Organization Should Be Practical, Not Always Pretty

posted by Andrea | 04/18/2012

photo source 

Wow — what a gorgeous space! Don’t you wish your home could look like that?

I’m sure we’re all guilty of looking through home and garden magazines and wishing our homes, kitchens, closets, pantries, garages, etc. looked as amazing as the spaces in those magazine photos.

Right?

I know I am!

There have been many times (especially during our remodeling projects) when I’ve wished my space could just be a little more “fabulous”, a little more “put together”, and a little more like those magazine photos… but it’s not.

And while I’m simply ecstatic with the outcomes of our home renovations, I can’t help but compare them to those perfectly decorated spaces inside my favorite magazines. I do it without even realizing it.

If you’ve struggled with this too, here are a few things to remember…

These spaces are staged.

So unless all your clothing is color coordinated, you wear the same style every day, and take the time to perfectly space out your hangers, your closet will never look this nice!

photo source

Sure, our closet doesn’t look as nice as the one in the magazine — it’s not even a walk-in — but it holds our clothes and we can find everything we need when it’s time to get dressed. Plus, we have a TV!

Theses spaces aren’t useable.

So unless you’re the only person who ever uses your laundry room and you never, ever have to unfold a towel, your laundry room will never look this organized.

photos source

My laundry room isn’t nearly that nice, and although we are planning to renovate it when we do the kitchen this summer, it works just fine for washing clothes and storing cleaning supplies!

(we do have cabinets to the right of the photo)

These spaces are designed by big-budget professionals.

So unless you have an unlimited budget, access to a team of interior designers, and a really big space, your bathroom will never look this glamourous.

photo source 

Not to mention the fact that there is absolutely NO storage in this bathroom… and almost no counter top either. I’ll take my inexpensive, home-made bathroom vanity with tons of storage any day!

These spaces don’t depict real life.

So unless every food and grocery item you buy is color coordinated, and unless you hardly have any food in your house, your pantry will never look like this!

photo source

Our pantry is definitely not pretty, but it sure holds a lot of food… plus, we got our shelving units for free!

While I don’t plan to stop flipping through magazines, drooling over the gorgeous photos, and ripping out ideas for my Idea’s Book… I do have to remind myself that although our kitchen, closets, bathrooms, and pantry might not always be pretty, they ARE practical, organized, and “livable”.

We can always find what we need when we need it and we’ve probably saved a lot of time and money by not having everything color-coded and in matching baskets {although I do love matching baskets}.

If you’ve ever felt disheartened by your home’s lack of “pretty”, just remember that when it comes to organization, practical is the thing to strive for… especially if you expect your family to participate in your organizing efforts.

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27 comments

  1. Jamie

    04/18/2012

    Bless this post. *cue kitty wearing pope hat*

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  2. Rebecca

    04/18/2012

    Thanks for remind me of this. It’s been hard for me to see those points. I’m glad you pointed them out.

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  3. Ana

    04/18/2012

    This is a great post. I feel like sometimes we are always aiming for something that can’t be reached! YAY for houses that look real :)

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  4. Laurel

    04/18/2012

    Good points and a welcome post!

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  5. Catherine

    04/18/2012

    A friend of mine was on the Martha Stewart Show once upon a time and I got to watch some staging first hand. It was crazy! It took three people more than five minutes to decide how many cookies should go on a display plate…and then how to lay them out after that! In the same way as that plate of cookies, none of these rooms is natural.

    I cringe when I see that giant vase waiting to be toppled in the bathroom photo! I’d much rather be in my lived-in, child friendly space, than any of those cold rooms.

    Thanks for the post!

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  6. Jessi @ PracticallyFunctional

    04/18/2012

    I absolutely agree, thanks for putting the reminder out there! Our apartment isn’t very “pretty” or decorated, but everything is definitely functional, which I think is the more important piece. That’s the idea behind the name of my blog too!

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  7. Miranda

    04/18/2012

    Great post. I struggle with this too. Those homes don’t reflect real life and since our goal should be to enjoy life and BLOOM, trying to make things perfect defeats that purpose.

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  8. Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper)

    04/18/2012

    LOVE this post! I have become a much more patient person when it comes to buying things that are simply containers for other stuff. Even if that stuff is necessary stuff like food and clothing. I look around our home now, eternally grateful for all we have, but think, “What else can we stand to purge? What aren’t we using that we are storing/maintaining” That makes a lot more furniture, containers and upgrades unnecessary right there :)

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  9. Karena D

    04/18/2012

    Thank you for this post. I definitely needed this and appreciate you writing about it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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  10. Krystal

    04/18/2012

    Thank-you for this! As a professional organizer I do not promote perfection nor am I perfect in any way. It is so great that you shared this. People including me want to see real life pictures not staged. As long as your space works for you and is functional then that is all that matters.
    Kudos to you!

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  11. sarah

    04/18/2012

    while interior magazines aren’t for actually living in or living real life in a little Visual merchandising can go a long way. Anyone who has slaved it out during or post college in retail can tell you a couple VM tips. Grouping your like items in your closet by colour using the ROYGBIV (rainbow) can make a happy visually orgainized space. You can do the same thing with bookshelves. Organize by catagory and then stack like colours together. Its a little OCD and pre-kids for me to maintain but every now and again I go on a rampage and hit the reset button.

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  12. Beatriz

    04/18/2012

    So TRUE! I love going through magazines and looking at the beautiful room/bathrooms, then I walk into my bathroom and I think WT%? I have to say although I do love those magazines, the rooms never look livable. You can have that perfect room but it isn’t home when it’s perfect – it’s a magazine.

    Thanks for today’s post!

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  13. VeritySa

    04/18/2012

    Great Post! Thanks!

    Good reminder. Sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective.

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  14. Melissa

    04/19/2012

    Oh, I love this post!

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  15. Rachel

    04/19/2012

    Thanks for sharing this, I always struggle with wanting my home more like a magazine (at least in how clean, bright, and minimalistic things look)

    I have to say I LOVE your bathroom, it looks great and what you did with the space….amazing! (I followed the reno on farmhouse love)

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  16. Chris

    04/19/2012

    And something else you have is CONTENTMENT!

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  17. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    04/19/2012

    I was just getting ready to write an article like this! I talked it through with my daughter-in-law and actually have a draft. Should I say, “great minds think alike” or “you snooze, you lose”?

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  18. Becky Bishop

    04/20/2012

    Well… I meant to post on THIS page, but I had multiple pages OF YOUR open. People reading this should check out your email organizing tips.

    So many pages open on my desktop – so little time…
    Not too organized of me, huh! Anyway, thanks for THIS great post, too!

    Smiles!
    Becky

    [Reply]

  19. Maria

    04/22/2012

    this is definitely a great post!

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  20. Beth

    04/22/2012

    Thanks so much for this reminder! I often get discouraged that no matter how hard I work at simplifying and de-clutttering my home never seems to look like the ones in magazines or on pinterest. But I need to keep in mind that mine is better – it is happily lived in! :)

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  22. Debra Kapellakis

    05/21/2012

    I have never seen anything like that drawer organizer! That is like the best thing ever for my kitchen drawers.

    [Reply]

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  24. Susan

    04/10/2013

    I think any organized pantry full of food (no matter the condition of the pantry itself) is a beautiful thing! :-)

    [Reply]

  25. Sol

    04/10/2013

    I was just daydreaming of soaking in a bathroom like that until my screaming kids burst my bubble. Oh well it looks dangerous anyway (without a bathmat to keep me from slipping as I go find a towel before the kids walk in on me. Ha!

    [Reply]

  26. Rebecca Coughtry

    04/10/2013

    The thing that is missing from all these “beautiful” photos of the perfect home is the loving, laughing, happy family – the whole purpose of home in the first place. Pretty and super tidy looks glamorous, but it also looks lonely to me. Give me my family – loud, messy and silly – any day!

    [Reply]

  27. Vivian

    10/08/2013

    Thanks for the reality check. This makes me feel so much better about my home and storage.

    [Reply]