Just FYI: Nobody's Home is Clean All the Time

Yep, it's true.  You're not the only one. Everyone has that one counter in their home where random artifacts from the day unintentionally collect, or the one chair or sofa that clean clothes get piled upon.  What many people also have is the idea that 'real grown ups' keep perfectly tidy homes.

They don't.

You're home isn't the dirty kind of messy; you know that when you need to, you can make your space look completely beautiful.  It doesn't even take that long, maybe 35 minutes (ya know, give or take two hours).

Still, perfectionists often avoid cleaning until they can clean everything all at once.

Cleaning everything at once is an extremely satisfying feeling for perfectionists, but making your apartment look like an Elle-decor shoot is about to go down takes time.  Because perfectionists are usually pretty busy people, this magical window of time doesn't open too often.

Pair that with the idea that all 'real grown-ups' walk into a sparkling clean living space every day and this is the script that gets generated in your mind:

Ugh, when am I gonna get it together?

This isn't that hard, why am I so lazy? 

I really need to grow up.

That script is based on misinformation.  If you walked into 5 of your colleagues homes unannounced today, you would see a whole lot of NOT ELLE DECOR.

Instead of beating yourself up, practice imperfection.

Off the top of your head, can you name at least three things you do to make your home more welcoming when you’re expecting guests?  Do you clear off the coffee table or make your bed?  Do you put away that one pile of clothes that are clean but that you haven’t taken the time to put back in your closet?  Perhaps you light a candle in the bathroom or make sure there are no dishes in the sink.  Whatever it is that you do to make your home more welcoming for others, do just three of those things for yourself.

Don’t do anything else.

Don’t worry about all those little sundries strewn about in the bathroom or the recycling that needs to be taken out.  Just do those three little things and see how you feel, you might just surprise yourself.

We often wait until we have the time, energy and motivation to do it all at once, to do it perfectly.  Waiting for the magical trifecta of having the time, energy and motivation is a strategy that often leads to neglect of basic life maintenance. 

It sounds counter-intuitive, but when you make imperfection your goal, two things happen:

  1. More gets done.
  2. You feel better.

Could it be that simple?