I am showing what I am passionate about.  I am tapping my passion for photography and interiors and connecting with others.

Knowing that, I try to keep that same perspective while reading other blogs.  It is so easy to look at a space or a home tour and feel inadequate or inferior.  They did all of that in less than a year?  I have lived in our home over twelve years and haven't accomplished as much!  Why can't I use power tools like her?  Why can't I paint a masterpiece the way she does?  Why would they invite me to be part of a blog hop, my styling is mediocre in comparison?  Why can't I bake cupcakes from scratch?  Those are all things I have personally felt in the past.

{I bake cupcakes from a box or purchase them from the grocery store}

And then I remember I have two choices.  I can assume that they live an untouchably perfect life and carry negative feelings about myself and what I haven't done, or, I can select to feel inspired by what they can do and have done and realize that the person writing the blog is sharing their happy moments too.  And that they, just like the rest of us, have a personal side that they opt to keep private.  That no matter how pretty a room is or how well dressed their children are, that no one lives a "perfect" life.  We all have our struggles and go through highs and lows and triumphs and downfalls.  They are highlighting their successes and celebrating their accomplishments and for me, that is what is inspiring.  In fact, blogs have inspired me to try more things than I ever would have before I started reading blogs.  They have given me knowledge, hope, encouragement and ideas that I will forever be grateful for.  I have learned to apply the same thought concept to watching movies and reading glossy issues of my favorite home magazines.  When I flip to a page with a neatly organized laundry room, I know it was styled and maybe even shot in a studio, but that doesn't mean that I can't feel inspired to go better my own laundry space.  In fact, that is typically what happens and why our home is always evolving.


A few months ago I started participating in the #100HappyDays project on Instagram, in which I share a happy moment from each day for 100 days.  I started the project because I was going through a few personal challenges and knew that despite some struggles, I have SO much to appreciate and be grateful for.  Although majority of the times when I am happiest, I don't have my camera or phone on me, I do try to replicate a feeling or emotion through the project.  That might be time spent with my kids, a moment when my hubby went out of his way to do something kind, girl chats with my bestest or a bouquet of freshly picked flowers.  Once again, I am not in anyway trying to portray that life is all giggles and flowers, but I am opting to focus on those little sweet moments in life that fill me with joy.  To appreciate our family and friends and home and little things that make up our story.

I know it can be easy to forget when you are scrolling through your blog reader and image after image is another pretty project or space, but always remember that you define what perfect is for you.  It is whatever you want it to be.  For me, it may be that moment when my house is clean and everything is in its place....

.... other days it may be this view of a messy kitchen table.

Because that messy table tells a story.  It tells the story of the bike ride we went on.  It holds leftovers from the picnic we had with friends.  It is the aftermath of a finished bathroom project.  It holds the baseball gear from the weekend's double header and finished art projects from summer camp.  It is a daily planner filled with wedding and party invites.  It says, "You had a great weekend and went to bed knowing you can deal with the mess tomorrow". 

Fresh flowers and a spruced up space one day....

And beach towels from the pool and blankets from last night's movie watching the next....

As I mentioned, what I thought was perfect 15 years ago is not the same as it is today.  Bryan and I have disagreements and bicker from time to time, but I still consider myself endlessly fortunate to have found someone gets me and who still shows me daily how much he loves me.  Although we don't have a white home with black shutters and a picket fence, we do have a place to call home and it is filled with my favorite people.  And it gets messy.  And my three beautiful boys fight and don't always listen and leave a never ending trail wherever they go but they have big hearts and excited spirits and are happy and healthy.  My husband does most of the cooking and building and I do a lot of the cleaning and planning and together we have found a good rhythm and balance.  So although it wasn't what I initially envisioned, perfection for me is not about what we have or how clean our home is or how straight my shoes are.  It is about the people and the memories and the small moments that tell our story.  I don't clean and organize and cover boxes to achieve a picture perfect home, I do it because I enjoy it and it makes me happy and is one of the pieces of my life I am personally passionate about.  I do it because I know that life can get messy and I like having systems that allow us to pick up quickly and ease our daily home maintenance process.  I do it so we can have a fun and busy weekend and when it is time to deal with the messes, things have a place to go.  And I share it all in hopes that the projects that make us happy, may bring some smiles to others as well.

"Home has always been one of the most important things.  If I don't feel at home in my space, then I feel really unmoored." -Nate Berkus

I always try and stay positive and naturally focus on that here and on Instagram and never try to discourage anyone by leaving out the yuck; in fact I blog with the intention of doing the opposite.  I hope that you can you choose to read blogs with an open mind and know that behind every polished space is most likely some sort of a mess.  That bloggers are not out to make you feel inadequate, but are trying to uplift and inspire.  That this community is what you make of it and can be a really amazing thing that will encourage you to do things that you never thought you could.

You can check my past thoughts on organizing and perfection here.

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