Happy New Year, friends! We rang in the new year at 11pm (12am EST) with pizza delivery and boxed brownies. The perfect slow ending to a crazy, busy year. My/our goal for 2018 is to slow down and spend more time doing what we love, all while simplifying our life. Really, it goes hand in hand – when life is organized and stripped down to the basics, we can slow down AND fill our time with happy things.
More time in the kitchen!
Over the weekend, I made a list of all of the things we needed to do before the end of the year (40+ random projects/tasks/etc. and counting). We’re chipping away at it (definitely didn’t finish before January 1!) but it got me thinking… so many of us, myself included, become easily overwhelmed when it feels like we need to do ALL the things ALL at once. Instead of trying to fit the 2498723 things we didn’t finish throughout the year into one weekend, why not intentionally spread them out throughout the entire year? When I thought about it this way, it makes sense and makes my organizational heart happy. By breaking down a master list into smaller “projects” I’m not so overwhelmed and can also truly enjoy the process of simplifying and organizing every aspect of our life. Instead of an incredibly long, daunting, and overwhelming list that’s always there, I’m going to share 5-10 tasks that are on my personal list each month. These will range from home to finance, travel to tech, and just about everything in between.
I’ve never tried anything like this before, but I’m tired of constantly feeling a sense of overwhelm even though I’m actually making progress. So many of you have asked about how I stay so organized, so let’s do this together! By the end of the year, we’ll have 12 lists (one for each month) that we can reuse and add to each year moving forward. I encourage you to adjust or add to these lists to best fit your family and stage of life!
Monthly Organization: JANUARY
- Put away all holiday decorations in the right place. No cutting corners. Set aside a few hours (or days) to really do this right. Go through existing decorations, make sure you still like them all, and get rid of anything that you don’t foresee yourself using in the future. Organize them to best suit your space. *I like to save Christmas cards that we receive each year. I hole punch them in the top left corner and use a metal ring to keep them together. I always include our card from the year, too.
- Write your Christmas thank you notes! I keep a list of all gifts/kind things people have done in a note on my phone for easy access and so I can continually add to this. I set aside one night and write them all.
- Upload all of your December photos to your computer/backup drive/cloud – whatever system you use to house your photos, and add December’s to this space.
- Take a look at your predicted financial situation for the year. Do you need to change anything to maintain your current lifestyle? If you follow a budget, are there areas that need adjusting? Do you need to add new categories for spending or saving? Think about retirement – what can you do now to better position your future self? Reexamine your retirement withholding? Max out your HSA? Do you need to open another account?
- Plan travel for the year ahead! Of course, this will always be changing, but set aside time off/vacation days/calendar days for upcoming adventures. I encourage you to continually save for these trips. *We dedicate a set portion of our income each month to travel. Even if we don’t need it that month, we put it aside. That way, when we do go somewhere, it’s already paid for and we don’t have added financial stress.
- Plan for any February birthdays, holidays, etc. Buy cards and/or gifts, wrap, package, stamp, and place a post-it on each with the date it needs to be in the mail.
- Think ahead to Valentine’s Day. Sending Valentine’s? Baking anything sweet? Hosting a party? Make a list of what you need to do to prepare.
- Compile all of your tax documents needed for filing. Dedicate a specific folder for these papers. If you don’t have all of the tangible docs yet, your list will help you stay organized and ensure you’ve got all your ducks in a row as things come in (and cross them off the list once received!). If you work with an accountant, communicate with them ahead of time. Prepare them for what you’ll be sending, even include your own personal list.
- Enjoy the gift of new beginnings! Take the pressure off of setting “perfect” resolutions and simply make the most of each day.
- Most importantly (in my opinion), think about self care and what it means to you. How will you fit in time for the commitment of taking care of yourself?
Is there anything on your list every January? I’d love to hear from you!
PS: We’re getting a puppy! Welcoming Hap to our family in just 11 days 🙂