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barriers. & overcoming.

To say I am a perfectionist is to put it mildly. I am often paralyzed by barriers in my head. Barriers that are actually really easy to overcome, but my brain just takes a little while to process the “how” in overwhelming situations. I take on too much. I sleep too little. I think too much. Sometimes I wish I could let go. & motherhood has been good for helping me do this, but from time to time & still get paralyzed. & that is no good.

I have always said that I am a big fan of therapy. I haven’t been in a few years, but it has provided me with some amazing tools for my “bag of tricks.” I often consult the little nuggets that I tucked from my weekly sessions in the past & I am forever grateful for the two women who helped me to mentally overcome some major barriers to my own success. This week I was reminded of a couple of those tricks.

I have been sitting here completely unable to move forward in my home. I need to make room for another person but I just couldn’t take a step forward. There was too much. It was too expensive. I could hear my husband saying “not all at once” in my head. But baby steps are hard for me. I like it done & I like it done NOW. I just couldn’t put all the pieces together. I have to have a plan before this baby comes and I have to be very well on my way to completion of I might lose it. I was spinning this week. Everything was in disarray.

But I went upstairs and just dug in. Bags & bags to goodwill. Cards from my wedding in the recycle bin. Letting go of things I really just don’t need. It was all a part of the cleansing process. Adele was helping me process my thoughts. Caffeine (only half caf, ok, relax) was helping me keep my energy up. And as soon as I had the TRASH, DONATE, KEEP items sorted, my lightbulb finally went off.

I needed to find an armoire.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but you have no idea the inner harmony that I suddenly felt once I reached this conclusion. It’s as if the clouds broke. I could see everything clearly. I knew where all the pieces were going to go. I just needed to get going. Do it. Even without a plan. I just had to GO.

Karen, a professional organizer, gave some spectacular advice at one of my MOPS meetings last year when she spoke about keeping an organized home. She advised NOT to shop for any organizational tools until we knew exactly what needed to organize. Well, duh. Why didn’t I think of that? Rubbermaid & baskets AFTER, shawna. Not before. That’s hard for me, you know. But as I was cleaning out my guestroom-soon-to-be-be-nursery closet, I realized that some of this stuff DID need to stay. & now I know exactly how much. Why not just find a big armoire, which will house some of this stuff & my computer peripherals, eliminating two pieces of furniture in the office-soon-to-be-office-AND-guestroom. And now I can breathe.

I thought about going antiquing, but I started on craigslist instead. Wastes less gas. I knew I wanted something BIG that I could refinish. I wanted lots of enclosed storage. I was looking for certain lines. & really wanted to spend no more than $100. Fat chance, right? I thought so. But then I found it. My answer.

It was delivered on Saturday (well worth the extra bit of cash he asked for to bring it to my home) and now I just need to refinish it. (white? distressed muted turquoise–like this? still deciding) but I have a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. All for $100. Who knew. & then…I sold the furniture that used to be in the guestroom…and broke even. Score one for shawna. ;)

I share because I am guessing if you read this blog, we might have a few things in common. Perfectionism might be one of them. And it still gets me sometimes. It’s easy to look at everything on this happy little corner of the internet & think that it’s easy for me to come up with, but it sure isn’t always that way. I struggle. I hit ruts. I stop all together. But the difference between failure and success is the ability to press on. & that…well, that is up to us. Time to get movin’.

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  • alison - Shawna, this is wonderful. I think you will be amazed how many will identify with you. I know as I was reading the first couple of paragraphs I was nodding my head in agreement. Been there. Done that. I have many of the same tricks in my bag. My favorite? Take a deep breath and dive in. For me, it works every time.ReplyCancel

  • emily griffith - Great post, Shawna! Just what I needed as I am dragging on this Monday morning!ReplyCancel

  • beth mcd - Good for you! I’ve been OVERwhelmed myself lately. Just barely making the necessary things come together. Sometimes it is nice to hear you’re simply not alone. :) Looks like you have a great start!ReplyCancel

  • ashley - so coincidental! i just had a moment of realization that we move SOON and i haven’t started my normal pre-move routine of throwing things away and getting myself organized! making a list today for each day until we move. can’t wait to see what you come up with for your room remodels (in person)!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - I wish I was there to help you!!! Good work and I can’t wait to see what you do with that SCORE!ReplyCancel

  • Marylin - Four years ago my parents decided to start the retirement travel lifestyle and I took over their house (where I grew up and now my childhood bedroom is my daughter’s). We basically combined two households in a hurry. I had a 1200 sq ft shop built and this was the overflow space. My uncle who was a truck driver died last year & much of his stuff went to the shop. Brand new household goods my mom bought for him for when he bought his house (he died before that happened). Another uncle that lived in our guest house died in Aug of this year & now I’m about to totally remodel that space (paint, sheet rock, flooring, counters, cabinets, french doors, lighting). I have SO MUCH “stuff” to manage right now it’s unreal but I’m also finding it kind of fun in a strange way. I love the satisfaction of a finished product. We’re going to have a HUGE garage sale once it ever cools down. Like you, I need to learn to let go of things I really don’t need (like your example of your wedding cards: Guilty!). I hate to hear that you were feeling so overwhelmed but I’m so glad it’s all coming together for you. I’ve been tackling my own issues of not being very motivated & you’re right, it’s time to dig in! As always, thank you for the post & your honesty. I can’t wait to see what we both come up with!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kendall Stoy - Wow. I think you are my clone….right down to the oak armoire I just purchased to house all the stuff I had to take out of the office to make room for baby #2…..ReplyCancel

  • DIY Pottery Barn Kids Backpack | making it special » styleberry BLOG - […] yes, that is the back of my new armoire, with one coat of paint on it. It is  […]ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Lindner - You are so much like me and this is exactly what I needed to read tonight!! Thank you for helping me know that I am not the only one who acts as a perfectionists, wants things now and overly driven. I hit walls…then find some motivation again to keep me going again.

    Thank you for being so fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Erin W. - Loved reading your comments on this topic…I am having a garage sale this weekend and have been doing this very same thing! I think fall and the change of seasons is just a good time to de-clutter! I agree that it IS overwhelming, but much better than being a contestant on the show “Hoarders” in my opinion! :) If you ever want inspiration to clean out and organize, start by watching that show, I can usually only take a few minutes then I’m off the couch and going! lolReplyCancel

  • Ikea Expedit “built-in” Desk & The Turquoise Workhorse | office + guestroom [in progress] » styleberry BLOG - […] But this is my masterpiece. Why? Because I am now less SEVEN pieces of furniture!! Ummhmm. This big guy houses the edited contents that used to fill a lot more floor space than had to spare. I spent a weekend really paring it down. The printer, my most used bags & all my hubby’s medical equipment are on the bottom. Up top lies our one (ONE!!) little collection of hanging files, printer paper. My business stuff & some random stuff we use often enough to make easily accessible. My wedding album & negs are about to get packed away elsewhere, so that will free up half of the entire top shelf too. Ahhhhhh. I can breathe. This armoire really did bring me all that I thought it would. […]ReplyCancel

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