Is perfectionism causing hurdles in your life? Here are some tips for letting go of perfectionism if you are struggling with the need for everything to be perfect in your home.
Having perfectionistic tendencies is something both Trent and I have struggled with our whole married lives.
He will obsess over the end result of a DIY project and set such high standards that we often want to throw in the towel and quit!
And I have been known to stop family fun time to take a moment to straighten things up in the living room before being able to stop my mind from focusing on the little things that need to be put away.
And let’s not forget the time I nearly ruined our relationship scrubbing an already seasoned pot to it’s original, shiny state!
If this sounds like something you can relate to, then I hope these tips will help you find a healthy way to conquer those perfectionist thoughts.
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Letting Go of Perfectionism in Your Home
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There are struggles to be the perfect parent, perfect spouse, or even a perfect friend.
Maybe your struggle is having to have a spotless, clean house all the time, or you never get to finish the cleaning because you can only focus on the tiny detail of the dusty baseboards.
Well let me be the first to burst the proverbial bubble.
There is no such thing as a perfect home.
It doesn’t exist – except for in our minds, or on Pinterest or Instagram.
I often get comments from readers that say:
“How do you keep your house clean with 2 boys?” or “I wish my house were as clean as yours!”
What you don’t know is that all the junk is shoved out of site to get that perfect shot. And I always love to peel back that curtain on social media and give a messy house tour!
Because, in reality, we all struggle with something in our home.
Laundry, meal planning, cooking, cleaning, yard work – there’s one mortal enemy that we struggle to tackle.
And for many, like us, sometimes it’s unrealistic standards we set for ourselves that are the root of those struggles.
And it goes beyond the home. The fear of being imperfect or not being good enough in someone else’s eyes can hold us back.
So the next time you tackle your DIY project or clean out that closet, here are some new ways to approach that to-do list without perfectionist tendencies.
Progress Over Perfection
Once upon a time, Trent and I homeschooled our boys.
Our younger child would work and work on something to get it just right, and spend the entire day putting intense pressure on himself to get it perfect.
And on the opposite end, but in a similar way, our oldest son would set such unrealistic expectations for the first time trying something new. He would freeze and not even begin out of fear of failure.
This was when Trent and I realized that we may be modeling bad behavior and knew we had to change our old ways.
So our motto became “Progress Over Perfection.”
If this is the first time you have built something, or tackled a DIY, or tried a new tool, remember to not set impossible standards for yourself.
Ease into your renovations slowly.
Save the big projects until you have taken the extra time to learn how to tackle new things before you move on to the next step.
Perfection truly is the enemy of progress and can have such a negative impact on you that it may keep you from pursuing any other project in the rest of the house.
Break Down Your Goals Into Smaller Steps
The first step I take before pursuing any DIY or new idea is to envision what I hope the finished project to look like.
Then I break down the important things into more manageable tasks.
And then I set time limits. Because if we don’t stick with those, then we can get stuck on one project for a long time.
If you only focus on the big stuff, then it may stop you from wanting to even start!
Just Stop Obsessing
Let me make this very clear, we are not making light of the struggle of obsessive-compulsive disorders. We have many dear friends who suffer from this disorder.
And we know how this affects their mental health on a daily basis.
And we want to encourage you to recognize the vast difference between struggling with perfectionism versus those with a true diagnosis.
So when we say, “Just Stop Obsessing” – we aren’t talking about or discounting the seriousness of this mental health disorder where “just stopping” sometimes isn’t an option.
But if you find yourself spending a lot of time on one aspect of your renovation project trying to pursue that perfect look, sometimes you just have to stop.
In this week’s podcast, Trent shares his story of learning how to mud drywall seams, which is not the easiest thing to do.
While you can’t see the details in the pic above, his first few tries were pretty bad.
And that negative self-talk started pouring out of his mouth.
He would spend hours that first time trying to achieve the impossible for a first timer.
In the long run, he realized that he just needed to stop focusing on the attention to detail because we started falling behind on our project.
After that first time applying drywall mud, he vowed to never, ever do this again.
But then, a few years later, he tried it again.
And it took some time for him to learn and he still doesn’t feel like he does his best work when working with drywall.
But he watched a few videos with new strategies and methods – which is a great way to get better.
The best way in letting go of perfectionism in your home is to make a conscious effort to walk away.
Get Rid of the All-Or-Nothing Mindset
When we made over our kitchen, we didn’t have the budget for the kitchen of our dreams.
I wanted a new layout, better cabinets, and a wall knocked out.
But we didn’t have the budget to accomplish that.
So we had to find a way to get a better-than-before kitchen while settling for a close enough kitchen.
And that is a great mentality to have.
Did you get the fridge of your dreams? Nope – but this one is close enough.
Were you able to make over your family room into the movie den you’ve always wanted? Maybe not, but you got close enough!
We can spend too much time striving for that unattainable goal.
And we might miss out on enjoying the small things you were able to change.
So maybe accept that close enough mentality if you are only focusing on getting the room right the first time.
Focus on Substance Over Stuff
If you find that pursuit of perfectionism is keeping you from the enjoyment of life, then something needs to change.
I had to realize that I was disturbing our family life with the constant pressure of having things put away.
I had a dear friend once say that she was choosing babies over baseboards.
She knew that those moments when they are teeny are so fleeting.
And it was such a beautiful thing to hear.
That encouraged me to stop focusing on the need to have a perfect home and to enjoy my boys.
Now, I have to confess, that I was never a messy mom, meaning, I didn’t really allow my boys to make messes in the house, like finger painting.
But I waited for a pretty day, and we enjoyed it outside. It wasn’t perfect, and I saw my weakness and struggle.
Even in the midst of that, I embraced that quality of life in a way that still gave me peace of mind.
That way I could enjoy the moment, and not ruin it by being worried that I’d end up with paint on my ceiling.
If you knew my boys, then you would understand why this was a true concern! 🤪
But even it the huge mess happens – which they still did in our home – it wasn’t the end of the world.
So letting go of perfectionism in your home can allow you to enjoy the important moments and memories instead of having a clean house.
Celebrate Your Success!
If this was your first time tackling a project – good for you!
Do you know how awesome that is?
You overcame your fear and actually made something with your own hands.
It may not be perfect, but that doesn’t lessen the reason to celebrate this tiny hurdle.
We are our own harshest critic and the only way we can move into the comfort zone away from those toxic thoughts is to be proactive.
That negative thought only leads to low self-esteem, and we need to put on a new belief in our mind.
And make sure to give yourself a little room for error, because even in learning to become a recovering perfectionist – you’re still going to make mistakes!
I hope this helped you if having that picture perfect home is something you struggle with.
Leave us a comment below and share a success story of when you were able to overcome your own perfectionist thoughts and embrace this messy life we’ve been given!
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