JERI DANSKY professionalorganizer

December 2006 Newsletter

This month's focus: Giving up on Perfectionism

Tip of the Month


In most things that we do, "perfect" is both ill-defined and an unnecessarily high standard.


  • Example 1: What would a perfect report look like, anyway? Given how vague that is, how could anyone live up to that standard? And why wouldn't a "darned good" report be good enough?
  • Example 2: Does anyone really care if your dusting is done to perfection?


And perfectionism can lead to a number of organizing problems.


Perfectionism can keep us in constant procrastination. If we think every choice we make in beginning a new effort must be perfect, we'll never get started!

Perfectionism can waste a lot of time, making good time management impossible. If we spend an inordinate amount of time perfecting something that doesn't need perfecting, many other truly important things don't get done.


Perfectionism can keep us from getting rid of clutter, if we think every item we dispose of must find the perfect new home. Now yes, sometimes we can find someone who just loves whatever it is we're disposing of, and that's great. But sometimes it serves us best to just donate items to a good cause, rather than trying to find a perfect owner for each one individually.


In Messie No More, Sandra Felton writes about this goal: to become a successful average housekeeper. As she points out, "Done is better than perfect."



Resource of the Month


I've just started a blog where I briefly note new organizing products, books, strategies, etc. as I come across them - almost daily. See for a conglomeration of ideas, from green cleaning services to lovely magazine files to laptop ergonomics - and much more. Feel free to post a comment on any of the items; I'd love to hear from you!



Quote of the Month


Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.

(Usual translation: The perfect is the enemy of the good.)



Product of the Month



Containerizing is a key principle in good organization, and baskets can be wonderful containers. Bambu nesting baskets are made from 100% organically grown bamboo and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.


Donation/Recycling Idea of the Month


Do you have left over change from a trip to another country? Send it off to UNICEF.



Second Quote of the Month


Give up on yourself. Begin taking action now, while being neurotic or imperfect, or a procrastinator or unhealthy or lazy or any other label by which you inaccurately describe yourself. Go ahead and be the best imperfect person you can be and get started on those things you want to accomplish before you die.

-- Shoma Morita



Book of the Month



I wanted to include that second quote of the month because it related to the theme of perfectionism - and also because it serves as the introduction to The Spiritual Art of Being Organized, by Claire Josefine. I'm not as much of a "voluntary simplicity" person as Claire is, but I still loved reading (and re-reading) her book. By the time you're done reading this book, you've gotten a good dose of wisdom - and you've begun to know Claire, who is certainly worth knowing.


For more reading ideas, see my list of favorite organizing books.



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