One of the things I run into when organizing is a tendency towards the ideal. Perfection. It seems with all of the media out there showing us closets and pantries with all of the little containers in a row, and everything the same size and shape, we feel that organization needs to duplicate this or it’s not good enough.
But the fact is that it’s just not realistic for the majority of us. I was watching a home tour recently of a professional organizer (whom I like and respect very much). When they toured her pantry, it was perfection. Ahhhh…how wonderful it made me feel to see the tidy rows of everything. Everything in it’s place. Until I noticed something: when I looked at all of her canned goods, standing in tighter formation than any military unit on their best day, I saw that every last can was the same. All black beans, if I’m remembering correctly. Who has 20 cans of only black beans?! In reality, most of our pantries hold cans of all shapes and sizes and many of them (even of the same product!!!) don’t stack well.
So, what needs to happen is that we let go of the show room home mentality. In fact, there’s some evidence that severe disorganization many times comes from an idealistic mentality. Because things can’t be kept perfect, and the homeowner is holding themselves to an unrealistic expectation, they are faced with what seems to be an insurmountable task and therefore give up.
What’s the answer then? A home and an organization that’s workable for you. If it needs to be in pretty colors for you to enjoy it, then do that. If you are practical and need the most used items where you can get to them best, do that–even if it means that it disrupts a perfect row of containers on your shelf! Because in the long term, that’s the only way that your system will keep working for you and stay in place.