Addiction to Organizational Porn.

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by Sarah Welch & Alicia Rockmore

 

Negative self-image. Fantasy-induced over-spending. Marital tension. A new kind of airbrushed fantasy-land is wreaking havoc on our homes and our psyches: org porn. “Org porn is that glossy, airbrushed fantasy world where everything is pristine, serene and perfectly in order, sort of Playboy, but with chore charts and name-plated cubbyholes,” said Sarah Welch. “It’s everywhere you look these days: in magazines, coffee table books, advertisements, and TV shows. And when consumed in excess, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy, binge spending on organizational products, and even marital discord.” The authors have interviewed hundreds of women on the topic of organization and an astounding 80% of them feel they fall well short of the mark when it comes to getting organized.

 

“Don’t get us wrong, gazing at beautiful images of meticulously organized rooms, perfectly displayed collections, color-coordinated closets, flawless family schedules, pristine kitchens, tidy mud rooms, and picture-perfect work spaces can be titillating – even meditative. There’s a reason we call it ‘org porn,’” said Alicia Rockmore. “But when they become the primary yardstick by which you measure your own general state of organization is when it becomes unhealthy. An airbrushed land of perfect organization cannot be sustained in this messy, unpredictable world called real life.”

 

Chasing perfection fuels something the Buttoned Up co-founders call “organizational inertia,” a type of paralysis that makes it virtually impossible to get started. Nearly every woman surveyed for our recent book, Everything (almost) In Its Place agreed that the most difficult part of getting organized was knowing where to start. If perfection is the objective, that paralysis makes sense. Keeping your house, work and schedule magazine-ready requires a superhuman effort to achieve and constant, superhuman vigilance to maintain. The goal of getting organized isn’t necessarily to have everything picture-perfect, but rather to eliminate inefficiency, so that you have more time to do what you actually want to do.

 

Instead of holding yourself to an impossible org porn standard, the authors advocate ditching perfection and instead focusing on why you want to get organized in the first place. Remind yourself that org porn is merely entertainment and an escape that few if any actually achieve. Reality is something entirely different. If it helps you, use those org-porn images to focus on the benefits you are trying to achieve: calm, efficiency, etc. Once you are clear on the real objective, then you are free to define your own rules for achieving that end goal (and what that end goal will look like for you).

 

If you’ve been poring over a few too many glossy images and feeling that you’re falling short of the organizational mark, consider the following.