When Good Ideas Get in Your Way

by Kimba on October 4, 2011

in Organizing,Real Me,Stuff with the Kids

My dear friends. I am about to let you peek inside my messy, messed-up, slightly mis-wired brain.

Please be kind. But on the off chance that one of you has the same issue, I’m going to start by admitting that I have a problem. Wanna hear it? Ready? Deep breath. Here we go…

I have the ability to look at everyday messes, inconveniences and problems at home and come up with solutions that are creative, fun, cute and (usually) cheap. Maybe I should blame blog-reading, Pinterest or maybe it’s just the way I’m wired. What’s the problem, you say? Unless I want my family to never again wear clean britches, eat a home-cooked meal or live in a tidy (ish) house, I can’t possibly do them all.

A more normal person would simply let go of their “good idea”, find a quick solution and move on. But not me. Instead, I obsess and fret and worry about the little problems that I can’t seem to solve. You may say that I’m neurotic, freakish and plain old silly. To you I say…Indeed! I’m all of those things and more.

Let me give you an example. We have a dog. His name is Tank. Tank is a freak.

We can’t leave the house without filling up his Kong dog toy with peanut butter and treats. Unless, of course, we want our house destroyed by a giant, freaked-out, hates-to-be-alone dog. Since leaving the house is a fairly regular occurrence, Tank has his own jar of peanut butter in the pantry. He needs his own jar so that if someone accidentally double-dips the Kong knife, the rest of us don’t have to eat dog-germ peanut butter sandwiches.

For the last 6 months, I’ve wanted to make a pretty paper sleeve that I could slide on the dog’s peanut butter jar so there’s no confusion between dog-germ peanut butter and normal people peanut butter. I figured the sleeve would have Tank’s name on it and maybe a silhouette of a sweet (not crazy) black lab. Sounds cute, right? But I just haven’t had time to do it. So instead, I’ve spent the last 6 months hollering “Did you use the right peanut butter?” every. single. time that someone makes up the Kong.

So I’m turning over a new leaf! When I can’t manage the cute, fun, creative solution, I’ll go with the good-enough solution. In this case? Write the ding-dong dog’s name on the jar with a marker. Seriously? I know. It’s totally absurd that it took me 6 months to figure that out. But sometimes, good ideas get in my way.

Need another example? This dear child gets a small allowance each week.

If he does his chores, he gets some cash that he can use to buy critical things like gum and Pokemon cards. But his dad and I feel strongly that we should be teaching him about 3 specific purposes for money. Giving, saving and spending.

So, I’ve been planning to make him 3 jars labeled with those categories. Then he can sort out his allowance each week and keep track of his moolah. Picture, if you will, 3 glass jars that have been frosted and etched with the words Give, Save and Spend. Try not to wonder why I would consider giving my 8 year-old glass jars.

Again, I haven’t had time to do it. And instead of finding a “good enough” solution, I’ve frittered away valuable time that could have been used to teach my boy about the importance of managing his money properly.

The good enough solution? 3 small coffee cans labeled with plain white paper and a sharpie. Is it the most creative solution? Nope. Will it make the money lessons less effective? Of course not. Feel free to roll your eyes at me and wonder why I didn’t do this sooner. The reason is simple…My good idea got in my way.

There’s nothing wrong with any of my good ideas. They’re fun and creative. But there are only so many hours in the day and sometimes “good enough” has to be good enough. Do you have any good ideas that are keeping you from doing what’s good enough?

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1 Lisa October 4, 2011 at 9:10 am

YES! YES! YES! I have the best solutions – they would change everything in my house – and why do it half way when you can be AMAZING. Only one small problem, I don’t have the time to be AMAZING, just the ideas.

I’m one trip to IKEA, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc. away from AWESOME!

I blame Pinterest.

2 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm

YES! Let’s blame Pinterest!!!!

3 Gail October 4, 2011 at 9:12 am

Are you my long lost sister? I soooooo could have written this post! Thanks for the perspective!
Gail´s last blog post ..Happy Birthday to Nate

4 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Glad to find another sister with big ideas and not enough time. 🙂

5 Chrissy October 4, 2011 at 9:21 am

It’s seriously refreshing to know I”m not the only one out there with big plans and then life happens. And your sharpie on the peanut butter and the coffee can jars are brilliant. The nutso in me would be thinking…wow…think of all the other things I can do by saving time with a sharpie and then I’d be in trouble all over again. That’s why I’ve had painter’s tape on my floor for nearly a year marking out where I’d like our new media center built. A year. Thanks for the good enough. You make me smile and realize my good enough is having a sick kid at home today that I get to spend more time with when he gets up (even though I had to cancel other things).
Chrissy´s last blog post ..IKEA Ektorp Review Continued: 2 Years Later

6 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Painter’s tape on the floor for a year? I adore you.

7 Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D October 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Is there a membership club?
I could be secretary…if you don’t mind waiting a year for the Minutes.
Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D´s last blog post ..31 Days To a More Organized Life: Day 5 – Cleaning and Organizing Your Cell Phone

8 Judy Beeksma October 4, 2011 at 9:28 am

Ok we are blood-related because I feel that most days as well!!! Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to find the most perfect solution to the most simple projects and make our lives so difficult? You have inspired me today to make something simple happen!!! Thanks for your honesty…Very refreshing…

9 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Overly Creative Sisters Unite!!!! Let’s keep it simple today.

10 Judy Beeksma October 4, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Ok That is going to be a blog title sometime…”Creative Sisters Unite”!!!! Love it!

11 Heather Clark October 4, 2011 at 9:38 am

Ha. I know that feeling all to well!!! Glad I’m not the only crazed person in the world!

12 Rachel Ford October 4, 2011 at 9:40 am

Oh my! Now I feel better I am not alone. I think Pinterest has made things a lot harder for folks like us as well!

13 carolyn October 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

You have just summed up exactly why paper scrapbooking caused me so much anxiety. I couldn’t just put the pictures together and be done with it. Oh no, there had to be a perfectly lettered title, the designs had to be just so. etc. etc. So instead of scrapping my family’s memories, I had stacks of IDEAS put together. I finally took those crazy scapbooks apart this past summer, kept the photos and tossed everything else. And it felt goooooood. Way to go with the sharpie – at least it’s done. Bit of advice – buy an inexpensive label maker – just as fast as a sharpie but makes you look oh so impressive.

14 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Oh my word. Trying to scrapbook just about drove me mad. I had the exact same problem and finally gave up. Now I just need to something with all those photos.

15 Judy Beeksma October 4, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Well girls, I am a paper scrapbooker and despite my anal, has to be perfect side; my scrapbooking brings me so much peace. It gives me a 12×12 canvas to make something perfect. Or that 6×6 card is even smaller…It is such a small area that I can transform very quickly into something beautiful…

16 Loribeth October 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

Our dog has her own peanut butter also! Trust me, the name on the top of the lid will work just fine! Gotta say, I wondered about the glass jar idea for such a wee one, but the cans seem like a perfect solution…and maybe as he gets older, he could help with a creative solution that you’ll both like that will help him feel ownership for the whole process!

17 Clydia Kay October 4, 2011 at 10:23 am

I feel your pain! I know exactly how you feel!

18 Gina October 4, 2011 at 10:41 am

I know exactly what you mean – I tend to overthink the thing. My mother has such a wonderful economy with objects. She is a child of the Great Depression. She finds uses for things I would just throw away or buy new or make out of something frou-frou. But that doesn’t mean that my version gets more done or is more useful, you know? It’s nice to have pretties and make your world more colorful and creative – but all of that has to come after the main job you have – caring for your family – and it seems to me you are on the right track!

19 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm

You’re exactly right. There’s nothing wrong with having our pretty or creative things, but it can’t come before other, more important things.

20 Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D October 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

Dear Kimba,
You’re a “high C” too!
If you aren’t familiar, you so need to read about the D.I.S.C. profiles.

I was reading your post to my husband – after saying, “This woman is SO me!” He got to the peanut butter part and he said, “Well why doesn’t she just take a marker and write his name on it?”

Because, dear Mr. “High D,” she’s a “High C” and so that isn’t the pretty idea she had in her head.

Knowing all about the D.I.S.C. profiles, he said, “Well, why doesn’t she get our her Brother P-touch labeller – that every good high C has, and label it?” “I’m sure she could,” I said, “and she even might, but it’s still not the cute idea she had in her head.”

Yes, great ideas stand in the way of my projects. Right now there is a list on the back of our door of things we want to do as a family. It’s on loose-leaf paper. Bleck. My idea? A sheet of butcher block that could roll up and be all pretty and fun. The loose leaf has been up for 3 months now. It’s functioned well. Yesterday I brought home a sheet of butcher block. It’s still rolled-up in my car. Wonder how long it’ll take to finished THAT project!

You are not alone. LOL.
“High C’s “get you 🙂
Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D´s last blog post ..31 Days To a More Organized Life: Day 4 – Getting a Grip on Storage Containers

21 Laura October 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Love the DISC profile. It explained so much! We try not to use it to judge others, but it does make it easier to understand why certain personalities seem more compatible with ours! Imagine 3 high C and S’s living together, though. Everyone has the perfect way to do things. Too bad it is not always the same way!

Kimba, your solutions are fabulous! You “got-r-dun”! Mater would be proud!

22 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Oh my dear Dana. You get me. You really get me.

I do know the D.I.S.C. profiles and you’re exactly right. I’m a High “C”. Like you, I’m also married to a High “D”. Interesting. I’ve had many similar conversations with my husband.

23 Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D October 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

High D Husbands with High C Wives.
There should be a book.

Soon (hopefully) I’ll be blogging about our new kitchen set-up. Needed to replace a hand-me-down baker’s rack. Wooden, non-efficient, ugly. Replacing with a chrome industrial standing rack, sleek, spacious, efficient, bought with gift cards. Score.

Me? I ended up drawing in Paint so I could figure out what would go on each shelf to determine the shelf heights (and ended up sending him to the store to buy 2 additional shelves to make it more efficient.)

Him? “You put it together, then you put stuff on it.”
That brought us a good laugh.
(He gladly went to the store, twice. Best. Husband. Ever.)
Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D´s last blog post ..31 Days To a More Organized Life: Day 5 – Cleaning and Organizing Your Cell Phone

24 Laura October 6, 2011 at 9:23 am

High D husbands with High C wives? You don’t need a book- you need therapy!

25 Emily October 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

This pretty much sums up why nothing in my house ever gets done. I have a great idea but no time/energy to execute it so I just let the “problem” sit and sit and do nothing about it… Maybe I can come up with a few ways to do the “Good Enough” in my house too 🙂
Emily´s last blog post ..A Daddy and his Girl…

26 Brown Eyed Girl October 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Oh, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this post. I feel so much more normal!! I sometimes get very caught up in not taking on projects in our fixer-upper house because I can’t do something exactly the fabulous way I envision, either because of time or budget (or both), and I end up doing nothing. I have had enough of that and I am learning to be ok with the things that take more time, and the things that can be improved NOW, even if not exactly how I want them to eventually be. Like our family chore chart, and our spending jars & allowances! Ha ha ha !

27 Meredith W. October 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm

This is seriously one of the best posts you’ve ever written. I have two small boys, and “good enough” is necessary in order to give them the attention (and food, clean clothes, etc.) they need. There’s a lifetime of opportunities for creativity – some of those opportunities are now…most have to wait. The truth is, my family deserves my time so much more.

28 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Very wise words.

29 Elli Davis October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm

My parents used exactly the same can trick to teach me how to manage my money and I do remember the lesson!
Elli Davis´s last blog post ..Breathe the World’s Best Air

30 Lisa October 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Kimba, I love these keeping-it-real posts!! You are speaking my language on all the great ideas I have in my head that I just DO NOT have time to execute! You are TOO funny with the dog peanut butter jar!

31 Scribbling Sarah October 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I have a problem with that. I come from a family of perfectionists kind of “anything worth doing is worth overdoing” which isn’t really always true. Sometimes I’m so busy trying to get something perfect, I neglect other things. But I’m learning to tone that back, while still doing things well. Whether that is sending a letter/note even if it isn’t as beautiful or long as I would like or not varnishing my leaves in my fall tree craft, I think I’m getting it.
Scribbling Sarah´s last blog post ..Fall tree craft

32 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Interesting. When I wrote the post, I was thinking about perfectionism. But I decided that wasn’t the issue for me as I live with vast amounts of imperfection every day.

But, now I’m wondering if it does come into play because perfection for me includes large amounts of creativity.

You’ve got me thinking.

33 suzanne October 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Hey girl, I had the same thoughts, but didn’t have time to blog them as cutely as you did, so you’re one UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 Just sayin’.
suzanne´s last blog post ..thought I’d show you a few pics before we move on with the ABC’s…..

34 Jeannette October 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm

It’s great to read that I’m not the only one who does this. I have a garage full of great idea’s. Love your blog.

35 Kimba October 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Me too! My husband asks about all the “junk” in the garage. I tell him, it’s not junk! It’s great ideas!

36 Kathy Martin October 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I think most suffer this issue! Take when you have a baby…for nine months you create your dream nursery, plan, and daydream about making homemade, organic baby food. But when the rubber hits the road…we make do with more practical solutions. In a perfect world we would have an adorable peanut butter jar sleeve with the dog’s name on it, but in fast times, a sharpie will do! 🙂 I am a work in progress in this department! I sometimes want the perfect world, but have to let go and realize that’s unatainable and would make me crazy!

37 Deborah October 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm

You are so cute and I love your ideas!!
I get so many and then I want them just the way I envision them, but find it so hard to just find and make the time to do them!
And our garage is filled with those ideas waiting…for the time for me to do it!
Love this post 🙂

Deborah xoxo
Deborah´s last blog post ..Friendship, Gems and Love

38 Hayley October 4, 2011 at 9:05 pm

For years I’ve stressed over having the perfectly clean, perfect looking house…and getting super frustrated that all my creative efforts (aka. crafer-itis) fall by the wayside. That just left me frustrated, and tired of cleaning. So I’ve learned that my house doesn’t have to be perfect all the time and now I have time to spend her and there on my ever growing list of creative ideas…like clear coating my pumpkins 🙂 Oh, and a quick tip…freeze the Kong after you put peanut butter in it. Ask me how I know that 🙂 Great post Kimba!!

39 Crystal October 5, 2011 at 6:09 am

Can I get an A-men!

40 Sue Williams October 5, 2011 at 9:55 am

You and I… cut from the same cloth!

41 Cara @ Today October 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Cara @ Today´s last blog post ..August Hopes

42 Kathy October 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I have so many awesome and creative ideas floating around inside my head all the time-too bad I very rarely ever follow through with any of them!! I always have such good intentions though!

43 Centsational Girl October 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm

I looooooove the ‘give, save, spend’ jars. We’ve got em too and their first inclination is to load up the “spend” jar, but little by little, they are learning the value of save and give”. I love the way your mind works, and so does Tank.

44 Bonnie October 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Congratulations because you are a mom! It is really difficult to work on those good ideas especially if other good ideas are simultaneously running through your head. That is just the way it is. My good idea is you just take action on the first good idea and not be bothered by the other ideas that could come later. If you fail to do it, just let it be and pray that nobody double dips into that peanut butter jar!
Bonnie´s last blog post ..wine club reviews

45 Rebecca October 6, 2011 at 7:06 am

I cannot finish reading this post without a big NOOOOOOOOO!!!! My brain won’t let me accept that the “good enough” solutions are anything but temporary, until you get a chance to make the “real” solutions. This is why my kids end up watching TV instead of doing educational activities with mom; I’m still trying to make them! Good luck; we could all use some practice being satisfied with “good enough”.

46 Rebecca October 6, 2011 at 7:27 am

PS: Since the “quick trip” to the craft store is about all I can manage with the kids, and picking up supplies is the easiest step in each creative endeavor, there is indeed a garage filled with good ideas. My husband is going nuts over this, since he’s the only one who actually uses the garage. He DOES NOT GET THIS COMPULSION. AT. ALL. He thinks everything should be free AND free of clutter. I cannot convince him that it’s either one (free) or the other (free of “stuff”). And that he’s BLESSED with a creative wife who can create heaven on earth from toilet paper tubes, so STUFF it is!

What a waste, though, when reality sets in (for ME) and I am left with a garage filled with good (maybe even great) ideas, and no time or energy to create with. How much money have I spent on the first, easy step in a project, only to have it sit unfulfilled for months and years?
It makes me sick to my stomach. There has to be a way for us mamas to satisfy our creative urges without going bankrupt or subjecting our kids to mindless tv and breakfast in a ziplock bag…

I have found my own solution to scrapbooking perfectionism: I use the beautiful papers as backgrounds, even having a “theme” for a yearly album, but I just crop and mount as many photos as I can fit on each page, and add any captions or doodles as I can do in a sitting. One spread per month, plus special occasions. So far I’m up to date with our family albums…

Sorry to ramble so much on your blog but you really got my mind going (plus I’m on my 2nd cup of coffee).

And stop looking (so much) at what others are doing!!! It’s pure torture.

47 Kath M October 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Oh my, I just had to chuckle. On my center island sits a peanut butter jar with “Katie” in perm marker….for my little beastie who also needs her pb and treats in her kong! :~D

Have a blessed day

48 Kath M October 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Oh, need to add….
When I brought her home my boys said that she was my “mini me” lol
Sooooo I named her another shortened version of my name: Kathryn.

49 Krista October 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm

You are speaking to my soul! I have tons of ideas and lack the time, money, energy to complete them. Thank you for reaffirming that good enough sometimes really is good enough. And I blame Pinterest, too. My poor husband is so patient 🙂

50 Joy October 12, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Yes! I needed this post. Sometimes good enough, is well, good enough. I use a similar money system with my kids and bought an envelope set at the FL homeschool conference that has been great! I love that when I am going to the store, and he wants to bring money he can just grab the proper envelope. Anyway, here it is http://kidswealth.com. Its $25, but I found it to be worth it, I recently bought one for little brother too.

51 Terrie October 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm

First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Many thanks!

52 Yolanda October 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back very soon. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great job, have a nice weekend!
Yolanda´s last blog post ..inception

53 Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House October 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm

My goodness, can I ever relate. Wonderful post, and I can see from the rest of your comments that you’re in good company! I think I do it anyway, even though I have a blog.

54 matthew c October 27, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I am in the same boat here. I bought a house a year and a half ago and have yet to get the upstairs done. We emptied our storage unit and put it all upstairs. All that is stopping us fro going up there and getting started on it is plywood. We need some plywood so that we can store some stuff in the crawl spaces. Great article.

55 Marty October 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Thanks for being real. Good intentions are just that…..good intentions. Everything can’t be all neat and perfect!
Marty´s last blog post ..The State of M

56 Kimberly Eslinger November 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm

HIGHlarious! That is SOOOOOOO meeeeeee, too! Nice to know I am not alone. I actually came to that conclusion, that I’m not alone, many years ago… but it’s always nice to be reminded.

Blessings to you!

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