Tuesday, July 1, 2014

236 Why IHeart Organizing and Thoughts on Perfection

I received a comment a few months ago that I just haven't been able to shake.


"Your posts always inspire me, but also bring me down. Your home literally looks like it's from a magazine, not realistic for most of us.  Most of your photos seem so staged and not real life.  While they are beautiful to look at, I just don't see any need to clean and organize because the way you share your home here on your blog, does not look lived in. 

I don't mean to offend, but I just don't visit as much as I used to because I found myself becoming more depressed rather than inspired."



I felt like I had somehow failed along the way.  That although I try to share our messes along with our successes, that something was still being lost in translation.  And that maybe we have all felt that way a time or two.

Perfect.  What does that word mean to you?


Perfect is a word that is tossed around loosely around here and also a word that can carry a lot of weight.  If you would have asked me my idea of perfect 15 years ago, my answer would probably be a lot different than it is today.

And let's face it head on, being organized typically correlates to the thought of perfection.  Everything needing a specific place, shoes all neatly lined in a row, books stacked alphabetically by color and shape and size....


Before I had kids, my vision of perfect was typical.  I imagined getting married to prince charming, living in a beautiful white house with black shutters and a picket fence and having two kids, one boy and one girl of course.  Mr. and I would have two successful jobs and I would make home cooked meals for our family each night.  The house would be filled with pretty furniture and our kids would never be messy.  You know, all of those typical visions I would dream about while flipping through books and magazines or while watching my favorite movies.

But of course what happened in life was not at all what I envisioned.  In fact, I did everything backwards by getting pregnant, building a house and then getting married one week before our first was born.  It wasn't my vision of perfect but my dad was able to walk me down the aisle and I was in love and it was all suddenly clear.

Perfection is only what you want it to be.  You define your own perfect. 

Indulging in blogging and social media worlds can really be a positive or a negative, and finding the right balance can be quite challenging.  This coming as both a blog writer and a blog reader.  A pretty picture one day may inspire you to clean out your closet.  While too many pretty pictures and suddenly you may feel like you are trying to live up to something impossible to achieve. 

Based on comments I have received over the years, I know that some wonder why I spend so much energy doing the things I do {covering a cardboard box with pretty paper if it functions just as well without, giving up a few hours of sleep to finish up a project, spending a day decluttering instead of laying on the beach}.  And there are times when I have even asked myself the same thing.  But then I open a closet and see that pretty box or walk into our living room and glance over at the bookcases my husband and I spent hours assembling, staining and modifying, and it all makes sense.  I get a rush of warmth and happiness and I smile ear to ear.  You see, I have experienced first hand the impact a space has on my mood and my day.


When reading blogs it is easy to fall into the comparison trap.  Their house is so PERFECT!  Their kids are total angels!  They can sew and bake and craft and clean and still have time to workout and publish a book and create a life size playhouse out of cardboard boxes?!  How do they do it all!?  But it is so important to remember that what you see on Instagram and read on a blog is only a tiny piece of the puzzle.  I love to blog and Instagram but still have to remind myself of this important fact every time I am reading and scrolling.  Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, it may not always tell the whole story.  


"Comparison is an act of violence against the self."  -Iyanla Vanzant 


I personally love clean and pretty spaces and I work my tail off to declutter, organize and update our home.  I do it because I love to do it.  I do it because it makes me feel good.  I do it because we spend a lot of time within the walls of our home, and I want it to reflect us and to welcome us with comfort and warmth.  I do it because there are so many parts of my life that are messy, and having a clutter free home does wonders for my soul.  I am more productive and work happier when I know where things are and when I am not gazing at huge piles.  In a way, organizing and working on my home is continuous therapy for me.  Grabbing a paint brush or purging a closet has given me an uplifting escape from some of life's obstacles more than once.


And I share it here.  I share it here because I love connecting with people who share a similar love and passion for organizing and crafting and all things home.  I share it in hopes that our projects and stories and trials and errors can inspire or help someone.  I share because I know that what motivates me is reading blogs and articles in a magazine and I am passionate about being part of that ring of inspiration.  I don't share to deter or to intimidate or to portray a "perfect" image or life.  That is never my goal, that is not what this is all about.

I blog here because it is my time away from everything else.  Away from family drama, illnesses, bickering kiddos, the dirty floors, the never-ending to do list and the other weight I carry on my shoulders.  For the last five years I have referred to it as "my happy place" because that is exactly what this blog is for me.  It allows me to focus on the positives and the things I love.  Does it tell my entire story?  No.  I don't share the things that bring me down or personal situations because that is not what this space was ever intended for.  That won't uplift or inspire you and this is my outlet to celebrate successes and moments around our home that make us happy.  So when you see our rooms styled and photographed and organized, that is because I am celebrating the work I put into those spaces.  It is because I am showing what I am passionate about.  I am tapping my passion for photography and interiors and connecting with others.


Knowing that, I try to keep that same perspective while reading other blogs.  It is so easy to look at a space or a home tour and feel inadequate or inferior.  They did all of that in less than a year?  I have lived in our home over twelve years and haven't accomplished as much!  Why can't I use power tools like her?  Why can't I paint a masterpiece the way she does?  Why would they invite me to be part of a blog hop, my styling is mediocre in comparison?  Why can't I bake cupcakes from scratch?  Those are all things I have personally felt in the past.


{I bake cupcakes from a box or purchase them from the grocery store}

And then I remember I have two choices.  I can assume that they live an untouchably perfect life and carry negative feelings about myself and what I haven't done, or, I can select to feel inspired by what they can do and have done and realize that the person writing the blog is sharing their happy moments too.  And that they, just like the rest of us, have a personal side that they opt to keep private.  That no matter how pretty a room is or how well dressed their children are, that no one lives a "perfect" life.  We all have our struggles and go through highs and lows and triumphs and downfalls.  They are highlighting their successes and celebrating their accomplishments and for me, that is what is inspiring.  In fact, blogs have inspired me to try more things than I ever would have before I started reading blogs.  They have given me knowledge, hope, encouragement and ideas that I will forever be grateful for.  I have learned to apply the same thought concept to watching movies and reading glossy issues of my favorite home magazines.  When I flip to a page with a neatly organized laundry room, I know it was styled and maybe even shot in a studio, but that doesn't mean that I can't feel inspired to go better my own laundry space.  In fact, that is typically what happens and why our home is always evolving.

{via}

A few months ago I started participating in the #100HappyDays project on Instagram, in which I share a happy moment from each day for 100 days.  I started the project because I was going through a few personal challenges and knew that despite some struggles, I have SO much to appreciate and be grateful for.  Although majority of the times when I am happiest, I don't have my camera or phone on me, I do try to replicate a feeling or emotion through the project.  That might be time spent with my kids, a moment when my hubby went out of his way to do something kind, girl chats with my bestest or a bouquet of freshly picked flowers.  Once again, I am not in anyway trying to portray that life is all giggles and flowers, but I am opting to focus on those little sweet moments in life that fill me with joy.  To appreciate our family and friends and home and little things that make up our story.


I know it can be easy to forget when you are scrolling through your blog reader and image after image is another pretty project or space, but always remember that you define what perfect is for you.  It is whatever you want it to be.  For me, it may be that moment when my house is clean and everything is in its place....


.... other days it may be this view of a messy kitchen table.


Because that messy table tells a story.  It tells the story of the bike ride we went on.  It holds leftovers from the picnic we had with friends.  It is the aftermath of a finished bathroom project.  It holds the baseball gear from the weekend's double header and finished art projects from summer camp.  It is a daily planner filled with wedding and party invites.  It says, "You had a great weekend and went to bed knowing you can deal with the mess tomorrow". 


Fresh flowers and a spruced up space one day....


And beach towels from the pool and blankets from last night's movie watching the next....


As I mentioned, what I thought was perfect 15 years ago is not the same as it is today.  Bryan and I have disagreements and bicker from time to time, but I still consider myself endlessly fortunate to have found someone gets me and who still shows me daily how much he loves me.  Although we don't have a white home with black shutters and a picket fence, we do have a place to call home and it is filled with my favorite people.  And it gets messy.  And my three beautiful boys fight and don't always listen and leave a never ending trail wherever they go but they have big hearts and excited spirits and are happy and healthy.  My husband does most of the cooking and building and I do a lot of the cleaning and planning and together we have found a good rhythm and balance.  So although it wasn't what I initially envisioned, perfection for me is not about what we have or how clean our home is or how straight my shoes are.  It is about the people and the memories and the small moments that tell our story.  I don't clean and organize and cover boxes to achieve a picture perfect home, I do it because I enjoy it and it makes me happy and is one of the pieces of my life I am personally passionate about.  I do it because I know that life can get messy and I like having systems that allow us to pick up quickly and ease our daily home maintenance process.  I do it so we can have a fun and busy weekend and when it is time to deal with the messes, things have a place to go.  And I share it all in hopes that the projects that make us happy, may bring some smiles to others as well.


"Home has always been one of the most important things.  If I don't feel at home in my space, then I feel really unmoored." -Nate Berkus


I always try and stay positive and naturally focus on that here and on Instagram and never try to discourage anyone by leaving out the yuck; in fact I blog with the intention of doing the opposite.  I hope that you can you choose to read blogs with an open mind and know that behind every polished space is most likely some sort of a mess.  That bloggers are not out to make you feel inadequate, but are trying to uplift and inspire.  That this community is what you make of it and can be a really amazing thing that will encourage you to do things that you never thought you could.


You can check my past thoughts on organizing and perfection here.

236 comments:

  1. A few years ago I went to a conference for Moms, Heart at Home. The speaker, Jill Savage, taught us not to compare our insides to others outsides. I guess I use that philosophy when I read your blog. I know that you are staging the pics and that a truly lived in house with 3 boys doesn't typically look like that. I love reading your blog and getting ideas. Thank you for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing - it's a great lesson for all of us that what we see on blogs are just a small slice of someone's life.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your photography and beautiful organizing ideas so much, and seeing the "imperfect" or messy side of things makes me appreciate the beautiful things so much more. :) You give the rest of us hope we can make our living spaces as well-planned and fresh as yours!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read every post, but don't often comment but felt I had to here. I thoroughly enjoy your posts and feel very inspired by them. Excuse the British expression here, but they give me the 'kick up the bum' to turn my ideas into actions, and because of that our rented house is slowly turning into the home I want my kids to feel happy and comfy in. I love how you show the beautiful end results, we can then all appreciate with you the hard work and effort you put in!

    Keep up the fab, inspiring posts, I for one really love them! Over here in the UK we are sadly lacking in blogs such as yours! Have a great day xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jen - I visit your blog because I think you have great style, lots of talent and a great point of view. Your content is fresh and interesting and your photos, layout and design are delightful. There are a lot of blogs out there and yours is among the best. Never think that you have to explain that it isn't always reality, most of us already appreciate that. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I get what you are saying :) I have always believed you to be a genuine blogger. That is why I read your blog almost everyday :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Jen, I've never commented before. But I want to tell you - I get what the other commenter said - but I wouldn't internalize it too much. I work 12-hour shifts, some days, some nights, and I've found endless inspiration on your blog about how to help keep things organized in my life so that I can feel at home with my two small kids when I'm not at work. You even inspired me to build my first piece of furniture (a console table :-)) I think most people get what you're trying to do here, and if you were in Virginia, I'd love to hang out! Sarah H.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow - that was fantastically written, thank you so much for sharing that with us!

    ReplyDelete
  9. How you spend your time is your choice. You love to decorate and organise and are proud of your home - and so you should be.
    This is your blog and you can post about whatever you choose, if people don't like it they don't have to read it - but plenty of people do like it so just keep on doing your thing.
    howsoonisnow-tcg.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Amen! I love getting ideas & inspiration from your blog. Like you said, the trick is not to use blogs as a comparison of what you have/don't have, but as inspiration for something you always wanted to try, but didn't know how (or were timid about starting). At then end of the day, it's about appreciating your own home & the gang that fills it. Keep doing what you do!
    Shar

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow Jennifer! I read all you wrote about blogging and organizing and making things perfect for you and I identify myself completly in your words. I have a blog also and I post what I do and how I like to improve my house, because that gives me pleasure! And because my house gives me pleasure... but it's worthly for me, and not to someone else... very important the way you said it...
    Love organizing! Love decoration and have passion for beauty... in all her forms...people, nature, things, art...
    Passion for beauty is my phrase :)
    Kisses from Portugal :)
    Teresa

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love this. I know I get jealous (or envious) of blogs like yours that do paint a perfect picture but I know that's your blog and what you want. No one wants to view home tours with dirty dishes and every other real life, every day stuff that we all have. But it is nice to know that you do have those "imperfect" moments where life trumps blogging perfection. It means you're living a full, beautiful life.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fabulous blogpost! I think we all suffer at some point from feeling inadequate when we see other people lead a 'perfect lives' - and then I remember that I only show other people the things I chose to show. Mostly I find these feelings happen when things aren't right in my own 'Real life' Thank you for putting this in perspective

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very well said. Environment effects moods dramatically which is one reason I myself organize. I love that you quoted Iyanla Vanzant. Her books inspired me years back. Another great book that taught me the importance of loving my environment and making it special is "Living a Beautiful Life" by Alexandra Stoddard. I blog myself and I never show the messy areas of my home. Though if I did I could fill pages and pages with them. Ü

    Appreciate your insights on this.

    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nancy! I am adding "Living a Beautiful Life" to my reading list. :)

      Delete
  15. You are amazing. Simple as that. Your home is gorgeous and I totally get where you are coming from. Does my house ever look as clean as yours? Maybe for 2.5 seconds before my toddler comes and destroys it haha. But coming here and reading your blog gives me something to aspire to! I can only dream of having a home like yours but your blog gives me hope. Thank you so much for sharing everything you do! It means a lot to a good chunk of us looking to be inspired :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I loved the post! The blog wouldn't be as inspiring if the pictures didn't showcase all the work you do. Your pictures, for me, show me ideas on how to style something, projects to tackle, etc. I love love love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you so much for this post and for your blog. I have so appreciated you letting us journey with you through your home updates, but I have especially appreciated you for exactly what you shared in this post. I've never felt like you portray perfection, but rather positivity. Your blog has been a happy place for me and has inspired me to transform our own home through organization and beauty. Our home is so much more peaceful now thanks to implementing great organizational tools/system that WORK based on inspiration from you. I also appreciate seeing the process of your home because it has helped me see the process of my own. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all of the spaces that still need work, but then I stop and look at all of the hard work we've already done and how much it's paid off in peace in our home and I have confidence that we'll get to that point in the other spaces. Thank you so much for all you do! -Amanda

    ReplyDelete
  18. What you do takes a lot of hard work and commitment, and the fact that you get satisfaction and pleasure from it, while also helping others figure out how to get more organized, makes it so worthwhile.Thanks for sharing this heartfelt post - it was a good reminder to toss aside the insecurities and just be, do and feel what you want to, and make your own happy place.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I´m from Sweden but I will try to explain to you in English what your blog means to me: I love your blog and think of you as a person with a warm heart, very sincere :-) I always feel uplifted when I visit your blog, and inspired. Of course your life isn´t all perfect , who has that kind of life? Thank you så much for yor blog - the inspiration, the beautiful photos, and I also love the way you write!
    //Ingela

    ReplyDelete
  20. I could not have said it better myself! I have often felt the way your reader does, but I also get it that no one is perfect. I have been through the same perfectionist tendencies. When I get overwhelmed trying to make a space look "pinterest worthy" I have to step away, go sit on my porch, sometimes I even ask God to help me let it go. I gain a new perspective on the project and either become content with how I can make it work for me or be content with dropping it altogether. I am a teacher full time and out for summer break right now. I spend probably 80% of my summer cleaning and organizing my home, my classroom, or looking for new ways to organize. I also ask myself..."why am I doing this instead of sitting by the pool?" and I can honestly say, I just love to do it. It's like a weight lifted off me when a neglected space is brought back to order. But yes, you have to keep it all in perspective or it will take over. Thanks for sharing this, Jen! I love reading your blog and have been inspired!
    Vicky in Alabama

    ReplyDelete
  21. I only found your blog a few months ago but I love it. I have been inspired to organize spaces and make ordinary things beautiful. Thank you for all you do - I love it. It can't be easy to be a blogger - you share so much of yourself and become so vulnerable. Just remember that for every person you can't please there are at least 50 more you do!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a wonderful response, Jen. I heart you AND everything you post! :D

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great post. The fact that other people feel bad about the things you post says more about them than you. Your blog is beautiful, your tips are always friendly and inventive and you share so much passion.

    ReplyDelete
  24. That's the funny thing about writing a blog like this, isn't it? No one REALLY wants to look at your kids-tore-the-place-apart photos, so you push the mess behind the camera and photograph the pretty part. But then it puts this styled, perfect image out there. And I don't think any of us are trying to fool anyone, it's the nature of the beast. I struggle with this too. Love you, love your blog. p.s. Haven?? I'm going this year :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heck yes! So excited to see you there!

      Delete
  25. Clearly this commentor doesn't actually READ the content of your blog and only looked at the photos. Please don't even stop what you're doing, your blog inspires and and I just love every bit of it. No one is EVER perfect, we know better!! Hugs, we love you!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I never post on blogs but after reading this I wanted to. I love this post, I love how you dealt with a not so positive comment in a really positive way. I read a lot of blogs and of all of them I LOVE how yours is written...Life can be upsetting and hard and confusing, but to dwell on that rarely helps me. Hearing your positive and upbeat voice reminds me to focus on the positives in my life too. I'm 100% on board with home being a calm and happy retreat from the world - often even from my own busy-stressful-overwhelming thoughts - and your home and your attitude inspire me everyday. I love that when you do share a struggle or a mistake that you bring out and focus on the learning and the progress and the successes. You're killin' it. Don't change! I heart U xXx

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow. I LOVE this post! What a good reminder. Sometimes I am envious of the time others have to complete projects, decorate. With 5 young kids at home there is not a lot of time left for other things. But what am I trying to attain? A perfect house? Or flourishing relationships with my kiddos. When put that way, I know my version of perfection!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I have been following you for quite a while and I have always loved your upbeat attitude. I can tell you love what you do in your home and you are great at it. I also appreciate this post because it makes you seem more real to me. It is good for us readers to have a glimpse of the sometimes chaos in your life to remember that you are indeed human just like us.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just wanted you to know that I just LOVE your blog. I go every day to see if you have anything new up. Although I enjoy the pretty pictures, I also like to see the messes because as you mentioned, it is a part of life. Your posts have inspired me to no end. Thank you for creating such a wonderful blog. It brightens my day. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is a really beautiful post, Jen. Those comments can be hard to shake, but it has given you an opportunity to share a little bit more about why you do what you do. It is a blessing to be able to do what you love day and and day out and share it with others. I couldn't agree more with all that you said. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great post and great quote from Iyanla!! Your blog continues to inspire!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. You really spoke from your heart. You have been an inspiration for me. I only wish I would have started reading your blog earlier. Keep up the great work.

    ReplyDelete
  33. That was so sweet of you to respond to that reader. Your blog is my happy place, too! Thank you for the "real life" photos! That's exactly how my house looks after the weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Jen, I doubt I have ever commented before ... but I have been reading AND GETTING INSPIRED for ages now! I feel so lucky and privileged to be able to read your ideas, amazing end results, mistakes, fixes, etc. I live in South Africa, and about a year ago we bought an old house, which we are DIY'ng our way around. Your ideas have inspired so MANY PROJECTS and have also allowed so many to go right (which could have gone wrong). We have a lot less DIY "things" to our disposal here (though we are slowly catching on), but your ideas really help when trying out something new. I honestly believe in my heart of hearts that people who read your blog (and many other amazing blogs) and end up feeling depressed or down, are simply looking for a reason to feel that way. They are inferior in their own minds...and it has nothing to do with you, your blog or the way you share your adventures. If people want a pretty home, they need to put the hard work in. You and your hubby clearly do, and the depressed / uninspired peeps, must just pick up a paintbrush and get off their butts and do it!

    ReplyDelete
  35. There is so much negativity in this world that it saddens me that people take the time to leave negative comments on your blog (or any blog really). As adults we have a lot of choice including reading or not reading a blog. Why bring someone down? What do these people get out of it? I personally enjoy your blog and thank you for writing it.
    Paula, Milton, ON Canada

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Paula! I agree, and I have seen my share of negative comments in my day. I didn't take this one so much as intentionally hurtful, but a valid point that I wanted to address. After much thought, I could see where she was coming from and was assuming that others may have had those same thoughts.

      Delete
  36. I love your blog! I think everyone has a different lifestyle. I like my house very clean and organized all the time and I never thought that your house was too perfect and not lived in! I am always inspired by your posts. And I do see plenty of posts where you show the before or work in progress and the messes that were! There are so many home improvement/organizing blogs out there but you have always been my favorite. Everyone has a different opinion and you can never please anybody but please know that you have so many fans that love your style, love your writing, and your home!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Jen,

    I heart you! This is my favorite of all your posts. You are beautiful inside and out. Thank you for sharing a slice of your life with us!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Jen, thank you so much for your words and heart. Your posts continue to inspire me to not worry about being perfect but to create my own happy place in my home. I too did a lot of the 'life stuff' backwards but in the end I know everything comes full circle. Thank you and keep doing what you are doing!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you Jennifer! I've noticed and loved the mess shots you share, because it does show it is a lived in home and not a photoshoot. I am far from where you are on my journey, but mixing inspiration from here with another blog that more represents the state of my house and the daily struggles for someone not born with a love of clean keeps me balanced.

    I think I'll cover my repurposed priority mail box and iPad mini box before we have company so that it will look a bit nicer. Those touches help it look like you really do care, even when things are in disarray. And for the comments that generated this post, even if she is a slob like me she may one day see the benefit in covering a box with pretty paper. Us slobs should like it most of all, since don't we use every available box to corral our stuff and sometimes find storage gems along the way?

    Thanks again Jennifer. I feel like a peewee cheerleader watching high school nationals. My skill is nowhere near yours, but I am inspired to up my game.

    EJ

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great post! What a perfect way to describe why you do what you do. I'm even more inspired now!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I applaud you for responding with a thoughtful and articulate post, and with kindness. Although I am not a lifestyle blogger, I feel much the same way about my home. As a very soon to be empty nester, I'm pretty sure I'm going to miss those happy messes. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Couldn't have said it better myself! I agree and I'm just like you, nothing makes me happier than walking into a room and seeing what I have accomplished, a clean closet or new paint etc. Some people want the look but don't enjoy the process of making it that way. They can;t get mad that there are people like us who love the process of making it that way!

    ReplyDelete
  43. When I first started reading blogs I had that where do I start I can never do that fear and anxiety... do I start by cleaning and purging one room at a time or cleaning the whole house and purging as I go.... what do I do... but for me it is one room at a time and your blog and others inspire me to think HEY I can do something like that in my laundry room.. and make my plans for my needs. No one has he time to be perfect! NO ONE! thanks for all you do and show us how to do! Tam

    ReplyDelete
  44. This post is fantastic and so are you! You're an inspiration to many. Just remember, 'Haters will hate, proverbs 9:8'.

    -Sandra

    ReplyDelete
  45. Love this post. Thanks so much for sharing all that you do Jen, you clearly love what you do and it shows! Keep it up! I have also been participating in the #100happydays challenge, like you, we have our own personal struggles and it can be hard to always recognize the good, I love that the challenge makes us take a moment everyday to acknowledge and recognize all that we have!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I get this same type of response about my house all the time. So much so, that people act awkward in my home, and then apologize for the condition of their home when I am in their space. I totally understand wanting to live in an organized, clean space. And honestly, why is it so hard to pick things up at the end of the day/project? :) Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. IHeart your blog! While I also enjoy having a clean and organized home, mine is nowhere near photo shoot ready. That being said, I find your blog to be a source of inspiration and positivity. So, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I have been following your blog for as long as I can remember. Your posts have always inspired me, but I can definitely relate to the reader that sent you that message. All of your content leaves me with a smile on my face, but this one is different. It made my soul smile and feel at ease. This is by far, my favorite post.

    ReplyDelete
  49. This person clearly has some issues within herself. Maybe someone recently told her her home is a pigsty. I adore this blog!!! I keep my home as immaculate as you Jen and still get compliments on its homey-ness! I have a very small budget and have always managed to copy your projects, or change them to suit me. What pleases one person will not always please another. Please don't let these people get you down, obviously we all love what you do as it's a reflection of who you are! Don't change a thing!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thanks for putting together such a thoughtful response to the inevitable angst some folks will feel when they do indeed "compare themselves to strangers on the internet!" I have found your site to be fabulously upbeat, your photos and home uplifting, your comments funny and supportive. I check in daily for a quick bit of inspiration, a really helpful practice. I find that in the midst of dealing with some of the more difficult, unchangeable challenges in life, it is really healthy to consider a new shower curtain or alternate arrangement of the bookshelves, something concrete, manageable and nurturing. Your work is lovely. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Your blog is MY happy place, inspiring in so many ways - I look forward to each new post.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I have been following your blog for years and love all of your ideas. What a wonderfully written post... Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I think you wrote that beautifully. I understand where the commenter is coming from. A couple of years ago I started to get down from reading a lot of blogs and looking at pinterest and so on. Then I realised that 1) the rooms are styled just for the photo and 2) people are just showing the pretty stuff because it is nice to dream and appreciate the cleanliness for a few minutes! I am sure you would love it if the trail of dropped clothes would put themselves in the laundry hamper too! I also realised that I was starting to suffer from thinking that people like yourself did *everything* and did it well. Then I read somewhere that it is easy to pick up that impression when reading about this person who builds furniture, that person who cooks gourmet meals from scratch every night and this other person that does amazing crafts with her kids every day. The reality is no-one does ALL those things EVERY day. Crafty Mom might have a hoarder's basement. Furniture building Mom might eat take out every night. Anyway, realising that I was amalgamating all the experiences I was reading helped me to stop! Now I just pick out the bits that inspire me and keep in mind that the pretty photo probably doesn't last that long once the kids get home. :) (also? I love a pretty box! Opening up a drawer and cupboard with a pretty storage solution just makes me smile and sometimes I need that too).

    ReplyDelete
  54. Jen I follow and love your blog posts and I totally get where you are coming from in this post BUT, I also completely understand the comment you got and often feel the same way when I visit your blog.

    I love seeing your beautiful home and ideas, and I have no problem what so ever that is what makes you happy (I am also someone who feels great joy when my home is clean and organized), but I think you are missing the point a little. It's the perfectly, magazine styled shots all the time that can become depressing. Have you ever thought about showing a room/project just "as is" , not messy and used, but not styled, and then having one or two beauty shots that are styled? That would seem SO much more obtainable. I think we all know what we see on blogs, is just the pretty side, but oh how we all long to see the REAL side, isn't that why we connect with bloggers? because they feel like they could be our neighbor? Not that you have to show the messes, just not so magazine styled all the time.

    I see the same thing with food bloggers, the over-stylized food shots. No matter how simple the recipe, it makes me think right away "mine wont look like that", so I just pass it by. Or all the over the top concocted, this stuffed in that drooling in this. It's all for show, I mean, do people REALLY eat that way? a lot of it is all done for "show" aka Pinterest. I want to see REAL recipes and photos of food I will actually make AND eat.

    excuse me while I step off my soap box.

    keep up the good work and being such a great source of inspiration, I'd just like to still feel like you could be my next-door neighbor, not the BHG mag laying on my coffee table ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback Heather. I definitely go the extra mile when finishing a project and sharing the photos, but I also walk away from the camera and the items typically stay put {I don't purchase items just to stage or style them for blog photos}. I don't intend to over style or stage, I just share how I style my home and how things appear when our home is picked up and put together. I appreciate knowing how this comes across to those checking in, and will continue to share the entire story of our projects from beginning to finish, real life messes and all. :)

      Delete
    2. No, please don't change a thing! I love stylized shots! And your real commentary about how to make a certain organization system work, step by step. I'm a visual person and love your photography.

      Delete
  55. Such a great post! I wonder sometimes why people have a hard time understanding that a lot of time blogging is like being on a first date - you put your best foot forward - that doesn't mean you're not a real person with imperfections. And it's fairly easy to keep one space clean while the rest of them are turned upside down so if I'm shooting my family room there's a good chance my kitchen is a hot mess - ha! My momma always told me "no one can make you feel inferior unless you allow them to" and she was right!

    ReplyDelete
  56. I've been thinking about this a lot, as I am not the best photographer or cleaner. This morning I took an Instagram of my cats playing in a box...and the swim bag was in it, and some shoes, and... Well, c'mon, me, it's NOT that hard to put away the swim bag and toss the toys into their bin. Of course, if I cleaned well enough, the box would be in the recycling already and the kitties wouldn't have had their fort. "Cat"ch 22. ;) But posts like these do make me think...and clean. Because I'd rather be inspired by you to have a cleaner house for better pictures than be jealous that someone else has a cleaner house for better pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  57. When my 3 boys were young I hoped for...happy children...a clean house...dinner on the table. I think all were accomplished once on the same day!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Such a good reminder!! It's so easy to read blogs & follow people's pictures & think "WOW! They've got it all!" Well, what really is "having it all" or the "perfection". Plus, like you said... our blog post & pictures we share are only tiny bits of each of our lives.

    I actually had a similar situation happen to me the day after my wedding last year. My husband & I didn't take a honeymoon right away so, after taking care of a few things that day we laid around the house & were lazy bums - we were exhausted. I received a message on FB later that afternoon saying that "it was a shame that I had just gotten married & I was spending so much time on FB instead of soaking up this time with my new husband" since He could see I was commenting & so forth back to people. Well, little did he know that new husband of mine was laying on the other end of the couch SNORING away!! LOL! I was bored, exhausted & couldn't sleep so, I FB. HA! I had to laugh at it after but, was such a good lesson & reminder that we don't always know the full story just by what people choose to share.

    ReplyDelete
  59. There are true perfectionists, only wanna-be perfectionists. Some if us just try harder than others for our own reasons. I want to be perfectly organized, because it makes life easier. Like you, I spend extra time organizing my home. When my home is organized, my mind is less cluttered. If I let things go at home, I tend to forget things (like personal appointments, or to do certain tasks I was supposed to perform at work, or little things like milk at the market). Knowing this, I put a extra effort into organizing and cleaning at home. To others, maybe I look like a perfectionist, but I know I'm not. Anyone who's seen inside my messy car knows it too, lol. With a part time job, and as a full time wife and mom to two kids (and another on the way), I'm simply trying to keep my sanity. That is why my pantry contains labeled bins!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thanks for this post. I appreciate your honesty and the additional glimpse behind the "curtain." Sometimes I do wonder how you get it all done but then I remember when it's your hobby and something you love, you don't mind fitting it in during little bits of time or staying up late because it makes you happy! Keep on keepin' on, Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  61. When I first read that comment, I completely could see and understand where they were coming from. But your post was beautifully written and THIS is the reason I continue to visit your blog! =)

    ReplyDelete
  62. I totally understand what that person meant! Magazines in the checkout always feature these gorgeous models and I think "I find their clothing so offensive because I chose to wear yoga pants to Target today. They're really hurting my feelings." And the trip to NYC was awful the museums were full of beautiful art, just hanging there, mocking me. Every set of chiseled arms I see on the street is a slap in the face to my aversion to sweat and hard work. I really hope you stop posting such lovely pictures soon. *** I swear, people are ridiculous. Comparison is internal, not something you see. People going about sharing their beauty does not diminish our own. It's our own feelings of inadequacy and jealousy that historically tear apart beauty time and again. And the hypocrisy of demanding bloggers portray every negative aspect of their life is like saying we should tell all of our neighbors the details of last nights spat with the spouse, that we shouldn't clean our house before guests or hide anything-at-all. That we shouldn't wear makeup or color our hair because it's not authentic. Where does it end?

    ReplyDelete
  63. I don't comment to often but I have been following your blog for at least a year now. Your blog has helped me to get my home more organized. Having an organized home makes me happy. I feel like it also makes it easier to maintain and keep clean when everything has a spot. So thank you very much for that.

    It doesn't seem like the commenter reads your blog because you have had many posts where you have shown the mess going on that kick start a project or that occur while doing a project.

    I think it's great that you were able to tackle this comment in such a positive way in this post.

    ReplyDelete
  64. :0( I'd be sad too! But turn the frown on its a smile and that's what your blog makes me do! If we did t have you showing us great things on here we would all be living in a much greater mess... Your blog post doesn't make me green it make me think how can I make mine better like Jen! I opted a post the other day which get send silly me forgot to put anonymous as haven't got google acc. Anyway do t be down you are fab and I so love all your posts love Katie xo ps hope your ribs etc are feeling better .... And keep up your awesome work I love you! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  65. As a naturally messy person, I sort of understand that person's comment and sometimes (rarely) feel that way myself. My husband and I both came from incredibly messy pack rat families. I had always heard the "everything in its place" mentality but I have never seen anyone live up to its ideal quite like you. I made an electronics organization bin after being inspired by your blog and suddenly it all clicked. Do I now live in a perfect paradise of organization? No, but your blog has helped me to start tackling the baggage and living the way I always wanted but didn't believe was possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can relate as well, and that is one of the reasons I have been wanting to address those feelings. My family has also been known for their pack rat tendencies, but my grandmother has explained that coming from the depression era, she has always struggled with letting things go which makes complete sense. Growing up my parents taught me to purge my bedroom at an early age, and it must have just stuck. But I am sensitive to that and I never want anyone to feel bad reading my blog.

      Delete
  66. Sending hugs, I heart your blog!

    I always figured your pictures were "before the party" and am inspired! And a little jealous but more inspired to keep my home more "before the party" rather than the "I hope no one wants to come over" that it usually is.

    ReplyDelete
  67. now THIS really inspired me :) i truly understood that a house can never be perfect all day long even without kids around. like you said is so true. because i so like the cleaning and organizing and clean space -- so i do it , all the times. and points noted -- perfect is how you define it yourself :) keep it up. or maybe once a while you should posted up the mess-photo --- just for us to feel better LOL kidding!

    ReplyDelete
  68. I for one am SUPER glad you continue to BLOG. You give me inspiration to get more organized and give me ideas on how to accomplish that. Yes your home "looks" perfect, but anyone with children knows it will not stay that way for long!!!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Please keep on Blogging Jen! I put into practice lots of your fabolous ideas!!
    Silvina from Argentina

    ReplyDelete
  70. I am SUPER glad you continue to Blog. I have been inspired to do better at organizing and you have given me GREAT ideas to make this happen. I know that with kids in the house, your home will not EVER be perfect. Keep on Bloggin' on!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  71. I have read your blog for years. I love it. I do see some overly styled shots, but realize that a stack of books with a perfectly arranged vase of flowers on top every day of the week may not be the norm. Is that something I try to do when I have guests over to my house? Yes. By you sharing on the internet, you are inviting guests to your home, and that's just what you are doing... cleaning up for the guests. :)

    As far as comparing, I see myself doing this from time to time. I think it's hard not to. I recently had a lesson in that, however. I work full time out of the home 9 hrs/day. A neighbor friend seemingly had it all - her house was immaculate, she volunteered for every school function (even ran the carnival committee), she was at all the kids' sporting events, she worked outside the home as a VP, and still finds times to work out and have date night... How does she do it? I should be able to, too! Then I learned her secrets. She works part-time, has a nanny for mornings while she works out, has her in-laws and parents closeby to help with driving to sports events (and a bunch of other things), has a housekeeper and a lawn service, orders her groceries online, etc. I don't have all of those things at my disposal financially or otherwise, so there is no way possible for me to do things on her scale. And I don't need to. My kids are happy, well-fed, I attend as many school events as I can (and I still know the kids' friends, teachers and coaches very well). I do enough, and that's all I can do. So long as it's good enough for me and my family, it's definitely enough.

    Keep up the inspiration! (Sorry that got long!)

    ReplyDelete
  72. Really loved this post--I think you responded perfectly. And I can speak from experience that loving organizing has nothing to do with a feeling of "look at me I am perfect" and everything to do with creating less chaos and less bickering between kids, husbands--you name it! oh..and I am with you--if I am going to go through the work of organizing and such I might as well make it cute! I only found your blog two weeks ago and have spent HOURS reading through old posts finding ideas and inspiration. LOVE your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  73. LOVE that you said this- "I do it because I enjoy it and it makes me happy and is one of the pieces of my life I am personally passionate about. I do it because I know that life can get messy and I like having systems that allow us to pick up quickly and ease our daily home maintenance process. I do it so we can have a fun and busy weekend and when it is time to deal with the messes, things have a place to go. And I share it all in hopes that the projects that make us happy, may bring some smiles to others as well."

    What a gracious response. Thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I appreciate the honesty in this post and it is so important to catch ourselves comparing our lives to the lives of bloggers. But ultimately we have to be responsible for our own behavior. To blame someone else because their blog made us feel inadequate is unfair to the blogger. In this case, it would have been our choice to compare and see only how we are inferior instead of aspiring for what we thought was amazing with the blogger.

    And there is nothing wrong with taking a pretty picture or something we meticulously prepared whether it's a room or a recipe. No one is obligated to air their dirty laundry just to be relateable. Blogs are more than just pictures - bloggers write and that is also a great way for readers to relate, pretty picture or not.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I absolutely love this! I agree with the people who have commented before me....a very gracious response to a tough situation. Like you mentioned above, I organize sometimes because I feel it's the only thing I can control in life. Sometimes, it's my happy place when life itself isn't as happy. I've always loved coming to your blog and have never seen it as 'unrealistic'. I view it as a space where you are able to contribute things you've worked hard on and want to display those things! Some of your things have been my greatest source of inspiration...but I also know that not everything will come out perfect. Life itself itsn't perfect, and neither are the bloggers lives that I follow. People show the good parts of life...and that's understandable! The things I follow on blogs are happy and uplifting, and encourage me in my life. I don't get discouraged, because I recognize that what we see on blogs isn't always the full picture, and that's ok. There are some parts of life that don't always need to be shared with the whole world. What a great response. You very clearly showed grace and your passion for what you do is clearly evident. Keep up the great work...you are one of my favorite bloggers! Have a wonderful rest of your day!

    ReplyDelete
  76. I've never commented before, but I've always enjoyed your blog because you are talented, have great ideas, clearly love what you do, and seem like a genuinely nice person. :-) For me, blogs are aspirational -- I use them as a source of inspiration to get ideas for my own house. I assume that the photos I see on blogs are staged to some degree and that I'm not seeing the complete picture of what things look like all the time. And that's okay, because if I want to see a mess, there are plenty I can wander past in my own house! I love and appreciate what you do. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  77. I love reading your blog and I really don't think that you come across as too perfect. I always thought that you made clear that you were only showing one aspect of your life and don't expect others to be as organized as yourself. I like that you keep things real. You show messes, talk about projects that take forever and I love that you are savy and wait until you can finance big stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Thank you so much for sharing this! As a blogger I really try to share both the "perfectly styled" and real life photos of my life. I want to show off pretty pictures, but, like you, I don't want people to think everyday is sunshine and rainbows around here. As a blog reader though, I want to see the pretty and "perfect" pictures, they are an escape and inspiration. It's always fun to see what other bloggers' homes look like in real life, it's nice to see they are real people too. But, as a reader you have to understand too, that there is no way someone's home can look like that all the time, more often than not, there is a giant pile of clothes/toys/snacks/art projects and tools lying right behind the camera.
    Thanks again for sharing Jen and keep the inspiration coming!

    ReplyDelete
  79. Thank you for your inspiring and beautiful blog! Your blog is one of the first blogs I ever started to follow. I was so happy to realize there is other organizing "freaks" out there. All the best! - Mirva from Finland

    ReplyDelete
  80. I understand you take pictures when the house is clean. We all do. I find you inspirind and dont change or explain yourself. Look at all of us that follow you. That should tell you how inspiring and talented. Now go live in that house, mess it up and smile about it. Teri

    ReplyDelete
  81. What a great post! I don't for a second think your house looks "perfect" all the time - you do regularly post the "before" photos, or times when things don't look perfect. We all know you have three boys too!

    I don't know why people get down on themselves with comparisons. If they cleaned their house up and make it look nice and pretty and took a picture before their children destroyed it, it'd look similar to yours!

    This is your "happy place" but people out there are unhappy with their lives and take it out on you. I hope you don't let it get you down because there are so many of us who enjoy your projects and postings and don't think the way this particular commenter does. Keep on keepin' on! We love you, Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  82. Love your blog. I've been reading for a few years now. I always feel inspired. I also feel this blog is your job, so of course, you choose your best photos. I also like the quote, "Comparison is the thief of joy". Keep up the good work! :)

    ReplyDelete
  83. Jen, I love your blog, am a daily reader, and will certainly continue to be so. I've gotten plenty of inspiration and smiles from your projects! You've shared your soul with us so honestly (and not just this time, but plenty of other times!) so please don't change a thing. Thank you so much for all of your hard work!

    ReplyDelete
  84. Jen,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this. I've been in a similar place as I try to blog to inspire and not make people feel more overwhelmed with their home by seeing pictures of mine. I think that when we authentically share people begin to understand that there is so much more going on under the surface. This past week I attempted to share my thoughts on this same thing... http://www.aninvitinghome.com/2014/06/learning-art-of-homemaking.html?m=1

    ~Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  85. So, the author of the comment is no longer getting what she needs from your blog and asks that you change to meet her needs, or else she will leave for good. Hrm. I have a lot of funny (to me, and possibly other Gen X-ers) and snarky comments going through my head. Instead, I will thank you for being a much nicer person than I am.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think she was asking me to change, I think she was stating something many of us have felt at one time or another reading blogs, which is why I wanted to address it openly. :)

      Delete
  86. Your post had me almost in tears! You put into words how I try to live my life but can never express to people. Yes my life is different than the wway I imagined it, but I am happy. It's unfortunate that so many people judge and that so many feel the need to fedend thier choices - so what if you stayed up late to cover a box with paper - I stay up late to take pictures of my Birchbox :)

    You have inspired me with your clean home challenge and so many other posts.

    ReplyDelete
  87. I wanted to add to all the great comments above - I've read your blog for over a year now, and love it! Do I think it's a complete representation of your life? Good Lord, no! I know that there is a lot more going on in your life than the snapshots we see on your blog. If I want to see how much mess 3 small boys can make, I can look at my own home, thank you very much! But I go to your blog for organization and pretty home ideas, and it's a very happy place for me.

    The things I most appreciate in your blog are the small, easy ideas - homemade cleaners, anyone? - and the affordable ideas. I find that most, if not all, your ideas are attainable for me, and I really appreciate that. I can't wait to see the garage reveal in all its glory.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Jen, I have never commented on your blog but have followed if for a few years. I really love your posts because while they are quite styled and pretty, I like the fact that they are totally do-able. I don't feel like anything you do is inaccessible!! I have three boys too, so it never crossed my mind that your house would look like that for long! Hah! NO-possible-way. =) Some people are a bit unbalanced and I have found that once I identify that, it is easier to let their comments go. Happiness is a choice!!! You are not responsible for other people's choices. Keep your styled, fun, happy blog posts coming!
    I pinned one of your photos of a backyard makeover and it gets repinned nearly every day! You must be doing something right....

    ReplyDelete
  89. Very well written post!

    However, I feel opposite from the reader that inspired this post -- I don't like when bloggers intentionally post messy pictures of their homes just to prove to a minority of readers that their lives aren't perfect. Blog readers and people in general, should know that nobody is perfect and no home is perfect either. They need to take their insecurities elsewhere.

    And it's also sad when negative comments like that one receive the most attention from bloggers when the nice ones barely receive any just because it's more "normal."

    ReplyDelete
  90. I really enjoy reading your blog, and I am so inspired by all that you do. I love organizing too, and I agree that there is so much joy to be derived from an organized, clean space...although sometimes it's fun to embrace the choas too. :) This post just demonstrates what a lovely person you are.

    ReplyDelete
  91. This post really resonated with me because your blog does for me what it does for you. As a person who also finds a tremendous amount of comfort in organization and cleaning (even though my home and life do not always reflect this!), I love visiting your blog for inspiration, beautiful and bright photos, and the motivation I need to make my bed or paint that wall in the kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  92. This is the "perfect" response. I just started following your blog and I can see how it was easy for the commenter to go down that path. A lot of people get overwhelmed by DIY blogs and Pinterest. But as you said, it's about what you want to get out of it. It's about maintaing perspective. And you are making a living off of your blog, which is why you do as many projects as you do in a seemingly short amount of time. Thanks for addressing and being so honest.

    ReplyDelete
  93. What a gracious response to a difficult comment. I really admire that you chose to respond to it at all and that you did so in such a positive way. You don't owe anyone an explanation for anything you do on your blog and you certainly aren't responsible for anyone's feelings of inadequacy. Attitude is a choice ... someone can choose to feel inferior or they can choose to feel inspired, but the choice is in their hands, not yours. The thing I love the most about your blog is that the things you do are beautiful AND attainable. And I LOVE all of your pretty pictures -- sometimes I visit your blog just because I want to see a pretty space. And even then, I NEVER see inferiority-inducing 'perfect' spaces or projects -- I see beautiful, organized ones. Thanks for all the inspiration and positivity -- your blog really is a bright spot in my day.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Do people really think that the photos a blogger posts of finished rooms and projects are a representation of how that space is 100% of the time?? Really?? Come on, people! Who wants to see pics of other people's messes!? If you can't separate a styled image used to showcase a project/idea from someone's real life, and allow it to make you feel bad about yourself/ your situation, then you probably shouldn't be on the internet. Especially in your case Jen, you never mis-represent yourself or claim to be perfect. I think that person who left the comment doesn't actually READ your content as you are very clear about that. Your blog is my FAVORITE and I love your attitude about your home and I love that you take pride in your home. I think people would be lot happier if they did more of that: take pride in things. We don't have to do everything you do but we use it to inspire us and take from it what works for us and our family/lifestyle. Please keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! Some of us are happy seeing other people's messes. It keeps that person real.

      Delete
    2. I have always felt like it is a fine line because while I agree that I wouldn't leave my messy dishes on a counter for a blog photo {just as I would try and pick up for company} because it is not visually enjoyable and not something I want forever plastered on the internet, that it is the messes that help us relate to one another. I get that completely, and have always appreciated that in blogs that I read as well. But I also love to clean and can see how that can come across as too perfect from time to time. It definitely is a balancing act.

      Delete
  95. I just recently started following your blog, I love it! You offer me great inspiration :). Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed this post so much. This explains so well why so many of us do what we do! Sharing with my Twitter followers :)

    ReplyDelete
  96. Jen, this is so well said. What a great read. One of my favorite quotes is "Comparison is the thief of joy". Blog land can be a place of inspiration if that is how we choose to see it. The internet rather blogs or SM are all just pieces of our lives, as you mentioned. The pieces we all choose to share. Our friends and family see more of the pieces, which is the way it should be. YOU are such an inspiration and I so appreciate how you addressed this feedback and I hope others are challenged to compare less.

    ReplyDelete
  97. You're fantastic. Love this summary of what you do & why you do it... I love your cheerfulness and the crazy excitement you get from covering boxes with pretty paper- it's happy and fun. It matches my excitement for subbing out white sugar for agave nectar while baking, and getting my kids to drink green juices (lol). We all have our own happy places!! Keep up your hard work, you are great at it!!

    ReplyDelete
  98. #1: How you choose to spend your time is your own business
    BUT
    #2: Minutes spent organizing significantly decrease how many minutes you spend looking for something that is not in the right place

    ReplyDelete
  99. The comment was clearly just an expression of her frustrations in her own life. She was not in anyway saying that she thinks you should drop everything and cater to her and what she wants. While you were polite in your response, you also called this woman out on a public forum and now have your posse making ignorant comments because they "just can't understand" where she's coming from.

    She is absolutely right. Yeah, you occasionally show pictures here and there of your home when it's got a mess, but it goes deeper than that. When you wright, you never make jokes about your family or anything -it's always PERFECT with rainbow unicorn poop on the side. I can ignore it long enough to get what I want from your site, but I can absolutely see from her point of view as well.

    I just have such an awful taste in my mouth after all this. Such a childish way to handle things and even more childish to let people be so ugly to her. Was it really SO hard to just ignore the comment and get on with your life? Congratulations, you've lost another reader. Let the attacking begin!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry that is the way you read this post. I agree that I don't think she was asking me to change how I blog. I took her comment as a feeling that many of have felt by reading blogs and following on instagram, which is why I wanted to address it. I wasn't trying to "call her out", I shared because I know others have felt the same way. My intention was just to remind all of us {myself included}, to read blogs with an open mind. I couldn't let the comment go because every comment I receive, good and bad, stick with me and impact how I continue to blog. They all mean something to me, because as much as I blog because I love it, I also try to remain sensitive to my readers and am always grateful for them and their opinions. Again, I apologize that you took this to be an attack on the commenter, when that was never my intention. That has never been how I run this blog.

      Delete
  100. I read blogs to get inspired and see and hear about the good things in other's lives. I can understand how some may feel that some bloggers have a 'perfect' life but I know that is not true. I read blogs because I am nosy; I like to see people's homes and their projects and their kids, animals, loved ones and just read about how they live and maybe get some different ideas to incorporate into my own life. I too LOVE a clean home with rows of organized things whether they be shoes in a closet or canned goods in a pantry. I love to see rows of neatly organized boxes and I love how you pretty yours up with wrapping paper and decorative tape and even paint - I never thought of that and I have wrapped one box so far and plan to do more. I am also addicted to planners and office supplies and I love to see photos of your light-turquoise planner and your organized office spaces. {Love, like really love.} Your blog has inspired me to try many new things and I thank you for that. Your blog has also made me want to change all the paint colors in my house and lighten things up {we haven't painted in 10 years...it's time for a change}. So I just want to say thank you and ask you to keep doing what you're doing - I enjoy every blog post and photo.
    xoxo
    Rachel

    ReplyDelete
  101. As everyone has already said, you were so gracious in this response, Jen! I've always found you to be down to earth and so inspirational. Your projects always seem doable....but they also didn't just poof into existence. You put in a lot of work into your home and it shows! You're also crazy talented at what you do and I don't think you ever have to apologize for that. All that creativity just gives us more ideas to incorporate into our own homes...and I love that you share that with us!

    ReplyDelete
  102. Great perspective. I have never presumed that your life with perfect and I've been reading your blog for a few years. But I have admired your creativity and ingenuity.

    ReplyDelete
  103. While it's nice to see sometimes that your house gets messy and isn't perfect, I am inspired every time I come to this blog with how beautiful your creations are! Whether is a new coat of paint for a wall or piece of furniture, an entire room makeover, or whatever, I am always inspired and am so glad that you put it all out there for us to see!

    ReplyDelete
  104. I have a love/hate relationship with clutter. I hate it/it loves me. So I am always open to organizing tips that I can actually implement in my own home. I am very passionate about homes and read many blogs. I am pretty much never discouraged or jealous by what I see. If what I'm looking at is beyond my skill level (which I admit, is vast) or beyond my budget (which is tiny), then I just find pleasure in looking at beautiful spaces or things. I don't feel the need to possess said space, or item, I can enjoy the beauty of it just by looking at it for several long seconds. So, my point is that the problem is that reader's, not yours. I love the quote you included about comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Jen, you've generated quite the response with this post. I signed onto my computer just to take the time to comment, as well. I have been reading for about a year and a half now and at first I was suuuper inspired but over time I got busy and couldn't read as often. Please do not take this offensively, While I think you did a really great job on this blog post, I do not think it was necessary to have to justify your blog. Your readers love you and your work and we all come here for inspiration :) but I also wanted to take the time to say that I think you took "the commenter's" comment too harshly and I wanted to explain why. I think they were just saying that they decided not to read as often because your photos/house look so put together it can sometimes feel less "relatable" to the average person who isn't as passionate about cleaning and organizing. I do not think they meant it in the overly offensive manner you may have taken it. I am a huge fan of your pretty pictures and get oodles of good ideas from you, but sometimes I feel discouraged because things do not look as clean or "put together" as yours and others bloggers, which can be hard because as a reader these are places we draw inspiration from and it can be a frustrating thing. Do I think that is your fault? No, not at all. But, I have been loving when you post the mess before and the clean after because it's more "relatable" to readers. It makes us feel like yes, there's a family out there who makes a mess like mine but also appreciates a clean space. It makes us feel like okay, she doesn't spend every waking minute cleaning so things can be so "perfect" she has messes too. Maybe, this is an opportunity in disguise to create a blog post about how you go about taking pictures of your home at get the magazine-esque look. Please do not take my comment in a negative way..I was trying to ease the pain of the comment, not add to it. But as a reader, I also wanted to explain my insight in what I hope was a more appreciative and polite manner. Continue to inspire and smile!

    ReplyDelete
  106. You are always so inspiring Jen. File that comment away under "you can't please everyone" and keep on truckin'
    You are so inspiring, creative, sensible and "real" - I love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Darn those messes shattered my illusions Jen!!! This is a happy blog - and so inspiring - it has helped me so much get some control in my life when things were spinning out of control. Great response and keep doing what you're doing xx

    ReplyDelete
  108. Love this Jen! I always try to look at blogs with a realization that it is a photoshoot and a finished product. I too get bummed out when I see people commenting about blogs or Pinterest and how it makes them feel terrible about life. With that bad attitude they are really missing out! Keep doing what you're doing and as long as it makes you happy that is all that matters.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Since we met, my home has never looked better!

    ReplyDelete
  110. hi Jen, just chiming in saying I truly admire your blog. you're one of my favorite bloggers. you have such a calm blog layout & a nice way to share your projects. it always makes me happy to see all your great (and often inexpensive ideas). I also like posts where you re-do places / solutions that you and your family have outgrown and that need to be improved (like the pantry, the garage....) To me you never come off as braggy but as very genuine.... and of course i had always assumed that your kids sometimes drag in dirt and leave their school work around... and that sometimes you and your husband don't get to unpack the groceries right away... Sending positive vibes from Germany, Kili

    ReplyDelete
  111. Oh Jen, thanks for taking the time to share some of the "downsides" to blogging and your beautiful projects - that people say negative things when all you are trying to do is make your home and the world around you a better place! I love what you do and always keep coming back for more. :)

    ReplyDelete
  112. Actually your blog is my happy space, too. I don't mean this to sound offensive (on the flip side), but I actually like that you keep the drama/super personal stuff out. EVERYONE has troubles and trials; some blogs that focus on the introspective are good for that purpose. But sometimes I have enough of my own problems that I want a "place" to go to think about something fun. There have been other blogs that I've had to "leave" because even though they were supposed to be photography/decorating/crafting blogs, they often brought in "real world problems" that I didn't want to add to my mind. And for what it's worth, your blog has helped me in real life. Seeing pretty pictures in magazines doesn't translate into "how to" in my mind. Having someone spell out how to keep the kids from bothering about snacks from sun up to sun down is extremely helpful....pretty containers and all! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  113. It was kind for you to respond to this certain email. I enjoy the messy AND the pretty pictures. Messes are the fun! It means life is happening and you're living it. I enjoy everything about your blog. I'm always giving my husband a project and saying, look what Jenn did. Let's do it together!! When my house is clean, dishes done, pantry organized, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I light a smelly candle and turn up the music. Keep on doing what you're doing, iheartjenniferjones!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  114. Ah Jen, I'll bet it was just "one of THOSE days" for your comment poster, and I think you handled it gracefully. As I look around at my nuked, dirty house with a huge case of the "I wants" it's so easy to be discouraged. That is why I quit looking at my Facebook and limited my Pintrest to once every couple of weeks -- I was getting bummed but didn't realize why. Happier now! So here's my advice to the gals who are in a funk (and we all have been there, right?):

    1) Step away from Facebook et.al for a while - it'll be there later and you need a break from all that blasted "perfection." Really. Do it for a week and see if you don't feel better.

    2) Look around your house and "bless the mess" -- Don't say "I hate that &%$# gross, dirty orange shag rug and it STINKS that I can't replace it." Say "My babies learned to crawl and walk on that carpet and now they run on those new shoes I had to buy instead of carpet." It doesn't make the grossness go away, but it does provide some gratitude and perspective about what is REALLY IMPORTANT.

    3) Find something you accomplished, and pat yourself on the back again. Like I said, my house is coming down around me right now, but when I opened the utensil drawer I organized last month (thanks to you!) I had to chuckle. I'm not completely inept.

    4) Gratitude -- Write it Down! Especially when you have a big ole case of the "I wants." Being grateful for what you have lessens the demons yelling in our brains. Writing it down is like wielding a wooden stake at a vampire. Poof! Repeat often.

    Keep up the good work Jen-- yours in the only blog I didn't give up! And sending positive light and love to your original commenter -- hope things are going better. You are not alone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful advice! I especially love number 2! That is exactly what I had to do when I walked upstairs to see the messy table on Monday morning. :) Who I am kidding, I love every one of these points, thank you so much Connie for your wonderful perspective!

      Delete
  115. Just wanted to say this is the best blog post I ever read. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  116. I've been reading your blog for a while, but never commented until now. I know it's so easy to compare when you read beautiful blogs like yours. I've felt that icky feeling of "Oh man, my place and what I got just isn't good enough". But I got over it. I realized that blogs and Instagram and other picture happy places are meant for whatever that person chooses to share. It does inspire me when I visit blogs like yours. I want to be more organized and seeing photos of beautiful spaces helps inspire me. It's easy to get caught up in comparing yourself with others, but I think we need to realize, like you said, that it's all just a small slice. And sometimes on the internet things just don't come across 100% of the time like you hope they do. I hope you continue blogging and that this post -along with the comments- doesn't discourage you from doing what you enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Jennifer - This is why I love your blog: 1) I love your sense of style, color and design, 2) I love that you always try to keep costs down by doing as much as you can yourself, and 3) this is the most important: your kindness, sweetness, friendliness, and encouragement. It is a bright spot in my day to read your blog and be inspired by your ideas. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  118. Jen, the email you received is not about you! It is about the person who wrote it feeling inadequate and you are NOT responsible for that!! Please, please, please do not say that you failed! It really upsets me that just because this person feels inadequate in her life, she thinks it's ok to criticize you. I come to your blog because I WANT to see ÿour perfectly organized house! I think you do show your fair share of "messes", but even if you didn't, that's ok! Please do not feel you owe us any explanation. You do not need to apologize for the way you live your life. You have an incredible gift and we are fortunate that you share it with us all!!

    ReplyDelete
  119. Absolutely love your blog, I find it so inspiring and far more achievable and realistic than home magazines love from the UK

    ReplyDelete
  120. Lovely post! As a mom of three boys as well (Peyton, Parker, & Mason ;) I read your blog for the much needed "girl space" and inspiration for my own home. Keep up the work you do; it matters to many!

    ReplyDelete
  121. Hi Jen
    When someone says 'I don't wish to offend' they are talking rubbish - of course they do! I was so hurt for you when I read those comments that I had to stick my six penny worth in (another English expression!)
    I totally love your blog - the first I'd ever read. I have been inspired by you to buy more baskets and drawer dividers that I thought I'd ever need to own and now have the tidiest - junk drawer, medical cupboard etc, etc in the whole of the South of England - I salute you.
    You are a much nicer person than me - as I would have told her/him to poke it! So congrats on being so positive :oD
    Keep it coming and change nothing you are fab! Angie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, Angie. If someone doesn't wish to offend, why send the message in the first place? Why not just unsubscribe from the blog and move on with their lives? And also, totally going to use the expression "stick my six penny worth in," i love it ;)

      Delete
  122. What a great post! Truly, though, I think the joy you get from organizing shines through in every post. You can't control what people bring to it, just keep being yourself. You're blog is one of MY happy places. Thank you for sharing your home and a little bit of your life with us.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Jen, dont let anyone steal a moment of your joy, you owe no defense to your god given talent used to inspire others toward creative and beautiful ways to restore order to their homes, I cant tell you how much I look forward to reading your blog after a long and often stressful work day, I am a socual worker and cant thank you enough for your blog which has provided a great outlet and stress relief . You're amazingly sweet and so skilled. Stay as you are!

    ReplyDelete
  124. Wonderful post and thoughts. Thanks for sharing with us what makes you happy!

    ReplyDelete
  125. I just want to say the opposite of that reader. I find your blog to be intensely inspiring. When I first found your blog I went through a 4 month organizing kick.. My husband was wowed and confused, I am a pack-rat by nature and I was purging.. I'm pretty sure he was wondering who kidnapped his wife and replaced her!
    I go through organizing kicks and sometimes I just open a cabinet and realize that something needs to be done differently but it isn't all the time. My house is no where NEAR perfect, but every time I organize something I take a picture of it, and I usually end up going by it/opening the door/drawer to look at it several times a day for the first couple days. That picture reminds me of how good it feels when I get something right.
    Blogs can only have the power over you that you let them. If they tear you down instead of inspiring you, it is because you let them, you are taking their ideas/victories as a personal attack on your space, which it isn't, I don't know anyone who posts pictures to instagram or facebook or blogs that does it with the intention of "my space is better than yours", so take it as they mean it, just sharing their victory, or their good idea. I've sent pictures to my friend of my organizing accomplishments, it wasn't made to make her feel bad, more of a "look what I did and it worked!" it didn't tear her down, it gave her ideas of what she wanted to do and when she organized something and was super proud, she had the confidence to send it to me without feeling like a dork for being excited over something that some people do every day without thinking about it because it was her victory over that space.
    Your blog has inspired me so many times, I keep coming back for more. I really think that if I didn't, I would probably never give myself the kick in the pants that I need to get off my couch and go organize something (not that I sit on the couch all day, but at the end of the day it is easy to find myself there). I just want to say thank you for the beautiful pictures, they are my inspiration. I can't tell you how many times I've gone home and shared something that I read here with my husband or pulled up the page to show him an idea I wanted to implement in our home. I think your blog is amazing. Keep on doing just what you've been doing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so sweet and amazing to hear! And feel free to include me in on those organizing sharing moments between you and your friend! I would love to celebrate with you! :)

      Delete
    2. I agree 100% with Amanda, "Keep on doing just what you've been doing." Your blog is inspiring. Many areas of my house are more organized because of you!

      Delete
  126. I love this post :) Organizing and cleaning are how I stay sane. I totally get how updating, organizing and tidying can help relieve stress from the personal (and beach towel) messes we all have. Thank you for putting how I feel into beautiful words!

    ReplyDelete
  127. I never comment on blogs, but the reaction of this anonymous person was so off base I had to reply. I read all the comments on this post I don't think anyone was being "ugly" to the original {anonymous} commenter. In fact, the overwhelming response seems to be that people understand where that person was coming from!! I certainly have had the same feeling once or twice myself, and I appreciate Jen posting this response and reminding us readers that we are seeing the best of the best in her photos, and not the way her family lives on a daily basis.

    ReplyDelete
  128. I want you to know, as a 22 year old broke college student living in a condo I am truly excited to read your blog daily. Your blog inspires me to work on my happiness rather than worrying about others. I often get the judged comment when people come over as "how do you afford these decorations" and think I simply live through my parents when truth be told. I work three jobs, go to school full time, and make most of the decorations and organizing bins in my home. This post made me so happy to read. Especially as a beginner blogger. Truly inspiring. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it. I just love reading blogs about organizing and even some minimalist blogs (even though I like my clothes too much to be a minimalist). :) Seeing pictures of organization in action and reading "how to" articles helps with the organizing process, even though I am not perfect (probably far from it). I love reading about solutions I had not even considered before from an organizational perspective and you offer great ideas on your blog. With minimalism blogs that I read, I think I am just more inspired to get rid of unnecessary things and to let the things in my life that matter take up the space. I guess organizing and minimalism go hand in hand in some way. Anyways, I really enjoy your blog. It is a great way to share the successes,happy moments, and images that inspire.

    ReplyDelete
  130. I think you ARE VERY OPEN & HONEST!! Just a few days ago you told us about falling off a ladder & messing up your bathroom paint job TWICE!! Not to mention you hurt yourself on the fall...Sorry about that! So we do know you have setbacks & frustrations just like all of us. I like your blog. ALOT.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Hi Jen I am a long time reader but first time commenter. I really enjoy your blog and always save your posts till the end because I always finish reading them feeling happy and ready to Start my day! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home and happy nature with me each week :-)

    ReplyDelete
  132. I've never commented here before but I've been reading your blog for years, and it's never bummed me out. In fact, watching you bring order and beauty out of chaos always makes me feel a little LESS stressed. Please don't feel guilty about all your hard work or your beautiful photography!

    ReplyDelete
  133. Your blog has inspired me in a practical way more than any other blog I read. I have spray painted picture frames, outdoor light fixtures, and chair legs. I have organized drawers, closets and my pantry. I have covered boxes with wrapping paper. I am working on organizing forty years worth of photos. All of these projects have put a smile on my face and your blog gave me the inspiration to get them done. No, none of these things are earth shattering, but have made for a happier, organized home. You have such a wonderful gift and you display that gift in such a genuine, friendly way. Thank you so much for the time you put in everyday to encourage and enlighten all who read your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Thank you for sharing such a beautifully thought up post. I have to say, I am the first one to admit I have a major issue with pursuit of curated perfection rather than my own version of success. This is a terrific example that what we see through the internet or even in real-life interactions, isn't the whole story. Our lives all look so different, but that's what makes them beautiful. The world would be an ugly place if we were all carbon copies of one another. I love your home and ideas so much, but I know that because I shy away from bold colors and gravitate toward neutrals, my someday home doesn't have to look just like yours, and THAT'S OKAY! Thank you for always being so inspirational, sweet, and thoughtful in your posts. Keep on keepin' on! :)

    ReplyDelete
  135. I love this post! And you and your blog! :)

    ReplyDelete
  136. Here's my two cents....I personally am inspired when I read your blog...makes me want to start a project or finish a project...or paint sonething aqua .....or run out and buy numbers to paint and hang towels on....seeing a messy room...I can look at that anytime....your blog inspires...ty

    ReplyDelete
  137. "People will love you. People will hate you. and none of it will have anything to do with you." Keep up your great work! -tiffany

    ReplyDelete
  138. I knew exactly what comment you were talking about before I read it. That person really upset me and I ended up commenting on your Instagram about it, because I wasn't able to comment on here. I can't imagine how difficult it must be as a public figure to deal with this kind of thing. As I said then, that is her thing, she has issues she needs to deal with and it's unfortunate that she was projecting it onto you. You are such a wonderful inspiration to so many people myself included. Keep up the amazing work. I adore your blog. Xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  139. Clearly, you are getting a lot of love here in the comments, but I just couldn't pass up a thank you. I never look at your posts and think "too perfect" but so inspirational! I'm a blogger myself (just crossed my one year anniversary) and I know all too well, that I'm taking a lovely picture and directly to the right and left it's a crazy hot mess. We take these pictures and share these tips to lift people up and lady, you are doing excellent at that! Thank you for your words here.

    ReplyDelete
  140. I hire a cleaning person who also helps keep our house organized, so sometimes I ask myself why on earth I read your blog! But honestly, I realized early on that you LOVE to clean and organize. While a lot of the projects you do aren't things I would do, I don't care. I love to read and if I gain an idea or two, then perfect. If not, it gives me ideas for someday.

    There will always be people who read blogs or pinterest and can't handle the things that look perfect, or don't understand that that is only a slice of things. Hopefully you can see beyond those people and keep on keeping on.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Bravo sister, great post! I love to visit you site, especially all the cleaning tips. Thanks you.

    ReplyDelete
  142. I'll keep it simple. Your blog genuinely helps people to organize their homes and purge their clutter. This improves the quality of readers' lives and makes everything easier. Life is easier when clutter is cleared.
    Your pictures inspire me and many others. thank you

    ReplyDelete
  143. Jen, you and your blog are amazing! I love the way you appreciate the little details. It sounds like this commenter can't separate reality from the "highlight reel" and that's a real shame. I find your blog inspiring and I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  144. I think this post serves as a reminder that we're all different people.

    For me personally, I love to see aspirational content on blogs. A beautiful home, a yummy looking recipe or a fab DIY will give me with inspiration and motivation I need to try something new.

    But for others, they like to read blogs that are more raw and real - that show life warts and all. I get this, but for me, I know we all have messy living rooms and unclean bathrooms from time to time. I don't need to see it on the internet!

    Jen, I think you do a great job balancing the aspirational and the real on here. I don't want to see a photo of your dirty bathroom, but what I DO love is how you'll explain when a project didn't work out first try or when you thought a certain paint colour would be awesome, but it didn't look great and needs to be redone. To me that's real.

    I completely get where the commentator was coming from - in today's Pinterest saturated world you can often feel like you fall short, but I've no doubt she would completely appreciate your honest and heartfelt response.

    ReplyDelete
  145. beautifully written - thank you for your inspiration x

    Hayley Button
    Brisbane, Australia

    ReplyDelete
  146. Meh, ignore that person and keep doing what makes you happy! I like your blog and find it inspiring. (Time to go donate some more clutter to charity...) It's not like it's a deep, dark secret that people tidy up before taking a photo that will live on the Internet forever!

    ReplyDelete
  147. To me, IHeart Organizing is a place where discussions about home life and organizing are welcome and is what drew me to the blog. This post was disappointing because I feel like it sent the message that only positive comments and discussion are welcome. By calling out a commenter in a negative way, it felt like readers are expected to understand the blog isn't perfect, but that readers are suppose to be "perfect" and not provide their own, potentially different opinions and viewpoints.

    I don't believe there was any malice in the comment mentioned in the post. That person was just discussing their life and their circumstances, which differ from yours. But to call that person out in an embarrassing and public way (when the commenter may have been misunderstood or just having a bad day) in which other readers are then able to make mean comments and judge that person is over the top and unprofessional.

    However, that being said, I understand this post might have come from a bad day or a place of misunderstanding. I hope that the blog returns to what it was - providing a safe, non-judgemental place to talk about organizing, home, and life where people don't have to fear being shamed when commenting or talking about things that aren't perfect in their homes or lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not believe the commenter was being cruel or hurtful and I had no intentions of this post being hurtful in return. As I mentioned in the post, I can understand those feelings and have also read blogs and have allowed myself to be discouraged. Maybe that is why i felt it was important to talk about it.

      I always encourage all perspectives and comments as some of the hardest ones to read have been the most enlightening. So I apologize if it came across as though I was frustrated that someone said what was on their mind, when it was the opposite. I don't fault them for their feelings, I felt bad that I may have led anyone to believe that our home is picture perfect 100% of the time.

      Delete
    2. I hope I didn't come across as rude and I apologize. I just know from experience that what's said on the internet can be misunderstood and it really sucks. I still am a big fan of the blog and love what you're doing. :)

      Delete
  148. Hi Jenn,
    First off, I enjoy your blog so much that I read it almost daily. I absolutely LOVE your before/after photos. They inspire me to organize, create, and decorate my home with love and appreciation for how my family will use it once I am finished. Your "before" photos also remind me that it takes hard work and persistence to create and maintain lovely spaces that are enjoyable and comfortable in a home. There will always be someone who is so insecure about themselves that they will take your success as personally offensive. So, keep on being real, being heartfelt, being sincere, and know that you are an inspiration to so many more than the one who isn't inspired. You can't change the person's opinion, but you can choose to understand their insecurities and have compassion for that person who is struggling with them. Hurray for such a wonderful blog post! Thank you for being my inspiration! Sincerely, Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
  149. Beautiful words. You have a beautiful home and share your gift of DIY and decorating with the world. I love that you pointed out that you CHOOSE not to share all the other stuff because this is your happy place. Keep doing what you are doing because this is my happy place too!

    ReplyDelete
  150. I'm personally inspired by your blog. So much so that I actually started reading your blog from your very first post. It was like a book I couldn't put down. I feel you have had a great balance of showing the messy as well as the achievements. That's one reason why I love your blog, because you keep it real. =)

    ReplyDelete
  151. Thank you for this post!! I agree with you that we can choose to ourselves to be inspired or depressed,it's all in our minds... I love your blog very much and hope it only will inspire me and won't bring me down..!:-) lots of love,Goldie from Israel

    ReplyDelete
  152. Jen, I come to your blog a lot and I've definitely felt the way the commenter has felt before. But then, I have a problem with comparing myself to others in general, so that's not something you're responsible for.
    I think it's wonderful what you share and it's creative and don't ever let anyone tell you differently. This is, like you said, your happy place and you get to share your accomplishments. And there's no shame in showing off something you made!
    Since I've followed your blog for quite a while, I also know that the quality of the photos you take has increased tremendously over the years and so I think it's easy for newcomers to feel overwhelmed. Just like we're overwhelmed when we see a beautiful model in a magazine. We know she doesn't really look like that every day, but we feel the pressure to measure up.

    ReplyDelete
  153. I have also felt a little intimidated by your blog but tried and focus on the positive that it is, something to aspire to and be inspired by. In the midst of financial troubles caused by yet another drought on the farm, I heart this blog, it was a place I could get lost in, I absolutely adore before and afters. I am not tidy, my organisational abilities allude me, my cleaning wasn't the best but since reading your blog and others like it - my home has never been cleaner, I am starting to find a form of organisation that works for me and have purged many things I held onto for no reason I could name. Its true that hanging onto clutter creates chaos. I feel lighter when I walk into a room and there isn't 'stuff' on the floor or stacked on top of instead of in a dresser. I appreciate your honesty but above all I am glad you shared your happy place because at times it is mine too!

    ReplyDelete
  154. Thank you for sharing your honesty. I love see other people engaging in and sharing their passion. I have so many clients who haven't found their passion yet or worry they will be judged by other people when they express themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  155. I love that you mentioned how inspired you have been by other bloggers (even though we have to remember to keep everything in perspective.) As long as we have a balanced view of what of put out there, we can use this platform to better ourselves and our lives. Thank you for your wise words here.

    ReplyDelete
  156. You know, I don't personally feel that way, but I can understand where the original commenter is coming from. I've heard a lot recently about people becoming depressed from looking at Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs and feeling that their own lives are inadequate as a result. As you said, when you look at these things on the internet, these are just a snapshot of someone's life and not representative of it as a whole. I have a friend who home cooks all this amazing healthy food for her children and when I see that on Facebook I think, wow, my kids are eating frozen waffles! I see a lot of great homes on blogs and Pinterest and while I'm generally happy with my home, I realize that it will never look that stylized and "finished." I'm probably guilty myself because I love to travel and most of my Facebook posts are pictures of my family on our adventures and I've had people comment that they wish they could travel as much as we do. I've come to realize, as you said, that people not only showcase the best parts of their lives, but also the parts that they're passionate about. You can get inspiration from others who excel in certain areas, but if you're not passionate about it yourself, you will probably never be "perfect" in that area and that's ok! Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses! Also, I think it's a really fine line between showcasing your everyday home and making it stylized. I've seen some bloggers out there show their "real life" and get criticized because it's not perfect and told that they were unprofessional. Sometimes you just can't win!

    ReplyDelete
  157. I haven't read all of the comments above and someone may have said this but just in case...

    I love reading your blog. It has given me lots of ideas and inspiration for my own home. Are your pictures staged? You betcha and guess what...I DO THE SAME THING! Who doesn't???? To think that things look like that 100% of the time in your home is ridiculous and I appreciate your honestly when you post pictures of the before shots, the during shots, and the "We thought this would work but it obviously doesn't" shots. Have I been able to actually do a lot of the things that have inspired me here (or as my husband points out the multitude of pictures I have pinned on Pinterest)? Nope. But I also realize this when I come to your blog. This is your full time job. You are making money off of this (go you, btw). That means that you better have projects going, you better be organizing, you better be making plans for your next posts. Your business depends on it. Just like any of us would be doing in our full times jobs. So I don't bad at that I can't compare and neither should you. I just take the inspiration, tuck it away and do what I can when I can.

    Keep on keepin' on or as a former coworker would always say when I'd leave his office cause some crazy thought just popped into my head... "You do you".

    ReplyDelete
  158. I personally love your blog. I've been inspired by it, entertained by it, and influenced to share my own organizing/renovation projects on my blog. You are impressive, but I have never felt intimidated or inferior because of your blog. You are genuine. Your flooded basement comes to mind- if you were all about writing a feel-good, staged blog, you would have never included anything about the flood and the subsequent renovations that followed. I think you do a great job explaining things and making them look easy. Keep blogging and don't worry about the nay-sayers. I think your blog is fantastic and I've always enjoyed reading.

    Stop by http://www.organizedandsimplified.blogspot.com and http://www.countinmanyblessings.blogspot.com and give me some ideas :)

    ReplyDelete
  159. Jen, this post was PERFECT…hehe. Really, it was. As a blogger and a blog reader, I know that we all feel this way at times. I admire your transparency and your sensitivity towards your readers. Instead of taking this as an attack, you cared enough to see her point. I know that you have probably ignored many negative comments in the past (as all bloggers do) but this one resonated with you, and you thought that we could benefit from you sharing it. I thank you for that. Sometimes, these posts are necessary because the most important thing that we can organize, are our thoughts about ourselves and others. I also blog about organization and I never want people to feel that I seek perfection when I truly seek peace, like everyone else. Peace just looks different to everyone. Peace looks like the ocean to some and a beautiful linen closet to others (I think I would take both and I am sure you would too!) You have inspired me greatly as a blogger and have given me a ton of ideas for my own home.

    ReplyDelete
  160. Nobody's perfect; but I think we look at blogs like yours -- at least I do -- because we want to be inspired! I don't find it discouraging to see beautiful, organized spaces... even if I know I can never live up to a Pinterest-perfect life. Please keep doing what you're doing! xo, Sharon

    ReplyDelete
  161. I love your blog! You are great at inspiring me to do a project. Your ideas are bright and your photography is crisp. If it was cluttered, I wouldn't be able to concentrate. Thank you for how you have been blogging. Don't change. You exude a clear vision, confidence, and professionalism. If people are comparing themselves and feel overwhelmed, they just need to start small. I love your blog! Keep inspiring us :-)

    ReplyDelete
  162. Dear Jen,
    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE LOVE your honesty and candor! Thank you for putting it all out there - your voice and talent are something I look forward to reading! I have adopted so many of your cool ideas, and you have made my life a bit easier! True, I do get a little *house envy* when I see your beauty-filled, neat spaces, but I love the in-progress places as well, and the fact that you can tell us, "Uh-oh, this didn't work out as I planned!" So keep on keeping on! All the best!

    ReplyDelete
  163. This is an incredibly honest and amazing post. I loved reading this! Keep up the amazing work!

    ReplyDelete
  164. First, let me say that I love your blog, your ideas, your writing, and your fabric covered boxes! Your blog has inspired me to add a lot of organization and style to my home. What I dislike about all of the home décor blogs I read (not just yours) are the impractically "perfect" photos. The ones where there are fresh flowers in the laundry room, a cup of striped drinking straws on the front porch, a bowl of fresh strawberries on a table, perfectly placed flip flops by the door mat, a beautiful blanket draped on a chair outside on the deck, etc. These design elements, while beautiful, are not practical items that are always left out for decoration, so they make the photos look staged, impractical, "perfect," and unattainable. Just my two cents. Like I said, I do love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a great point and I completely see that from both perspectives. For example, when I was photographing our front porch, I did in fact make a fresh beverage with my favorite straws for my husband and I to enjoy and it was the icing on the cake after the bit of work I put into the space. And I do purchase fresh flowers for around my home, not for the blog, but for me and to cope with awful long winters and because I love how my rooms feel with fresh blooms. On the other hand, the flowers die, the cups go away after we drink from them, the throw blankets are not always draped perfectly and our life doesn't "always" look like that, so I completely see your point. I think those accessories are a bloggers way of telling the story of the space. Although it might not have those items 100% of the time, it is showing how the space and project are intended to be used.

      Delete
  165. Your blog does nothing by inspire me! My house has never looked better since I came across your blog 2+ years ago. I had always been a messy person and now, since reading your blog, I get so many comments on how organized I am and it is all thanks to you!

    BTW, I'm a fellow WI gal that also hates the cold! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  166. I am an overwhelmed 40 something woman that didn't know where to start with organizing my home....until I came across your blog. I loved your home tour and YES...I left my shoes at the door and made myself at home :) Thank you for sharing your home and your family. (your boys are adorable). You have inspired me so much and I now have a new "spark" about me, to get started. First stop is my home office :) You are a classy lady, Jen and your blog from yesterday proves that. Keep doing what you love and keep inspiring us! Have a Blessed Day!

    ReplyDelete
  167. Jen you are one of the most inspiring people I have ever 'met'. My home looks and feels better because I CHOOSE to take inspiration from all of your blog content - the good, the bad and the ugly (mmmkay probably not ugly but you get what I mean!). I have recreated some of your DIY projects and I constantly look at our spaces and systems and think "can I make that more efficient/prettier/easier to maintain etc." If I'm having a bad day I love looking at your blog and dreaming up some new projects but that's the way I'm wired. I remember reading this comment originally and feeling sad for this person because they weren't getting what I was getting from reading your blog. Then I felt sad for you because I knew you would take it to heart and mull over it (because we're internet besties and I know you so well).

    I believe you did the right thing addressing this comment. There are obviously others out there who share similar feelings or at least understand where this person is coming from so it was an issue well raised. You in no way "called this person out". They did not secretly whisper their opinion to you, they commented publicly on your blog. This is not the secret internet that so many people seem to think they subscribe to. I applaud the way you have handled this and it makes me love you a little bit more if that was possible.

    Lots of love, your Australian best friend ;)

    ReplyDelete
  168. I really love this post Jen! It is so easy in the blog world to get discouraged and compare yourself to others. I do have to admit there have been many times I've read your posts and thought "How does she have it all together ALL the time? Her life just seems perfect" or "She finished painting her kitchen cabinets in a week?! Ive been working on mine for 2 months, they still arent finished, and they dont look near as good as hers!"

    lol. Even though I have those thoughts from time to time I mainly come away inspired by your posts which is what keeps me coming back.

    We all just have to keep in mind that everyone is different. We all have different responsibilites, different houses, different families and obligations and lives and what works for one may not work for all. And that's ok!

    Great post, I really enjoyed it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  169. I think you're fab and I love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  170. I think you hit the nail on the head multiple times in this post. I love that you use your blog as a means to share your successes and the positives in your life. I love the saying, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." It's easier said than done sometimes, but I believe in this so much. Looking at a staged picture might bring frustration that my home isn't that clean or pretty or designed, but if I change the way I look at that picture, it can become inspiring or even a place for humor in my day as I laugh about how "abnormal" a space might appear.

    I love your blog and every single one of your beautiful photos and, if I do get frustrated that you seem more put together than me, I use that frustration as motivation to make myself or my life better. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  171. Thank you so much for your honesty and for the inspiration you bring to iheartorganizing! I love checking in to see what you and guest bloggers have been up to! In fact, I introduced my sister to your blog not too long ago and she now refers to you as her "new bff Jen!" - (you inspired her pantry revamp! - I told her to send you pictures, because it's amazing!!) We know that this is your job and like everybody does - we all clean up and straighten when we invite others into our homes :-) I applaud what you do and please keep doing it!

    ReplyDelete
  172. Well said, all of it. It's one thing to choose not to read your blog anymore if someone is feeling frustrated or unhappy with what they are seeing, but it's an entirely different thing to go out of their way to send you a personal message to tell you that they are unhappy and it's because of the pictures you post - and you have every right to be offended or hurt by that. Your home is amazing, you should be proud of the work you put into it. I can tell you that I, too, am most happy in a clean and organized home and though I don't strive for perfection, I do make a point of doing the best I can to attain that goal. I have been frustrated (and yes, offended) by the blog posts I've seen lately that not only express the author's anxiety over well staged homes on other blogs, but imply that their own dirty homes and chaotic lives make them better parents. I don't even come close to the loveliness that is your home, but I still find it refreshing and encouraging to read your words and see your images. So THANK YOU, for all the work you put into this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  173. I remember that comment. I think you hit the nail on the head!! This is a perfect post. This is why I love you. You are so real...in my opinion. I love that their are people out there like you who thrive on organization and making a house a home. I have similar feelings about it, but don't quite have your energy and dedication....but that's why you are so inspiring to me. Keep on going Jen! You do an amazing job....and of course....keep focusing on the positive....cuz "ain't nobody got time for that" negative stuff! :) I truly love the person you are! xo

    ReplyDelete
  174. You got a LOT of comments on this entry. I suppose so many of us do battle our own minds in being tempted to compare and think that someone else has a more "perfect" life than our own. You are so right that it's never a good idea to start that destructive comparison game. You have given me some great ideas! I LOVED your idea of covering boxes like cereal boxes with contact paper to use for organizing things in drawers. It's really helped organize my bathroom drawers! Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  175. This is absolutely my favorite post you have written, and quite honestly it is just as inspiring as one of your organization projects or room updates. It is always a good reminder that everybody is different. This post reminds me of "The real blogger project" where blogs share the mess behind their beautiful styled photos. It was a great thing to see, as sometimes you forget that nobody really lives with fresh flowers on their footrests or nightstands full of styled books.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Thank you for sharing these really serious and insightful thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  177. "Perfection is only what you want it to be. You define your own perfect." Those are strong and honest words, my friend, and so very true. It's easy for us {as individuals, as well as fellow bloggers} to become the green-eyed monster, but we do need to remember that what we see and read isn't the whole picture. We all have something to offer, and no one is truly perfect. Everyone has a fault somewhere.... it just may not be their home. I, too, look at home decor pictures and think, "How is that possible? They must have a lot of money." Or, "They must not have kids/pets/problems." But, it could just be they had an entire day to clean, really good weather, and a great camera.

    Thanks for the inspiring post!

    ReplyDelete
  178. I wasnt going to comment but as a long time follower of you Jen i thought i should. Do you know what i get when i come to your blog? Inspiration, happiness and lots of good feelings. I dont know you personally and im half way around the world from you but i honestly can feel YOU shining through this blog. I can feel your spirit and joy when i come here. Keep up the awesome work Jen xxx

    ReplyDelete

IHeart you taking a moment to comment! Although I absolutely appreciate, consider and read each and every comment, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like. This blog is my happy place, let's keep the drama at bay!

Don't see your comment? All comments are moderated and may take a moment to appear.

Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...