I am not perfect and I am proud of it, but I can also learn from it.
There is a miserable misconception that being organized means being perfect. My nephew Noah loves to tease me about being in the organizing industry and often says to me, “If it’s not going to be perfect, why bother trying.” Last weekend our family attended Noah’s spectacular wedding in Philadelphia. It was an almost perfect event, except that my place card should have said” Mr. Adam Kenner and Mrs. Murphy’s Law”. I learned a valuable organizing lesson at Noah and Ethan’s wedding.
As a Professional Organizer my daily attire mostly consists of yoga pants, t-shirts and sneakers. So, I was a bit rusty when it came time to dress for an evening, black-tie optional, wedding in downtown Philadelphia. I bought what I thought was a stunning dress – a sleeveless royal blue satin dress with a dazzling rhinestone yolk. I knew I had silver shoes, a silver handbag, assorted silver costume jewelry, and Spanx to complete the outfit. I listed all the items on my packing list (of course I had a packing list! In fact, I used the packing list from my other nephew’s wedding 2 years ago and just made a few tweaks – gotta love the packing lists) and I was ready to roll!
On the day of the wedding, my hair and make-up were complete so it was time to get dressed….
I went to put on my SPANX and I heard that “crunch” sound that can only mean trouble! You know the sound I mean… as if you just sat on a snack-sized bag of potato chips. What?! My SPANX lost their spunk??
It never occurred to me that when you don’t wear them for several years their stretchiness fades. No problem, I packed an extra pair of control top pantyhose. I put those on and let’s just say they didn’t fit my post-menopausal body the way they should ( note to self – buy the next size up) .
I’m dressed and look great. Now it’s time to put essentials into my cute silver evening bag (did I mention that I was feeling really good about all my silver accessories? Last time I used them was 10 years ago for my daughter’s bat mitzvah, but I kept them neatly stored in Container Store boxes in my closet). Wait, my cell phone doesn’t fit into my handbag… what the heck?! It never occurred to me to try this out at home . Fine, I will attempt to hold my cell phone in my hand throughout the night.
As I leave the hotel by myself (my husband and kids are on an errand and meeting me at the wedding venue) a stranger in the lobby tells me how beautiful I look. Between the joy I feel about this upcoming marriage and how lovely I feel all dressed up, I am ready to float across Liberty Plaza (where the Liberty Bell is on display) to the Down Town Club. I walk down the street and all of a sudden my feet feel funny and I can no longer walk in a straight line (nope, no alcohol consumed yet). I look down at my sparkling silver shoes and see that my recently manicured big toes have poked through the top of each shoe. NO!! I haven’t worn these shoes in 10 years, how can this be? It never occurred to me that the glue on the shoes could dry out. I now have to remove my shoes as I cross Liberty Plaza and dozens of tourists are staring at me ….they are probably wondering why I am dressed that way in the middle of the day, why I am shoeless, why do I look like I’m ready to cry, and where’s the reality TV crew filming this nonsense?
I walk shoeless to the wedding venue and while there is no time to shop for a new pair of silver shoes, the maître de has white duct tape and another crafty relative, Wendi, repairs my shoes well enough so I am able to hobble down the aisle during the ceremony to read my passage. I remove my dilapidated shoes after the ceremony and by sheer luck my cousin Miriam happens to have size 6 sneakers in the coatroom. I happily wear her comfy, neon sneakers with my satin dress. By this time my pantyhose that don’t fit well anyway have a lovely run up the leg from walking shoeless! Who cares – I’m not perfect , this evening is not about me, and I’m still having an awesome time! (yup, by now I am drinking alcohol!)
So, what is tonight’s organizing tip? I actually have two:
- Assume nothing! You know the ol’ saying… IF YOU ASSUME IT MAKES AN ASS OUT OF U AND ME. In my case, I should have tried on everything as a trial run before packing. I assumed all the items would work.
- Perfection is useless! Doing something at 80% is a heck of a lot better than doing nothing at 100%. This goes for packing, keeping your home organized, writing a blog post, or sharing your life with your partner.
STRIVE FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION
Jocelyn, I enjoyed reading your account of the wedding outfit/shoes fiasco.
I attended your session at the Scarsdale Girl Scout House a few weeks and was inspired to get started on decluttering my house.
I also thought that a pro like you would have a perfectly organized home and life.
So I was amused at your story – you’re “human” after all!!
Thank you for the emails you are sending.
I am definitely human!! I’m very comfortable being “good enough” instead of “perfect”. Thank you for the nice feedback about my session! I’m so glad it was inspiring!!! YAY!!!
I too enjoy all your articles
As a retired wedding planner I must compliment the staff for having duct tape available
I use to carry a bag in my car trunk with all the items you may never use except
For that one “ but if”!!!
Formerly owner of
Coordinated celebrations Inc
Thank you, Audrey! You’re so right – the duct tape was a lifesaver.
As a current “mother of the bride” (the wedding is in October of 2023), the thought of being a professional wedding planner makes me shiver; my hat (or veil) is off to you.
I loved your story about your clothing problems for your nephew’s wedding. It made me smile and it reminded me of my own stories of accepting imperfections joyfully.
You are the best!
Thank you, Alexis! I love your phrase, “accepting imperfections joyfully.” Since all of us are a work in progress, a good sense of humor and attitude help tremendously!
You are AMAZING!!! After I read yr emails, I am left feeling inspired to do the best I can and NEVER disappointed…(I call them “baby steps” ) Your stories are funny and your weekly topics motivational…YOU are an excellent writer! Pls keep it up, I always look forward to read what you’re up to!
With Pleasure, Iris
Thank you, Iris! Your complimentary feedback makes me feel 10 feet tall (and I’m only 4’11” in real life, so that’s huge)
Your approach of using baby steps is so on target! Keep up the great work!
Thank you for sharing your great story. Mishaps always make the best stories and lessons. I love your insight and advice about perfectionism. I shall strive to be good enough and embrace mistakes as a learning tool and a story maker.
Thank you, Suzanne! It took me a few decades to come to this important realization, and I am on a mission to spread the “gospel.” As women, we are particularly vulnerable to the perfection trap, so I want to change the script! Thanks again for taking the time to comment and for your insight.