Who Decides What Organizing Should Look Like?

I was thumbing through a magazine the other day and thinking about all the modeling hype. The covers of magazines are plagued with women that society has deemed beautiful. We see (and have been) women and even young girls who are comparing themselves to these ladies and in turn their self esteem is often times crumbling. Why do we compare ourselves to others? Why is it that we so quickly find flaws in ourselves? Would the world really be a better place if every single woman looked like the covers of these magazines? Kind of boring if you ask me!

As I moved on to my Real Simple issue I realized our society was doing the exact same thing with these types of magazines. We are comparing our own lives to the information and pictures that we see. Is your home perfect, like the cover? Do you wish it was? Have you ever questioned the way you were organizing your home after reading an article that tells you something completely different?

This really got me thinking. What DOES society think organizing should look like? And is that image truly practical for most folks? I will be the first to say that the cover of Real Simple and Martha Stewart are always stunning – thus the intrigue to pick up the magazine and read it in the first place. But the beautiful, pristine, model-home like images are not always practical. Yet, we still cut them out, post them up in clear view and hope that someday we will have a home or office that looks just like it. In fact, we may even go to the lengths of creating this perfect environment, just to find that within a few short months, possibly even a few short weeks (1-day if you have children like me) it looks nothing like the picture that we have come to admire.

It’s about this time that we have to really take a step back, really evaluate what organized looks like for us. Ideally your space will resemble the cover of Real Simple, in fact you might just send in a photo and maybe they will call you for their next photo shoot (it can happen.) But realistically your space may be more practical, simple and functional – huge emphasis on functional. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% behind you getting things organized (it’s my passion of course) but I can guarantee that if you set up a space that aligns more with reality and less with your ideal vision, your maintenance of the space will be much more manageable – which translates to less time spent on maintenance. Now doesn’t that sound good?



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10 responses to “Who Decides What Organizing Should Look Like?

  1. I know that daily its a fight to stay organized, and my attempts at maintaining the picture perfect desk, office, home fall flat quite frequently. However, I too feel that functionality is much more important. Never thought of organization as a construct of society, though society is a form of organization.

    • You make an excellent point. I hadn’t really looked at the angle of society as a form of organization. Now you’ve got me thinking – thanks for that! Also, I think your words “fight to stay organized” are very true AND very powerful. Often times we fall into that trap, and we end up fighting ourselves and the systems that put into place. By working toward a more functional system, focusing on practicality and not on perfection, we give ourselves a better chance of successfully maintaining an organized space.

  2. Great post! I totally agree that these over the top depictions of an organized space are nice in theory, but in practice we just need an organized system that works for us, makes our lives better, without being a picture-perfect space that isn’t really livable.

    • Hi Lelah! Exactly! I’m a sucker for a great photo, but then reality sets in and I know it’s not necessarily functional for me, or for many of my clients. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I love where you’re going with this Michelle. The idea that I can be organized without looking like Martha Stewart is freeing and motivating.

  4. Very insightful, Michelle. I’m about to have a daughter, so I’ve thought a lot about the images of women in the media. But, it never occurred to me that magazines could make me feel terribly about my home and office the way they can make girls and women feel insecure about their appearances. Great post.

    • Thanks for your comment! As my business is evolving (and will continue to do so) I have really had some great opportunities to think outside the box and really evaluate organizing from a lot of different angles. I hit me recently that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have that perfect home, and often perfect life. Much of this can be seen in the TV shows, magazines and online media that comes into our lives. I want people to know that it’s perfectly fine to have an organizing system that is functional and practical for you! Congratulations on your baby girl!!

  5. Great blog Michelle! I am a big fan of the minimalist/zen blogs and what you see all over are these beautiful glass or stone workspaces where the big wide open spaces dominate and provide this serenity and clarity. But I’m a geek!

    I like having little trinkets and toys and pop culture swag displayed in my space, but that creates a noise that these minimalist sites rally against.

    Do these things distract me, or do they make me feel at home? I really don’t know.

    • Thanks Matthew! If we removed all of the things that made us, well “us”, then who would we be? We would be as plan as those beautiful glass/stone workspaces you mentioned. The “noise” that you refer to (in reasonable amounts of course) helps make and keep us unique. Maybe it sparks our creativity, or maybe it’s just a stress relief after a long day. Keep it functional, keep it practical, but also keep it real!

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