Why “good enough” is the new perfect.

Standing at the bedroom door, I was trying to wrap up our last organizing session. Looking back at the room I could not help but feel somewhat of a disappointment with myself. So much more could be done with that space. Sigh…

Even a professional organizer struggles with the lesson that sometimes “good enough” is enough.

This happened to be one of those days for me.

So there I was, surveying the result of 5 hours of decluttering and organizing. My young client had a hard time parting with her things, her treasures. We had already discussed that during our consultation.

I glanced at the new piles in the hallway. Trash, donate, belong elsewhere. We discarded very little, in fact much less than we needed to. Most times she could not come up with a reason for keeping anything and what she wanted to do with it. Another sigh…

Did I do what I needed to do?

Was there enough motivation? Did my preaching match her listening?

They say our brains can process about 35-50 thoughts per minute.

My perfectionist brain really felt like it was on fire with a barrage of questions and attempted answers.

If there is one thing I will never do is push. As a lifelong empath, I always absorb other people’s emotions and I worry about upsetting or creating discomfort. I tell clients I like to “stretch” their comfort zone instead.

All this tsunami of self-reflection was stopped in its tracks when a long “WOW” came behind my shoulders.

My young client came in, and blurted out in typical millennial style :

“OMG my room looks so much better!”.

“Really?” – I asked. “You mean that?”

I was blatantly seeking validation to quell my doubts. What I had wanted to see was Pinterest. What she was seeing was a new lease on using her bedroom.

I wanted the amazing before and after. She was appreciating the newly found floor space and the layout. She thanked me numerous times and gushed over how big and pretty her room seemed.

“Well, – I told myself. She might not know any better”.

It wasn’t until later that night, as I was reviewing the before and after pictures of our session that it hit me. She was right.

SHE KNEW BETTER

My client had just given me a refresher course on the power of progress versus perfection.

Good enough is the new perfect.

The room was so much calmer than before. I had left her world a much better place. There really should be no room for disappointment. Side by side those before and after photos were not Pinterest worthy but it was real life for this young lady.


When you find yourself  chasing perfection again here are 5 thoughts to help overcome it:


“Meet yourself to where you are emotionally able to go”

(not necessarily just where you are). Explore and stretch your comfort zone to new heights but never push beyond what you are able to enjoy.

 “Organization is in the eye of the beholder”

There is no formula. You have nothing to prove to anyone. It only has to work for the person living in the space. Stop trying to match what you saw in that magazine or that beloved store display.

“Victory begets victory”

This never fails me. Once you get a taste of what you can do, you are much more motivated to keep going and pursue a better version of you or your house. Start small and savor your victory. Do not beat yourself up because you only were able to declutter two drawers in your kitchen versus the whole thing. Pat yourself in the back on this small victory and remember that good feeling for next time. You will score another victory that way.

“Perfection is overrated”

Chasing it is quite useless. It often stands in the way of you making a difference in your current situation. Good enough really is the new perfect. We must realize that unless we appreciate progress, we will likely NEVER get to perfect.

“Before and afters really do help”

I know you’re smiling. We are but flawed human beings, my friends. Even the organizers with their magical powers to transform spaces and lives. Inside all of us lives a little girl or boy who wants to yell “look ma, look what I did”. So go ahead and give yourself that satisfaction. No, do NOT call your ma each time you clean out under your sink. But it is ok to take those before and afters. Look at the difference and feel good about your achievement. It sure helps me every single time.

Lori Cela

Lori Cela is a Professional Home Organizer and mother of 3 in Powell, Ohio. She loves to help others get organized and simplify their lives to make time for what really matters.