Thursday, January 24, 2013

Good Enough

I'm going to let you in on a little secret that maybe you already know...

...keeping my living space clean is a battle I rarely win.

But this time, we're doing it. And we're doing it relatively well.

My mother will tell you all reasons I am not naturally a clean person, ranging from lazy (I love sitting down to a movie or tv show and just zone out), distract-able (I am the queen of half finished projects) to rebellious (what my mother considers "messy" in her house often verges on what I consider "clean" in mine).

I bring it down to two reasons
1. I get caught up in the details. I mean, how can you expect me to put my laundry away when I know my drawers aren't perfectly organized, and I can't just reorganize my drawers, because I plan on reorganizing my bedside table, which will allow me to put somethings from my drawers into my bedside table, but I can't reorganize my bedside table until I reorganize the office, because I know there are a number of office supplies in my bedside table that should really go in the office, and the day I was going to do that, Scott was working in the office... you get the picture.

2. Scott is an instigator. He doesn't intentionally sabotage me, but the minute his one pair of jeans hits the floor in the bedroom, it's like he's giving me permission to put 100 things on the bedroom floor. Not the most sound logic, but sometimes my brain works in weird and wild ways.

I've discovered the solution that is letting my house sit rather tidy for more than 3 days. We're verging on 13 here.  And believe me, that is a BIG DEAL. The solution is to let myself settle for "good enough".

It sounds counter-productive, but it does work. I may not have my dresser perfectly organized (and I am a perfectionist when it comes to organization), but as long as I can still put clothes in it, it's good enough.

And for those clothes that end up on the floor, whether they be Scott's or mine, it's usually a case where they're destined to be worn again, but they're good enough to go back in the drawer, rather than in some no-man's-land between the dresser and the laundry.

Of course, since "good enough" is only "good enough," I do also have an ongoing list of areas that will need finer attention (such as the cookbook cupboard that spews out index cards of recipes every time you open the door too quickly). While it may seem like it's just procrastinating those kinds of projects, it's amazing how many more of them I actually get done -- start to finish! When the house takes less than an hour to clean on a Saturday (including vacuuming and dusting... something that always got missed when we exhausted ourselves tidying), the weekend feels like it stretches out forever, and suddenly we're inspired to tackle some of the other projects on our list. 

But overall, this policy of "good enough" has given me the best motivation of all... the permission to celebrate the small victories, rather than holding out for the big ones, and that in itself is all the motivation I need to move from "good enough" to "great"


  1. I try to be OK with doing a "good enough" job of cleaning or whatever it is I'm doing...but the perfectionist in me still thinks that "good enough" isn't "good enough." :( I guess it's a work in progress.

  2. Good enough is a great philosophy. As long as something gets done. I'm trying to do things as they come. So instead of letting all my dishes for 2 days pile up, I'll wash a dish as soon as I'm done with it. It's tricky though because I also like to zone out and fall prey to 'I'll do that later'.

  3. Good enough sometimes has to be good enough. I'm a terrible procrastinator, but I also know getting stuff done means I don't have to do it later. It's a harder one when it's stuff that constantly gets dirty and needs cleaning again.


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