How to Organize Your Home: When Eye Candy Isn’t Enough

posted by Aby Garvey on March 14, 2013 6 Comments

This is the third post in a new series on How to Organize Your Home. The series will focus on what it really takes to organize your home so you and your family members are happy with the end results. Enjoy!

Since becoming a professional organizer in 2004, and a blogger in 2006, a lot has changed. Today, more than ever before, there’s a nearly endless supply of ideas about how to get organized. Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the cover of just about any women’s magazine. You’ll see what I mean. Headlines say “5-minute organizing tricks” or “5 quick clutter cures” or “how to organize every room in your house!” And if that’s not enough, then hop onto Pinterest for a few minutes. You’ll find thousands of pictures of beautifully organized spaces.

Now don’t get me wrong: I love organizing eye candy. I love organizing ideas. I love being inspired by photos of beautiful spaces. But here’s something I know to be true: sometimes eye-candy isn’t enough. Eye-candy, just like regular candy, can leave you feeling full yet empty at the same time.

How to Organize Your Home | When Eye Candy Isn't Enough

Here’s what I mean. Picture yourself flipping through a magazine or pinning ideas on your computer. Once you’ve gotten your fill of organizing eye-candy, you lift your head up from the magazine (or computer screen) and see something that looks drastically different than what you were just looking at. How do you feel? Empty? Dissatisfied? Sad?

The very ideas that were meant to inspire us can have the opposite effect if our homes look drastically different than the idea spaces. It can leave us feeling defeated before we even begin.
If you’ve ever felt this way (and believe me, I’ve been right there with you) then here are some things to keep in mind:

1.  Where you are right now is just fine.

Organizing is a journey for everyone, even the person whose photos you just got done drooling over. Those spaces didn’t get that way overnight. Instead, time and energy went into creating those spaces. If that’s what you want, you certainly can have it. But first embrace that where you are right now is perfectly okay. You’re in a different spot on the organizing journey, and where you are is a terrific place to begin.

Next, step back and consider this:

2. What do you really want?

Before setting out to recreate an eye-candy space, step back for a minute and explore what getting organized is really about for you. Why do you want to be more organized? What will you do once you’re there? What will that be like for you? How will it feel? It is the answers to those questions that will really satisfy you. The answers to those questions are like eating a well balanced meal, instead of just candy. Instead of the full-but-empty feeling you get from candy, a well balanced meal nourishes you and sustains you for much, much longer. How a space functions and what you can do because of it is the well balanced meal. How a space looks, is more like the icing on the cake.

3. Ideas + Action = Results.

Organizing ideas and eye-candy can serve a terrific purpose. They can help us see possibilities we may not have considered before. As much as they can make us feel defeated if we let them, they can also inspire us to want something different and better. But ideas alone won’t get the job done. What it takes to create results is action. If eye-candy and the answers to question 2 aren’t enough to inspire you to get up and take action, get some help. Ask a friend. Read a book. Enroll in a class. Hire a coach or a professional organizer. Figure out how to get into action, because once you do, amazing things will start to happen. As you create results in the form of progress, you’ll want to keep moving forward.

What are your thoughts on eye-candy. Do they inspire you to take action? Or do they sometimes leave you feeling defeated? Thanks for sharing!

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program
  • March 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I do love eye candy but very often it just feels like a fantasy that can only go so far. The things that really inspire me to get organized are hoarding tv shows. I empathize with the people. I think there have been times in my life that I could have been in that situation but some thing intervened (a friend who needed a place to stay, a long distance move for a job, etc.) I have watched these shows from time to time and then stayed up all night reorganizing a room or two. My husband usually worries because no matter how organized an area is, I can always find something that needs to move on!

    March 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Oh what an interesting perspective about the hoarding shows motivating you! That makes a lot of sense.
    ~ Aby

    • March 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      I enjoy the eye candy. But that’s all it does for me. It shows me how its supposed to LOOK. It doesn’t show me how it functions, or tell me the benefits of it. It does nothing for actually helping me to organize. That’s what I love about your blog. You don’t just post before and after shots. Or even just give ideas for how to organize. I love that you talk about the whole experience. The whys. The benefits. The process. I love that you let us into your thought process. That is what inspires me. Because then I know how to achieve it. It may look different than yours. But the end result (organization!) is the same.

      March 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks so much Shannon. I appreciate your comments.

      • March 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

        Sometimes too much eye candy can look like clutter and that does not help me organize and simplify.

        March 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        Good point, Lisa.