The Downside of Pinterest Perfection
Okay guys, I just wanted to write about something that bothers me. I feel like it can be harmful in your organizing efforts if you let it. And that makes me feel bad, because I know how hard it is to get organized.
I’m talking about Pinterest.
Organization Ideas on Pinterest
There’s something so appealing about Pinterest when it comes to daydreaming about organizing.
Scrolling through images of the perfect, pastel-colored, slightly blurred, faintly muted linen closet. All the towels one hue, all the baskets matching, all the labels artfully penned.
Or visions of playrooms with cubbies aligned to military precision, each adorned with an adorable graphic of the toy stored inside.
Yes, Pinterest can spur dreams and inspire design and organization ideas.
And I’m not gonna lie, I get caught up in those photos sometimes myself.
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Don’t Let Pinterest Get In the Way
But they worry me, because I think they can hurt you if you let them. Especially if you’re at the bottom rung of the organizing ladder or already struggling with perfectionism.
I think the images can be harmful if you:
- Are completely disorganized and think you have to have a splendiferous pantry or you’ll never be organized. No halfway measures accepted.
Then you’re discouraged.
- Allow yourself to be totally sucked in, spending time and money to create gorgeous, magazine-worthy closets with no idea how to maintain them. So they fall apart.
Then you’re sad.
- Create uber-organized play spaces for your children that require so much effort to uphold you end up either not letting them play in there or you do all the cleanup.
Then you’re frustrated.
- Design an entryway to die for but scream like a banshee every time someone doesn’t line up their shoes properly to keep it photo-ready.
Then you’re unliked.
Even by yourself.
- Imagine everyone else has it together and your house looks nothing like that and you’re pretty sure it never will.
Then you’re demoralized.
- Get rid of spaces that already function really well in favor of spaces that appear organized, and then wonder why you’re more disorganized than ever.
Then you’re confused.
- Pick organizing methods for how they look without thinking about how they work for your family. So it’s impossible to keep up.
Then you’re working too hard.
- Put off doing anything until you can find all matching components at an affordable price. So you can’t move forward.
Then you’re on the couch. Eating doughnuts.
Wait, maybe that one isn’t so bad.
Resisting the Pull of the Pinterest Ideal
I’ve been bitten by this bug, too.
Last year, my laundry room was atrocious in appearance but extremely functional. It worked great for laundry, and it stayed pretty neat because the bones of organization were in place.
But my God, was it ugly.
Impulsively during lockdown, I bought a new washer and dryer from Facebook Marketplace. Since hubby had lots of time, and we had to hook up new appliances anyway, I figured I’d bump redoing the laundry room up in priority.
‘Bye ‘bye, frat house chic.
My office is also in there. Well, in here actually. Since yes, I’m writing this post in my laundry room.
But, because of Pinterest and DIY blogs with glorious laundry redo ideas, I had to practically restrain myself with chains to avoid a total renovation. A renovation that would have taken away so much function.
Repainting, fixing drywall, spackling a bazillion holes, replacing trim that had been removed after a flood, and cleaning it really well was all it really needed.
And I compromised by removing a high shelf that stored our luggage while serving as a handy place to hang drying clothes.
But I’m glad I resisted the Pinterest-inspired urge to replace heavy-duty ultra-functional shelving with a more attractive option or to move the ‘70s era rusted, dented upright freezer to a less convenient place.
Walk to the basement to fulfill my ice cream needs? No, thank you.
Balance Function With Beauty
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not demanding you keep your foyers, basements, and utility closets relegated to ugly step sister status.
Although…Anastasia and Drizella weren’t very functional either so that’s a bad analogy. Plus at least they got to wear fancy schmancy dresses, so maybe it would actually be relegating them to Cinderella status?
Anyway, moving on…
I’m not declaring that function should always trump beauty.
For one thing, I find it much easier to maintain a room that doesn’t make me want to gag. And sometimes you gotta give a little to get a little.
For instance, while I’m still mourning the loss of the hanging pole, it was worth the compromise because it added more space and room to breathe in here. I feel better when I’m working, and (bonus!) damp pajama pants no longer hit me in the face while I type.
I’m just cautioning you to think it through. Don’t judge yourself or your organizing ideas through the lens of Pinterest.
If you get your organizing inspiration from Pinterest, here are a few tips:
- Organize first, and then look to Pinterest for ideas to take it to the next level, if you so desire.
- Plan for eventual changes, so you can adapt the system without giving up on it.
For example, if you go all in on an appearance project like matching bins, perhaps make them less exact and more “in the family.” Then when you need a new one in a different size later and the perfectly matching ones are discontinued, it won’t be a big deal.
- If you use labels, buy a few extra. Keep the special purple pen you used to write on them nearby, or make a note (psst here’s a way to make quick “mental” notes you’ll actually remember) so you remember what font and settings you used to print them.
- Don’t go all out on finishes a child will destroy, which will make you crazy. Or angry. Or both.
- Don’t take photos of your finished work and compare them to what you see on Pinterest. That’s just asking to get discouraged.
Judge your organizing by what it adds to your life in terms of time, convenience, and mental clarity – not by how a photo of it would look on Pinterest.
- Remember, those bloggers and photographers are taking photos of spaces they just finished organizing and/or they moved all the ugly crap out of the way before snapping down on the shutter button.
One amazing DIY blogger I follow who takes gorgeous photos makes it a point to say her husband’s fugly tan vinyl recliner is shoved out of the way when she photographs her pristine bright white and sea blue living room.
If your linen closet organization works well for you, meaning…
- You can put away sheets easily,
- You know where to find backup hair products,
- Nothing falls out when you open the door, and
- You know when to put toothpaste on the grocery list because you know exactly what you have,
…then don’t worry too much about scuffed shelves, ragtag blankets & comforters, ripped shelf paper, or mismatched containers.
If it bothers you every time you look in it, decide if it’s worth it to pretty it up. Just make sure you’re not taking away function or spending time/money you don’t really have trying to achieve perfection.
Let Pinterest Inspire You, Not Derail You
If you want to make things prettier for your own sake, go ahead. Use Pinterest for inspiration. Just don’t let the desire for beauty get in the way of getting organized in the first place.
Let Pinterest inspire you when you choose colors or are looking for a way to spruce up a closet.
Let Pinterest inspire you to finally replace all your mismatched, raggedy towels (if you can afford to and you care).
But don’t let it inspire you to:
- Spend money you’d rather spend elsewhere
- Make you the naggy mom you don’t want to be
- Procrastinate on getting organized because you think your organizing must look and be perfect
- Set up systems that are impossible to maintain or don’t even work for your family in the first place
- Feel like you don’t measure up
And most of all, don’t let Pinterest inspire you to give up completely. You can do this.