I am messy, untidy, and have stuff everywhere. I want to be tidy and I keep de-cluttering and giving stuff away to the hospice but the mess marches on. I long to be a minimalist with a cool clear white house with no stuff lying around but I just can’t do it. There are books, letter, papers, fridge magnets with poems on them, scissors, wrapping paper, napkins, candles, well, everywhere. I know I could take all the poems off the fridge but I quite like looking at them.


Stuff on the bench.


Stuff on the other bench.
Even though I gave away nearly my whole collection of books, there’s still a mess.

Help is at hand however. I am doing an online course by Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity and have just listened to a lecture on perfectionism. Perfectionism is, apparently, fear dressed up in furs and high heels. It stops you starting, trying or finishing anything. Furthermore, it’s boring! Yay I don’t even have to try to be perfect.

Regarding my bookshelves, the complete nuttiness I’ve seen “designers” do with books makes me feel better. One of them turned all her books to the pages side because then they looked uniform. It didn’t seem to matter that you couldn’t read the title of the book. Another one covered all her children’s books with the same paper so they would look “nice” and “changed them out each season” to match the decor. Now that’s plain weird.

Very pretty perhaps but completely stupid.

I’m wrestling with trying to do more good in the world. Some days I empty my pockets for the beggars on Queen Street and other days I avoid their eyes and walk straight past. Then I feel guilty about the control I have. I think I need to find my one passion and do that to make a change. I’m jut not sure what that is. I try one day to be frugal and charitable and the next I go crazy for some lovely material or thing. I need to get up off my socialist armchair if I am serious about it.

I gave away most of my Christmas decorations to the local hospice shop but I kept my fairies and one or two other things that I love. When Sam was about 6 he came home from school with the advent calendar below. It even has little pockets to put lollies in. I find it so tender and special in its perfect imperfection. I picture him sticking on the pockets with great care and gluing the precious jewel at the top of the tree. I feel similarly about a bag he made for my knitting when he was at intermediate.


As Sam was growing up my only request for my birthday was that he made the card. Whenever I come across them, they make me laugh and smile. I’ve no idea what I am going to do with these cards but I simply cannot de-clutter them. I guess I could photograph them but it doesn’t seem the same somehow. Again, their imperfection makes them perfect.

I have never been a perfectionist as my friend Deb will attest to. I mean to fold the towels the same way and have them matching but I just can’t seem to manage it. I love it when other people do it though. So onward in imperfection.

Gilbert’s point is that it doesn’t matter who likes your off skew pottery bowl, or they think your poem is rubbish. It is unique and your imperfect offering and the act of making it was a creative one.  I am not in any danger of becoming a perfectionist but it makes me feel better anyway.


Gilbert is not the only one who suggests we just get started on something. Vonnegut has a similar point of view.



2 Replies to “Perfectionism”

  1. Well said AGAIN Sue – though I’ve never thought of your houses as cluttered,

    I think I’ll go de-colour code my bookshelves now. 🙂


    1. Haha. As long as you remember the colour of the book you want to find that would be quite handy. Less complicated than Dewey. Although mine is more Hughy, Dewey And Lewey ie Mickey Mouse.


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