Ever heard the old saying, “Done is better than perfect”?
I meditated on that thought the other day while I cleaned the kitchen.
The cleaning wasn’t my standard “throw things in the dishwasher, wipe the countertops, and hope for the best” kind of cleaning. This was one of my more serious cleaning moments.
I actually emptied the nasty glop out of the filter trap in the dishwasher and cleaned the rubber gasket around the door seal.
I took everything out of the fridge, threw out all the expired stuff, and wiped out the drawers and shelves.
I scrubbed down the kitchen cabinets and stove cooktop. I even damp mopped the floors.
When I was done, I felt pretty good about the state of my world — or at least my kitchen.
But it wasn’t perfect.
In fact, there’s a long list of things I could have done to do a “better job” of cleaning the kitchen.
I didn’t clean the oven or move it out from the wall to sweep underneath it. I didn’t move the refrigerator or vacuum the coils. I didn’t empty everything out of the cabinets, wipe down the shelves and contents, and put it all back.
But you know what?? I looked around the kitchen and all I’d accomplished. Then I decided I was done.
It was good enough.
And on that day, good enough was good enough for me.
- Because good enough meant enjoying a nice lunch before the middle of the afternoon.
- Because good enough meant having time to get some stitching done on a quilt.
- Because good enough made a huge difference in the way the room looked and felt.
I felt pretty vindicated a little while later when my son walked into the kitchen and exclaimed, “Wow! This looks GREAT! You really worked hard in here.”
But you know what else? He didn’t open the oven door, move the fridge, or look behind the cabinet doors.
If I had spent another several hours working to deep clean and do all the things I didn’t do — he wouldn’t have noticed, and no one else would have either.
Seriously. No one.
I could have worked and scrubbed and sweated, and it wouldn’t have mattered any more or less.
My kitchen clean day reminds me of two women I know, both of whom are perfectionists. One resists starting anything because it never turns out quite the way she imagined it in her mind. The other never finishes anything because she’s forever and always removing stitching or redoing something because it’s still not quite right.
Most things in my life don’t require perfection, and I’d hazard a guess that unless you’re someone who defuses bombs, plans rover landings on the surface of Mars, or captures spitting cobras…good enough is good enough for most things.
Done — it really is better than perfect.