Home » Blog » January Mixed Bag

January Mixed Bag

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Happy New Year and Welcome to this month’s Mixed Bag! I am definitely ready to start this new year with a burst of productivity after the past week. I usually take the week after Christmas off and purposely plan nothing and am only now, after years of this practice beginning to notice a pattern emerging. I begin the week tired from all of the holiday hoopla but believing that I’m going to be so productive because of all the free time I have. What ends up actually happening is a conglomeration of negative thoughts invading my mood (lack of blue sky, pants are too tight, my kids are leaving soon, uninspiring Giants offseason, etc.) and sapping all of my energy. So I end up doing hardly anything. Which was sort of the plan(?) but not aligned with my expectation for the week. By the time New Year’s Eve comes I am over eating, sparkles and year-end recaps and ready to be back in action mode.

Another dynamic that plays out during my week of ‘nothing’ is I start noticing systems in our house that aren’t working or need tweaking. Then I start getting excited to improve on those systems and quickly realize that I could have spent my free week doing that and now there is no time again – UGH! This brings me to my focus this month: systems. I will be exploring why you need systems, how to design systems that work and one of the most important systems to implement for an organized home. In the meantime here is what’s on my mind after my sad week of doing nothing!

strike the set

I am someone who is ready to strike the holiday set right as the New Year begins and start the year off fresh. by that time our tree is beginning to resemble kindling, there is a daily shower of needles on the floor and the decorations so lovingly styled a few weeks ago are beginning to scream ‘CLUTTER’ at me. I love to begin the new year with a clean slate, so to speak, which is what our home feels like after we have bundled everything away and hauled the tree out to the curb for the Scouts to cart away (Thank You Troop 44!)

Whether you are like me and ready to transition early or like to keep the holiday embers glowing for a few more weeks I like to look at striking the holiday set as an easy opportunity to do some decluttering. Were there decorations that never made it out? Why was that? Can you get them into a donation bag to make putting everything else away a little bit easier?

What about the stuff you did put out? Did everything make it through the season unscathed? At our house Gus always gets a few things, some of which can be repaired and some which need to be trashed. Are there things that you have purchased over the years that you don’t really like anymore? I thought I needed a garland on our mantle to complement the glassybabies that live there but after a few years of looking at it I’ve decided it’s too much and so that garland did not get put away and instead went into a donation bag.

How is your holiday storage system? Having a good system makes decorating and pulling down a whole lot easier, which is a really good thing when your kids refuse to help you with the work. The Container Store has an excellent selection of storage boxes for ornaments, lights, wreaths and even Nutcrakers! My system consists mostly of Designer Shoe boxes, which fit my criteria of function plus beauty but I do recommend specialty ornament storage for balls especially, since they are pretty fragile and prone to breakage if not stored appropriately. Our lights are stored in weathertight storage bins that are translucent so you can see what’s inside. If your bins are opaque I highly recommend labeling them before you put them away again for the season. Pay your future self back with interest by investing in a holiday organization system now.

When I’m done taking down Christmas I feel light and ready to take the new year by the horns – it’s like a cleanse for my psyche!


Like everyone in the country we’ve had a lot of crazy weather here lately that has been annoying (and dangerous!) and scrooged a lot of people’s travel plans. My family had no travel plans but all of the precipitation happening did mean that there was a lot of snow piling up in the mountains. And this week I get to ski on it!

Yes, I’m heading to Crystal Mountain mid week to ski with my girls and my best ski buddy, whose birthday we will be celebrating. I’m pretty excited and conditions look good, I may even get a glimpse of some bluebird skies which is one of the great joys of skiing for me. I plan to enjoy my people and go fast on the groomers and follow Rule #1 (DON’T FALL.)

What is very important to do before the first ski of the season is take an equipment inventory. This is not hard to do if A) you have a good storage system and B) you addressed key holes/needs at the end of last season. If you have a mountain home there is a potential layer of complexity in terms of what came back with you and what stayed on the mountain – easier if you keep 2 sets of things but all bets are off when you have kids, who annoyingly grow, improve and lose things at a consistently dizzying pace.

I don’t have time in this post to go into detail on the Ski Season Edit (stay tuned, it will likely come at the end of this season!) but since my season starts this week I thought it was worth a call out to get your cold weather organizational juices flowing!

book darts

I just had to share one of the favorite gifts I got this year from my friend Amy because I’m really excited about them. If you are a cook or have one in your life these make a great little something that they will use and appreciate. I had cookbooks on my list this year and Santa brought me several. I like to spend the day after Christmas pouring through my new books and getting inspired for my next Whole30, dinner party or the following week’s meal planning. My pattern is usually finding a bunch of recipes from the book that I want to make, eventually making most of them and then coming back to a few that were big winners with me or my family. Those winners get made multiple times and it always takes some time to locate the recipe each time I make it. Enter these cute little Book Darts. They are sleek, don’t damage the page and stay in place. As you know I love things that are functional and beautiful. I just love things that keep me organized. They have already been added to my Notes page for gift ideas for next year! Thank You Amy!

photo maintenance

Now that the year is over it’s a fun time to review what you did, which you most likely documented with your phone. It’s also a good time to back your photos up to a cloud service where your whole family can easily enjoy them. It’s a project easily accomplished from your sofa, over your morning coffee or when you are trapped in an airport. A little time invested on this bit of life now will save you overwhelm later. My love for Amazon Photos is well documented but here are the reasons why it is my cloud service of choice and serves as the foundation of my photo organization system:

  1. Unlimited Free Photo Storage for Prime Members (free video storage is limited but very affordable if you have lots of video)

  2. Photos are easily backed up and retrievable when you need them – not the case with every cloud service!

  3. The facial recognition is excellent. Looking for a photo of your entire family? Just click on each of their faces and you instantly see every picture with all of you in it (this year I had lots to choose from with all of the graduations, etc. but usually it’s like a needle in a haystack!)

  4. You can also search on random things. To find a picture that appropriately conveyed my excitement about the upcoming launch of my ski season I searched on ‘snow’ and up all of the choices came, in chronological order

In addition you can search on Places, dates and create albums. There are other fun features as well but the above 4 are the ones I use the most. It’s not that overwhelming to backup a year’s worth of photos. When the years pile up and your photos live across multiple platforms and media is the time the overwhelm sinks in and it would be a good idea to call in a professional. If that’s you I’m here to help!

As you can see systems have found their way into each topic of this post, I believe they are essential to live a balanced and well organized life. Stay tuned for more on systems as we launch into a brand new year of content. Happy 2023 Everyone!

Similar Posts

Method Seattle Comment Policy

We welcome relevant and respectful comments. Off-topic comments may be removed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *