Expectations VS Reality in Organizing


How many times have your personal expectations ruined good experiences, good relationships or good food? I had a profound conversation with a friend of mine a few weeks ago that led me down the path of expectations. I have taken note of my own expectations in every day life – how people act and react to situations, when something should happen, anticipating a lousy time before it’s happened, felt less of myself because of an unexpected outcome. Seriously, how many times have expectations ruined your day?

What entitles us to such expectations? Past experience is a great gauge as a future predictor, but it isn’t everything. A common phrase around our dinner table with our nine year old is, “don’t trust the first bite”. He would try a new food by popping the tiniest piece in his mouth with the expectation that he wouldn’t like it, quickly declare he didn’t like it and push it away. Instilling the “never trust the first bite” mantra meant he actually had to set aside his expectations for just a second and really take a moment, and a slightly larger sample size, to determine if he liked the new food. Slowly, as he realized we weren’t serving slop, he had to set aside expectations and just try it. His pallet has expanded and his love of food has grown.

I started to think about this in relation to organizing. How do expectations about organizing sabotage our ability to organize? How do our expectations about how something “should be”, prevent us from moving forward because we will never reach that perfect level?

Setting expectations aside, how could you improve the functionality of your spaces? Looking at your closet, without thinking, “I should keep this, so and so gave this to me and I don’t want them to be upset if I parted with it”, what would you pass along? Consider asking other people in your home what spaces function for them and what spaces could use improvement. You might be surprised to hear what they have to say.

Be open to your organizing needs and not your expectation of what those needs might be. Start to be mindful in how your use your space and what your use in your space. Edit and reorganize as needed. Your spaces are alive with you and the others you share them with. As your needs change so will the spaces and focusing on the true needs of those spaces and not the expectation of what they should be will help you meet your organizing goals.

Happy Organizing!