If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!

posted by Andrea | 02/21/2013

I frequently hear people apologize for their perceived lack of “proper” storage or organizing solutions.

They  might say something like:

“I know our system isn’t ideal, but it works for us.”

“Martha Stewart definitely wouldn’t approve, but it works for me.”

“I wouldn’t want anyone to look inside my closet, but it’s organized enough for me.”

I also get a lot of questions like these:

“Should I scan all of my pictures, recipes, files, and documents into my computer?” (even though they already have a really great system for keeping the physical copies organized)

“Should I organize my closet the same way you organize yours?” (even though their current system is working just fine)

“Do you think I should buy all matching storage containers for our pantry?” (even though the shoe boxes they currently use do the trick)

“Would it be better to replace all our storage tubs with clear tubs so I can see what’s inside?” (even though they currently don’t have an issue finding what they need in their opaque tubs)

“Should I try to meal plan on a monthly basis instead of only weekly?” (even though they are managing just fine planning on a weekly basis)

The list could go on…

All of these are legitimate questions, however in my opinion…

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Maybe your home doesn’t look like the pages of a magazine (or even as nice as your friends’ homes) — but if things are neat and organized enough for you and your family to enjoy spending time in your home, then it’s good enough.

Maybe your pantry or your storage room wouldn’t win any awards — but if you know where things are, can quickly find what you need, and quickly put it away again, then it’s good enough.

Maybe your meal plan isn’t color-coded and written out on a laminated form for the entire month — but as long as you have a general idea of what’s for dinner this week, then it’s good enough

I love thinking about better, more efficient ways to keep my home and life more organized — but I usually don’t start looking for a more efficient way until I start feeling like my current system isn’t working anymore.

If my current system, ideas, containers, etc. aren’t “broke,” then I’m not going to waste any of my valuable time trying to fix them! 

I’m sure there are times when I could possibly be more efficient or more organized… but with all the new products, new technology, and new information surfacing every single day, it would literally be impossible to keep up with it all.

Instead, I just keep going until I start to feel like my system isn’t working as well… THEN I start looking for a new way.

So the next time you see another fancier, prettier, “better” organizing idea on TV, in a magazine, or on Pinterest, first stop and think if you really NEED a new system or container… or if your current systems and containers are working well enough.

If your current system isn’t broken… don’t fix it! 

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12 comments

  1. Ashley

    02/21/2013

    Love this! Without really thinking about it, this is basically how I approach organizing, too. Something will get to a pint that I just can’t stand it anymore, then it’s overhauled. I’m one of the “crazies” that think it would be fun to upgrade organizing systems frequently but really–who has time?? :D

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  2. Laurel

    02/21/2013

    It’s this attitude that keeps me coming back to your blog before going to others. I love this message. Thank you!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Laurel!

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  3. Liz

    02/21/2013

    I’m constantly looking at better ways of doing things…either to simplify or reduce cost. But I try not to be neurotic about it. Lol

    After an event, or a big family meal, or a hectic week…I jot down a couple of notes in a handy dandy notepad I carry with me all the time. Maybe a 3rd 9 x 13 dish would have made Thanksgiving easier. Or less soda more juice. Or special band aids that wrap around a knuckle. Or a better way to make cole slaw that doesn’t involve the loss of fingers.

    I’m not going to go out of my way to find these things or make the changes. But the next time I’m at a yard sale maybe there’s an old Pyrex dish that would help. Or the clearance at cvs has weird shaped band aids. Or I’m waiting for dd somewhere that has wifi and can search a topic.

    It keeps me organized and for the most part always improving how we do things.

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    Andrea Reply:

    This is awesome Liz. I actually do much of the same thing — always taking notes so when the opportunity presents itself, I’m prepared. And I LOVE how you utilize your “dead time”. So many people don’t realize how much stuff they can accomplish in that dead time!

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  4. Jessica

    02/21/2013

    This truly is refreshing! We can all learn from this because I can just think of the many ways this would save us time and LOTS of money this way.

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  5. LoriB

    02/21/2013

    Amen!

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  6. Five4FiveMeals

    02/21/2013

    It’s refreshing to know that you, a professional organizer, feel this way. I am probably the least organized person on the planet. But since I had a baby I have had to force myself to become more organized. My system might not work for everyone and it might not look organized but 9 times out of 10 I can put my hand on something as soon as I need it.

    No I just have to go grab a trash bag and clear out all this paper in my kitchen.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I know MANY people who say they got much MORE organized after having a baby… I feel like I’m LESS organized now after a baby than I was before :)

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  7. Tara

    02/21/2013

    Ha! Great advice. Yes, somehow we all need reminders that if something is working well for us we need not try to fix it up by changing it all up with bells and whistles that may work for others. So true about so many things.

    My household systems really weren’t working for me. I realized after my 2nd baby was born that I had never really organized our house to be child friendly. You and I emailed about it a little. We moved in here before I was ever pregnant and I hadn’t changed our systems up when they were born. It was causing me a lot of extra work and time to keep up with it all. So I’ve been systematically going through my house zone by zone to restructure things.

    I literally take everything out of an area, scrub it down, then only put back what belongs there (and that I am willing to spend another single moment of my life cleaning and maintaining) and everything must have a proper home. I’m trying to put things where they are at the most logical/useful place in each space.

    When I got to our kitchen I struggled with how to organize everything and wanted to rearrange it all but got overwhelmed by the task. I brought my husband into the process because he cooks as often as I do and he laughed and told me that we’d spent 5 years cooking in the kitchen and most of the things we used frequently were already put in the places we found them most convenient.

    After I thought about it, I realized he was right. The kitchen is one area where we tend to rearrange as we go, out of convenience. It was nice to have that perspective and I could quickly put most things away right where they had already been kept. I did change a few things up or upgraded to better storage tools (pot lid rack, clear bins for snack foods etc.) and got rid of a number of things that had slid to the back of cupboards and never got used. It was amazing how easy it was once I realized my system wasn’t broken, just needed a tad of sprucing up. :o)

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  8. Janet

    02/21/2013

    ‘THANK YOU!! It’s so silly that we spend so much money to store all our “stuff” that wew need to thin out anyway. We’re taking boxes from Aldi to try using them for organizing our disaster of a linen closet. Our son is responsible for putting towels away. Problem is he just throws all sizes together. Hope the boxes work.
    Janet.

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  9. Abra

    02/22/2013

    Thanks! I needed this today!

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