Thursday, January 2, 2014

52 A Year in Review and a 2014 to be Giddy About!

Happy 2014!  Do you feel refreshed, renewed and full of excitement for the year ahead?  I always love that feeling of a new 365 days to learn from, grown within and to simply enjoy.

I feel like the days, weeks, months and even years are continuing to move faster and faster!  Maybe it is because I am a mom to three busy boys, but I am always so astounded by how quickly these years are coming and going.  My fingers are crossed I can find a way to slow down time in 2014, and take more moments to just soak it all in.

Every year, I like to take a day to look back on the previous year.  This does two things... Gets the fire lit inside of me to get my organizing booty up and running again after the little holiday break while also allowing for me to reflect and set a few goals for the exciting year to come!  {You can find my previous recaps for 2012, 2011 and 2010

 
By documenting our quest to create a well loved, lived in and organized home, I also have the ability to reflect on the past and set new goals for the future.  I can not begin to express how much fun it has been for me to sit down and sift through the previous few years of projects and stories, many of which we are still loving today, and others that may have been laughed at, learned from and moved on from.  My style and outlook on things has definitely changed and evolved over the years!








Although I am happy as a buzzing bee with all we have tackled in 2013, reflecting on the past and previous goals can cause a little bit of nail biting.  Writing down goals and ultimately sharing them with the world allows you to feel instant failure when those goals weren't reached.  We didn't start our kitchen renovation, which I have been dreaming about for years, but we did take on smaller projects that have been nagging us for years.  I didn't get all of my blog updates on my list done, but I did blog 4-5 days per week plus run a shop and manage partnerships.  So although I may not have achieved every last goal I set, I believe in the importance of finding the balance and high-fiving myself for those few unplanned accomplishments while also having the ability to see the positives that caused us to switch up our plans.
That said, I have learned that life can take you where you least expect it.  That plans can change in an instant.  That you can never predict how your year will end.   And even with solid goals in place, one small change can cause an infinite trickle effect.  And that change can be very good. 

So for 2014, I am allowing myself to set a few goals for this coming year, however, I am loosening the reigns and allowing them to be flexible.  My goals are general and not as much about completing a specific project, but more about making our life the project. 
  • Balance.  That is my key word for the year.  Year after year I find myself saying that I will manage my time better, and year after year I get frustrated that I haven't figured this out yet.  I am sure if I can find the magical solution, I could become a gazillionaire superstar problem solver and everyone would love me and thank me for solving an issue many of us personally struggle with.  I know I am not alone in this and I hear from so many of you each and every day with questions on managing time and balancing it all.  I love that I am typically an energetic "do-er" and that I live to paint, organize, create and work.  Seriously.  I love to work!  But that can get me into trouble at times and take me away from what matters most in my life.  While cleaning out our storage rooms this past year I found so many videos and photos from our past.  Photos of us savoring our home and our time together.  Last year, the only photos I that had printed were my Instagram photos.  In fact, I am grateful I had my phone to capture moments throughout the year, or I fear I wouldn't have at all.  Ditto to videos.  I didn't blog on our family blog one time, but I found myself reading old entries and smiling and telling myself I wish I had more time to get back to that.  Although I know that documenting our projects and home updates are a piece of my current job, it can feel strange to place more focus on documenting that portion of our life than what carries more weight in my heart.  No worries, this blog is not evolving into a family blog, it is just my number one personal goal to find a balance and get back to capturing and locking away those family moments, big and small.  A goal to turn off the computer between the hours of 3:30 and 8:30 while my family is present.  A goal to have the strength turn away opportunities that come my way, no matter how great they are, if I don't have the capacity to take them on.  A goal to focus on my personal health, eating and exercise.  A goal to simplify our routines, our home and our day to day life to give us more time enjoying our home and less time maintaining it.  Although that is a lot of goals in one, it all comes back to the keyword.  This will be a whole different area of organizing that I am no expert at, but I hope to share all of those attempts, ideas and life simplifying solutions along the way.
  • Let go!  Part of being able to balance my time, may mean that I need to be OK letting go of things that I can ask for help with.  That inner organizer and perfectionist have always had a hard time doing this, no matter which job I have held, but I have learned that this is the key to balance.  Letting go.  Trusting others.  Asking for help.  Being OK with not being super mom or having the cleanest house on the block or being able to do it all.  Because by trying to do it all, causes more stress and frustration in the end.  And although I wear a few different hats from blog writer to shop owner to contributor to wife and mom, and I am extremely passionate about each one of those roles, asking for help could allow me to fall in love with them even more.  I have no desire to burn out, so this goal is all about continuing to swim with a giant smile plastered across my face!
  • Big & Small!  Another reoccurring goal that I make year after year and also reverts back to balance is to focus on both the big and the small.  We love our projects, but sometimes it is those smaller moments that create the biggest wins.  And I know you all love those as well.  Finding solutions that take 15-30 minutes to implement yet yield a huge result.  Time to get back to those organizing basics!  I also noticed that I only posted about a few areas of our home last year, and that others were not mentioned even once {cough cough living room}, so a better overall home balance and focus is part of this as well.
  • Enhance.  Without getting into the nitty gritty specifics, I have a lot of ideas and visions of enhancing the overall blog experience and features.  From an updated home tour and product source list to a streamlined sponsorship process and an easier to navigate layout and project gallery to new products in my shop.  I want to make your time with me the best that I possibly can and find ways to simplify everything from my blog layout to organized lifestyle.  I also hope to continue to bring new and fresh ideas and solutions to common, everyday problems.
  • Change is good, but not always necessary!  There are a lot of things I am already lovin' about our home, our life and this little ol' blog.  So although there may be a demand out there for a hip new painting trend or bold kitchens or having the flashiest blog, don't expect things around here to change for the sake of changing.  If there is one thing I have learned through blogging, is that you can easily be sucked into the "trying to keep up" category, but it is important to me to stay true to our roots.  So many of the reasons you come here to say hi each day, will not be going away any time soon.  Including my overuse of the words heart, excited, love, giddy, happy, flutter, etc... 

2013 was a really wonderful year and all I can do is hope that 2014 is equally as awesome in new and thrilling ways!  And speaking of thrilling, 2013 ended on an awesome high with a really exciting feature in the January 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens!


I was given a reader dilemma and had the opportunity to provide an organizational solution for their family's entryway.  It was a really fun project that allowed me to shift focus away from our abode to help out another family.  My final goal for 2014 is to be able to balance more of that as well.

So cheers to balance and 2014!  Thank you all for following along on this crazy journey we share and for all of your daily sweetness.  Connecting with you fine folks really keeps me passionate about what I do!

Anyone else select a single word to encompass your overall vision for the new year, and if so, what is driving you to make 2014 the best year yet?  What goals are you most excited to take on in 2014?  Any organizing related resolutions?


52 comments:

  1. This post is PERFECT! Everything right here in this one post for me to reference and help me on my New Years Resolution... Getting organized!

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  2. Balance is my word this year too! I just started blogging last year, and it's amazing how much time it can take (and I'm sure I only do a small fraction of what's on your to do list). I hope you and your family have a very happy and balanced 2014! :)

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  3. I love that I'm not the only one giddy for 2014.

    I have feelings instead of words this year, I'm looking forward to implementing them!

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  4. You are exactly right that the keyword for this year is BALANCE. Knowing how to balance and time management are extremely important to keep you organized. Happy New Year!!!

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  5. I agree that this post is PERFECT!! I have so much to be organized this year too - my sponsorship, getting my teaching qualifications transferred, getting the bachelor pad feminized once and for all! I am hoping you will help me do it with your hints and tips ;)

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  6. Our word is Organized! So tired of the clutter from our major home remodel. I really want everything to have a "home" again. So that is my #1 goal this year, starting with my 52 week organization challenge. I hope I can stick with it and I know your blog will help.

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    1. Wahoo! Cheers to a happy and organized 2014! You can do it!! <3

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    2. Hi Jennifer
      I was hoping you could help me with a little organization tid bit. We have alot of puzzles and they are always getting lost or all over the floor. What is a good organization tool that I can use to better matter the space.

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  7. I am excited and leery about new beginnings! You were a busy lady last year! :D

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  8. Nice recap! I love to see all of it in one place :)
    I don't have one word for the year. I sometimes think I should, but then realize that it doesn't really suit my way of looking at a year. All of your goals you listed are fantastic ones, and ones that I am hoping to keep in my life too. Specifically, balance and let go. I really hope to focus on all the real things that matter more (like sitting at the breakfast table with my kiddos and their bed head, and not stress as much about being late for work in that moment).

    Happy new year to you and your family! I'm certain you will show us a great year - professionally and personally.

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  9. I have recently found your website and think it is fab. Will look forward to your projects and updates in 2014 as I am really keen on getting myself organised! Thanks for the inspiration x

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  10. I love what you said about letting go! It spoke to my heart. I get all caught up in stressing about how my home isn't perfectly clean, and am hard on myself an awful lot. Truth be told, with each addition to our family (I have 3 beautiful kidlets), my house becomes a little more disorderly and messy, and I get frustrated that I can't keep up some of the time. But I'm going to take your advice....or at least try really hard too, and just pat myself on the back for my accomplishments, and not get so down when it's not perfect. Thanks for this! xo, Amber

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  11. Yay can't wait to see the magazine! :) 2014 here we go! :)

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  12. It's amazing to see all your projects in one place... There are so many! I can't wait to see what 2014 brings for the blog and your family!

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  13. This reminds me so much about my post I did on the new year. My motto is Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy. Goes along well with Balance and letting go. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to make sure I follow all the trends, do everything perfect. Its great to just do things that make you happy, no matter what others think. I love your blog and always turn to it for my go to when looking to DIY a project for my apartment.
    2014 is going to be a good one.
    http://www.apartmentnumberone.blogspot.com/2014/01/2014-new-changes-new-experiences.html

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  14. oh my! I just spend at least an hour going through your posts and feel so inspired. Thanks so much for you ideas, and your generosity. I'm becoming an organizing junkie in the last 2 months and your blogs is one of the best. THANKS!

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  15. I have three words for this year to try and keep us all on track...SIMPLE, HAPPY, & FUN! :)

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  16. I saw the issue weeks ago when it landed on my doorstep—you go girl, congrats!

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  17. Amen to balance! I struggle with that so much! I almost made that my word of the year too, but then ultimately decided on "love." Maybe it's cheesy, but I'm hoping that by turning my eyes outward and trying to love others, the balance will come along with it. You certainly have accomplished so many amazing things in 2013, Miss Jen! I'm excited to see what 2014 holds for you!

    ~Abby =)

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    1. Not cheesy at all! I think it goes hand-in-hand with balance. I am trying to find balance because of those I love. :) Best wishes to you Abby!

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  18. Love your projects...looking forward to balance and happy organization in 2014!

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  19. OKAY first you are my organizing idol!!! What time do you wake up? Do you have a caffeine attached to you lol. :) You are an inspiration to me thank you for all your hard work you put into this blog!!

    Cindy

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  20. Bravo my friend. Loved this reflection and proud of you for striving to set more boundaries and stay totally true to what you love and are inspired by. Good for you. Love you, girl!

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  21. Balance is always something I struggle with. I've decided that what I need are better boundaries between my home projects and blogging and my time with my kids/family/friends. I need to be better at time management too and I'm always looking to get more organized, so I appreciate you so much for always giving inspiration there. You are incredibly creative and productive! I've been wondering whatever happened to your assistant, Emily?

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    1. Thank you Sharon! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2014! And Emily ended up moving on and adding to her family, and I miss her so. She was a great help.

      xo!

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  22. there is so much greatness in this post that I know I'll be coming back to it a few times over the coming weeks!! of course I've loved all your projects...and remember each and every one #stalker, and I'm really relating to your resolutions for balance, etc. You and I are peas in a pod (great, now I've offended you!) ;)

    much love for 2014, and praise to 2013 for hooking us up!!! xoxoxo

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  23. Always love your organizing ideas! And I'm loving your phone case - where's it from?

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    1. Thank you! Here is the link: http://society6.com/erincooper/Sangria-a85_iPhone-Case

      xo!

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  24. I love that you took the time to celebrate all the things that you're doing that are working well. Hi-Five to you.

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  25. Just thought I would chime in on time going by fast....it just does, no matter what! We have no kids to 'blame' it on :), it is just life in this day and age of go, go, go and we do, do, do! So don't worry, it is happening to us all. But slowing down and savoring it all is a great goal. Love your blog, have a balanced 2014!

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    1. I agree that you are right! The world we live in sure is a fast paced one!

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  26. One word, Jen: Awesome!! Thank you for always keeping it down-to-earth, yet inspirational!

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  27. I agree with those who say the best post ever too - I was just on your site looking for your budget binder post again and I couldn't find it, and here it is~ along with anything else I need to find! Thanks!

    I would love if you would post more smaller organizing projects again! You totally lose me in the big home makeovers (except for your storage area -swoon) because I don't have the talent or access to the talent that you and your husband share, so none of that applies to me. Cupboard, closet, papers, shoes, photo organizing on the other hand - I love to read your solutions. Would love to see more of that again!

    Congrats on the BHG article!

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  28. Jen, love your perspective on setting goals for this year. My one word for the year is "relish". I want to make sure I am relishing in the important moments of life.

    I so wish it was about 40 degrees warmer...and I would be running out to get your magazine feature ASAP! Wander, if my hubby would grab me a copy on the way home? Seriously, girl, only -16 degree weather can keep me from seeing you in a glossy...so well deserved!

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    1. Great word! Love it Jackie! And I agree, this weather is nuts. I miss sunshine and days at the park with the kids... only a few months left! :)

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  29. I have loved each one of your projects since I found your blog last summer. It seems like you stay true to yourself when you're organizing or decorating, which is so refreshing.

    Since I'm also a blogger, our goals are similar! It does seem like there's never enough time in the day...so my #1 goal is time management. And, we also are planning a kitchen remodel. I'll start working on it once my children return to school next week. It'll be fun to see yours unfold on your blog! I look forward to seeing what you blog about in 2014. :)

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  30. Thank you for keeping your blog "real". All of your projects are things that the normal average person could do and afford. Some projects in magazines, etc. are amazing but there is NO way most people could do them without hiring designers, contractors, and buying all kinds of expensive products. I love how you give me ideas that I can actually use and implement with two tiny children. Happy New Year! :)

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  31. Congratulations on a wonderful year Jen! I have been following you and learned about Pinterest through your blog. You've inspired me to organize better!

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  32. I'm so glad I found your blog this year Jen. You have been such an inspiration for organizing my life and home, and even though I haven't done as much as I would like to yet, I will be able to come back and look at your amazing tips for help this year. Looking forward to following along this year!
    Congrats on the BHG article!

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  33. Can't wait grab a cup of coffee and look back at 2013! Thank you for sharing your gifts, talents, home, and family with us.

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  34. I absolutely loved this post Jen. So much about it resonates with me and im sure many others. My one word for 2014 is Simplify. Oh and since Im a goober and really cant just get it down to one word my second word is Adventure. So much reflection in the past couple months has caused me to look at life overall in a very different way than I ever imagined. Its almost as if Im introducing myself to myself! Im hoping to embark on new adventures and experiences this year as well. You had such an amazing year and I cant wait see what 2014 brings for you and your family. Here's to new adventures!

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  35. love this post too !! and can't wait for more time to finish it-- soo many great ideas !! One of my goals for this year is to organize our garage-- made a little dent this AM. Am looking for the Label Maker that you have and cant find it for under $50 must have gone up or you found a lucky sale ! Happy 2014 and will continue to watch for your awesome posts

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  36. Congratulations on achieving so much in 2013, and putting great thought into your hopes for 2014. I hope they all come true for you. You definitely inspire me to make things better in my home. Since you mentioned tweaking your blog a bit, I thought I'd mention that when I read your blog on my (original) ipad it crashes again and again, perhaps due to the large number of images on each page? Not sure if it's any better on later ipads, or to do with my server, but thought I'd let you know FYI. Have a great year!

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    1. Thank you for letting me know! I will be sure to keep that in mind while I continue to tweak things around here. :) Wish I knew more about techy behind the scenes stuff, but I will absolutely see what I can do!

      xo!

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  37. Seriously, some of your blog entries and projects seem like they were just yesterday!! And they were April! June! Anyway, thank you for another year filled with wonderful ideas! I swear I am doing your outdoor cart this coming summer. Since I share your cold weather state of WI with you, I long for summer and try to enjoy every. Single. Second of it!! I hate to wish my life away, but I am always wishing winter away!!

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  38. Loved this review post since I just started following in the summer. My phrase for 2014 is "Follow My Heart". Most of my stress and weariness comes from overthinking things. I also have a bad habit of acting or reacting too quickly to try to avoid overthinking. This year my major goal is to listen, think, speak and act from my heart. AND get my house in shape! :) I'll be looking to your blog for help with that as usual.

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  39. Congrats on a wonderful year and here is to another!! Thank you for sharing! Here is to a year of more down time and family time. Would you mind sharing what font you used on the months for this post? Again LOVE your BLOG!!!

    Jenny

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    1. Thanks so much Jenny! The font is Housegrind.

      xo!

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  40. Hi Jen,
    I just wanted to say thanks and also that I'm simultaneously very annoyed with you having discovered your amazing blog this week. I have a 10 week old little girl and so I'm enjoying reading your 2013 organizing achievements at all hours when feeding her. The problem is I can't stop reading-I have more lack of sleep from getting excited about all the possible ideas I can use in my home and the craft business I'm setting up than from feeding the baby-grrrrr! Your 2014 goals really resonate with me too, I need to look up more often from whatever new and exciting project I'm immersed in and be mindful of givng my full attention to my loved ones! Keep up the fantastic work in 2014 and have an amazing year with your family.

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