December 3, 2013

The Problem With Before & After Photos

You may have noticed that I don’t display before and after photos on my website. It’s not that I’m not proud of my work – I am always pleased with the progress clients and I make. I even take before and after photos while I’m working with a client to document and validate progress. But I don’t ask to post them on my site.

The reasons are simple.

Organization is a process.  Although we work towards a goal, the end result is not a moment frozen in time.  The end result is change. Becoming organized requires adjusting your mindset, being open to change, and learning new skills and habits.  It is not about being neat and tidy.  It is about setting up and practicing systems to help you run your life without undue stress.

An after photo doesn’t necessarily show what was achieved.  For all you know, the mess in the before picture was simply dumped into boxes and shoved out of frame.  You don’t see the myriad decisions that had to be made, and the interim steps that were struggled through.  Sometimes the process looks worse than the starting point and there isn’t always a visual represention of an internal process.

Finally, we all have different aesthetic sensibilities. Your organized closet may not be very photogenic. It could be a collection of old shoeboxes and mis-matched containers instead of fabric-covered sweater boxes stacked in matching rows.

It’s okay if everything doesn’t look perfect. It’s okay that we get messy as we go about our lives. We’re not living in a magazine. What’s important is that your system functions for you.  Photos cannot capture that.

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