The Peril of Perfectionism
This is what the home of a perfectionist looks like.
I know what you just said. But if you suffer from a particular kind of perfectionism chances are good your home looks EXACTLY like this.
Now, of course all the living room needs to be tidy is to have the toys picked up, the surfaces cleared and the sweeper run. It really is that simple. But people who are perfectionists like me don’t see that.
I need to clean up the living room. I’ll just pick up the toys
Well, really the toy bins need organized. There’s too much in them.
But if I’m going sort the toy bins, I should really move the couch and chair. I bet there are wayward toys under there.
And if I’m going to move the couch and chair, I should vacuum and do the baseboards behind them. Well, really I should vacuum all the baseboards. It’s been a while.
But before I get the vacuum out, I really should vacuum off the furniture and dust. And, I could get out the furniture polish.
And the windows are looking kind of dingy. I should grab the windex. It will only take a second, but I should dust the blinds first.
But I don’t have TIME to dust the blinds and polish the furniture!
It’s like giving a pig a pancake or a mouse a cookie. It just goes on and on and on until you’ve made your work list so long that it’s become impossible to just pick up your living room. You don’t have TIME to be perfect, so why bother?
This post at Small Notebook really spoke to me because that, my friends, is me. My raging perfectionism and desire for the PERFECT home (holiday, birthday party, dinner, laundry) keeps me from having the kind of home that might not be perfect but would make me happy. I fret and worry about how long it will take me to do all the things that need to be done without realizing that, it probably only takes fifteen minutes to pick up the toys, clear the surface and run the vacuum cleaner and usually always can find fifteen minutes.
I’ve been working hard on stream lining the process. On identifying only the things that are the most important.
Every Day I(try to):
- pick up all the toys in the family room
- clear all the surfaces
- vacuum the living room and dining room
- make sure the dining room table is clean
- clear and clean the kitchen counters
- wash the dishes
- make the beds
- wipe up a bathroom (we have three, so I rotate. I wipe up one per day)
- sweep the hard floors downstairs
- cycle at least one load of laundry
If I have time and motivation, I move to my weekly cleaning list which is more detailed and involves tasks like sheet changing, toilet scrubbing and mopping. Most weeks, I get through all of my weekly list, though I’ve given up doing it on Monday and in an hour. Fly Lady must live in a little house with no kids. That’s all I can figure.
I also utilize a timer. I set it for 15 minutes (which is about the amount of time two small kids can be counted on to mostly be busy with something) and work to get as much as I can off of my list in that amount of time. Honestly, it takes me about 90 minutes a day to clean the house. That includes putting away laundry, post dinner clean up, daily chores and working in things off of my weekly chore list that I want to get done.
It’s hard to want so badly to be perfect, but it really benefits no one. And by giving up just a little bit you and your home will be a lot happier.
This is what the home of a reforming perfectionist looks like.