2014: a year of status quo and a giveaway pile

The holidays happen in a weird time warp. First, sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving, it seems like they’ll never get here. Then suddenly they feel like a big, evergreen monster on top of you, smothering you with to do lists, red ribbons and 100 Santa cupcakes.
Then, just as quickly, they’re gone and it’s 2014. Happy New Year.
Our holidays were busy and full. They were full of family and fun and Oxycodone. Um, what? Yes, you read that last one right. Gold, frankincense, and painkillers.
Tom was in the hospital on Thanksgiving for a kidney stone, then right before Christmas he had some pretty extensive oral surgery which, among other things, made it impossible for him to say “Fa la la la la la la la”
By the time Christmas came I was ready, so ready, for a change of pace. I was ready for grandparents to swoop in and feed my toddler sugar cookies and keep wrapping paper out of my baby’s mouth. I was ready for our normal schedule to be disrupted because our normal schedule was exhausting. And they did, and it was, and it was wonderful.
And now it is 2014 and we’re back to work, back to the day-to-day refreshed and ready for personal reflection and New Years resolutions. YAY!
I made resolutions in 2012, 2013, and this year? This year I’m taking a break.
I’m taking a break because resolutions are for people who have slept through the night at least once in the past 7-months. Our family is still adjusting to life as a family of four. We are still, in many ways, just taking life one day at a time. Adding anything seems stressful, not helpful. My friend Rachel said it in a much more euphemistic way, “2014 is already booked.”
I’m not setting goals, but Tom and I are different. He didn’t make goals last year, and he learned that he needs goals.
On New Years Eve we went to an Indian restaurant and, over a candlelit dinner, Tom and I talked about his goals. They are ambitious, but Tom only does ambitious, lofty, exceptional.


I do have a few things I want to work on, everyone does. Things like eating better, going to bed early, reading more. I’d like to run the Monument Avenue 10K again, beef up my Etsy shop, spend more time with my kids at the park than watching Elmo. I’m going to try to drink a cup of water before drinking my morning coffee. That’s my version of ambitious.

I’m also going to try to make some changes in our home. This is an ongoing goal because our family, and therefore our home, is constantly changing. I’m still working to reduce clutter, but also rearrange furniture, put some systems in place that will make life and organization with little ones easier.

We’re in a constant state of getting rid of things and reducing clutter. This year we took 19 bags of knick knacks and unworn clothes. This year I’m going to try something new. I’m going to try to get rid of things as many things as I acquire. If I buy a new shirt I have to get rid of an old one. Or a book, or whatever. One thing in, one thing out. This will, hopefully, help us maintain equilibrium and keep our house free of excess.

This isn’t going to apply to the kids’ stuff. They use stuff differently.

I’m also following along with Apartment Therapy’s January Cure — a month of assignments (emailed daily) designed to help motivate you to whip your home into shape. So far I’ve had to create an outbox and put one thing in it. We already have a giveaway pile, and I have a sequined shirt I haven’t worn in years, so that was easy.

Then in the spring I want to follow “4 weeks to a more organized home” at Moneysavingmom.com.


This is just one of the million organization “plans” out there. (Check Pinterest. Be overwhelmed.) I’m going to follow the plans to the extent that I have time, energy, and make sense for my family.

I haven’t read ahead, but I’m hoping at least one of the plan has something about cleaning seven months of errant spit up off your hardwood, and creating a place to hide a big bag of Cheetos that your toddler won’t find.

On our goal-setting date night, Tom and I also made a list of some daily chores we need to do each night; simple things like cleaning up after ourselves, making sure the table is clear, the dishes are all in the sink. On January 1, before we went to bed, Tom and I dutifully walked around the house and made good on our goal.

Then we spent January 2 dealing with a high fever, a cough, a double ear infection and RSV. Tonight the only thing I’m worried about is making sure the Amoxicillin gets put back in the fridge.

That’s my favorite thing about maintaining status quo. I can still sit on the couch, drink a glass of wine and write this post despite the mess around me.

It’s 2014. Time to get ambitious, y’all.


  1. karen January 3, 2014

    Baby steps, as Flylady says. Once you start giving your extras away it becomes fun, truly. Keep in mind the people yet unknown who will love your “stuff.” You can start out giving your stuff away to the well-known spots, like Goodwill or Salvation Army but down the road you can find thrift stores you love to give to, like Thrifty Quaker or Mountain Movers Ministry, both in Midlo. I’ve had folks connected to freecycle.org meet me in the gallery after church to collect unneeded baking tins from my mom’s house. You’ll run into folks who turn out to be artists who can use your old acrylic paint from the 90’s, or occupational therapists like me who can use torn t-shirts to make exercise bands for students with autism. It just keeps on getting better.

  2. Jenny Ramsey January 3, 2014

    I love you. That’s all.

  3. Candace January 3, 2014

    I like your ambition for the year, y’all! Also, one of *my* goals is to run the Monument Avenue 10k, since Winston now has family in Richmond who likes to run. Maybe we will see each other on race day!

  4. jennylynn January 3, 2014

    I remember before I had kids, I would think about my New Year’s Resolutions for like two months before and plan and plan and plan (usually about losing weight and eating better). I have been acutely aware of how little energy or interest I have in making resolutions. I keep thinking that must be for people who have more time on their hands πŸ™‚

    I also love Money Saving Mom and Apartment Therapy and I love your goal of getting rid comparably to what you accumulate.

  5. Kristie January 3, 2014

    I am doing the January cure, too. But I’m a day behind because I don’t get the emails until 10pm, so I’ve only made my list so far.

    • amandakrieger January 4, 2014

      I think I got mixed up for the giveaway pile (they call it an outbox). For some reason I didn’t get the email for day one so I went on the blog looking for it. I think I just have come across one from a previous year.

  6. Meredith January 4, 2014

    I have big goals for our house and de cluttering too! And I’m really gonna stick to it. Imagining two kids’ worth of stuff up in here has me scared silly.


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