Home frugal living/saving money Organize Your Life After the Holidays!

Organize Your Life After the Holidays!

by Kelly Crawford

It’s no coincidence that the approach of a new year finds us making resolutions, new goals and priorities. There is just something so motivating about coming out of December–with all the stress behind you…but the mess still with you. You’re still suffering from a sugar high and you know this is the time to move toward health again. The house has taken the back burner to your overbooked calendar and now it begs your attention. You notice that the lack of routine and schedule has your kids a little out of whack and you’re eager to return to normalcy. Perhaps your spiritual food has been displaced with holiday food. Your finances need an overhaul too.

And you’re up for the challenge. So before I go tackle my ginormous to-do list, I thought I’d offer you the same encouragement and tips I’m trying to give myself (some of these came from my husband):

Regarding the house:

  • Drink your coffee first (unless you’re trying to give it up, in which case, I have no idea how to encourage you there.)
  • Tackle one room or area at a time. THIS is a hard one. You know the routine. You pick up an item from the kitchen and take it where it belongs and alas, that room is a disaster too, so you busily begin cleaning there. Resist the urge. My husband suggested that I take the stray item to the room it belongs and wait to put it up until I get to that room. Another tip is to have a box for stray items and just place them in that as you go through a room.
  • Create a place for everything. If you can’t do that, toss it. Resist the urge to pine over each item, painfully imagining how and when you will use it. Once you toss it, you’ll feel much better, and you won’t miss the item. (Tip: Ask yourself, “Do I love it or do I need it?” If you answer “no” to either, it’s history.)
  • If you have children, delegate. But be specific, because it is overwhelming to them too. Let the littlest ones be your “go-fers” taking trash and stray objects to their place. Give one a trash bag and make it their job to collect all the trash, or a basket to collect stray items, etc. Let them help you tackle the one room. Make it a race. Set a timer.
  • Purge, purge like never before. This is the time to get rid of things you know just take up space. I try to remind myself that as soon as I toss it, I won’t remember it anymore.
  • If you homeschool…give yourself a “reorganizing vacation”. Don’t feel the pressure to rush back to school until you’ve gotten everything under control. School time will be far more productive and pleasant if you’ll allow yourself that time. If you still feel pressure, maintain your daily reading and wait on the more stressful subjects.
  • Study to get some great crock pot recipes and use it about twice a week.

Regarding your health:

  • Last year I wrote, “Easy Health for Busy Moms” and I find it encouraging myself, even as I go back for a refresher. Great information and motivation in there to get your new year off to a good start.
  • Change in baby steps. Add an extra glass of water to your diet (maybe switching at meal time).
  • Find a good, whole-food multi-vitamin. I like “Alive”. Research on-line and ask around. Getting the proper nutrition is important to having the energy to accomplish all we must do in a day!
  • Find some kind of exercise you will do. More than ever, at my “older” age, I’m realizing how important it is to exercise. Rebounding (jumping on a mini-tramp is an excellent, cold-weather exercise.) Not only does exercise do the obvious for your health, but it improves your mood and sense of well-being (by releasing endorphins). Who of us couldn’t use that?
  • Just adding fruits, nuts and vegetables to your current diet is a great step. Make a glass of fruit juice or vitamin-enriched drink part of your morning routine.

Regarding your finances:

  • Despite how painful it can be, a written budget is really the only way to stay on top of finances. We have found too, that the more variable your income, the more important it is to write out a yearly budget. For us, the bulk of our income comes in the summer. So unless we plan to spread it out over the year, we find ourselves lacking in the winter months. Dave Ramsey has the best resources I know of and I would encourage you to check out The Total Money Makeover–it was a life-changing book for us…truly.
  • Actually use your budget 😉 Ramsey suggests the practical method of an envelope system. Whatever you have allotted for a certain category (food, clothing, entertainment), spend that and no more.
  • Start a change jar. This is a very simple, painless way to save a little extra money for a rainy day. We’ve done this for years–sticking our spare change in a jar, and it adds up in a hurry. Think of something to save for and write it on the jar and get everybody involved!
  • Learn to sell on eBay or Amazon. With a little forethought, extra cash throughout the year can be earned by selling items around the house. You could designate a specific savings goal for your eBay selling.
  • Read our book, Finding Financial Freedom to see how we paid off $38,000 in consumer debt in five years, making less than $60K any year.

Regarding your spiritual life:

  • Make a sermon part of your day. Or at least, every few days. With the convenience of Sermon Audio and similar sites, getting spiritually fed has never been easier. A few of my favorites: Voddie Baucham, John Piper, David Platt, Paul Washer, Ravi Zacharias, Alistair Begg, Joe Morecraft, Mark Driscoll…to name a few.
  • Make Bible reading a priority. Even if you don’t get up early enough for quiet time, gathering the children around to read a portion of Scripture daily is not only a great spiritual benefit, but it paves the groundwork for habits in their own lives for years to come.

Other random tips:

  • Commit to reading a spiritually-challenging book once a month.
  • Make a list of character traits you would like to improve, and begin praying, being deliberate and working toward those. (For me, cultivating a gentle spirit is at the top of my list.)
  • Engage your children in more thoughtful discussion. Remind yourself that discussion is a primary means of education–and it can happen anywhere!
  • Determine to be a blessing to your husband. So often this gets overlooked. But it should be a priority!!!! A family where the husband and wife are a team, where they cultivate friendship–that’s a family that will thrive. Just a sincere word of gratitude can go a long way toward being a “crown” to your husband.  Make him laugh, smile at him and just focus on being pleasant. You are the one person given to him to be his cheerleader. Encourage his strengths, and do not focus on his weaknesses. (It helps me, when I tend to want to dwell on his weaknesses, to redirect my thoughts to my own weaknesses. Wow. Changes perspective quickly.)
  • Add laughter. This has been on my mind a lot lately. Life can really squelch out the fun if we let it. Adding a bit of laughter can change the quality of everyone’s life! Find something to laugh about…make jokes with each other, smile at your children’s antics. Nothing is so important that it has to squash our joy!

Praying the Lord would bless our homes this year as we endeavor to make them places where people thrive in the joy and comfort of our Father.

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Jennifer December 28, 2009 - 12:04 pm

This is off-topic, but I LOVE your skirt!

Word Warrior December 28, 2009 - 12:06 pm


Ha! I wish I could take credit, but it’s not me 😉 I do, however, have a very similar skirt.

Jennifer December 28, 2009 - 12:08 pm

Ah, now I see that I’m looking closer. I need to broaden my own wardrobe just a tad. On topic, though, these are excellent tips; thanks!

Kim M December 28, 2009 - 2:48 pm

Girlfriend, when in the world did you find the time to write such a wonderful, organized blog post?!!! I am in awe. Thank you for the tips I needed so desperately.

shanie December 28, 2009 - 2:58 pm

forced myself into starting a kitchen re-organization last night, since i got so many kitchen goodies for christmas… and i’m really glad i did. i actually had fun organizing!!! a little music, a cup of cocoa by my side, some comfy pjs… it was kinda like having productive ‘me time.’ i realize that it’s a bit more chaotic (a bit?!?!?!? you’re thinking…) when you have kids around, but i’ve always found that organizing and cleaning really is one of the best ways to make yourself feel good. i can’t control the chaos of the world around me, but i am mistress of my cabinets, darn it!!! 😉

the cottage child December 28, 2009 - 3:20 pm

The purge/edit part is my biggest flaw and my clients best friend – I can do it at other people’s houses, no problem(I include a purge session as part of a design project for folks who don’t have the heart or the time), and only once has someone commented that I went too far. And even they weren’t mad, just surprised at the depths to which I would go to separate them from their unneeded stuff. But me, I need someone to come do MY piles of the unnecessary….I might need that heart-shaped waffle maker someday, even if does still have the sticker on it from the store, where it was purchased 13 years ago, as a wedding shower gift for me and non-waffle eating husband. Really I might. Help.

Word Warrior December 28, 2009 - 3:47 pm

Cottage Child,

Feeling your pain…deeply. It’s a lot easier to tell someone else. But what about my big box (make that 2) of empty salsa jars (they’re really cute and round and smallish) with matching lids that I purchased off Ebay 8 years ago to make candles? As soon as I toss them I am sure to need 58 jars, I just know it.

brandy December 28, 2009 - 4:20 pm

Good thing I just read this. I was just pondering one of those flaws and was about to open my big mouth. 😀 I’ll sit here and think about all of mine instead. 🙂

brandy December 28, 2009 - 4:21 pm

oh yeah, one of my big resolutions this year is “Let it go.” That’s going to be my 2010 motto.

Angela December 28, 2009 - 4:37 pm

Hello Kelly, Years ago I would pray regularly that I would have a gentle and quiet spirit, however I have allowed some negative characteristics to replace it. I have prayed today for you and myself for that gentle spirit to grow more within us. Thanks for the reminder. Blessings,Angela

Word Warrior December 28, 2009 - 4:43 pm

Kim M.,

*grin* Maybe it has something to do with being much better at *telling* than doing. Kind of like the motto, “Those who can’t, teach”? (Not intended to offend.)

Mandi December 28, 2009 - 4:53 pm

Maybe some of y’all already do this, but limiting your kids clothes to 3 seasonal outfits per kid, plus a fancy outfit.

If you organize the clothes not being worn into marked containers (assuming you decide not to take them to goodwill), you could have free “shopping” days where you bring the kids to the basement or wherever to choose 3 “new” outfits to wear in exchange for their old ones.

I think the Duggar book mentions having a family closet or clothes room/area. Do NOT put your family’s clothes in YOUR bedroom! What was I thinking!?! Aaaah! What a disaster!

I have not successfully implemented this yet. 🙂 This year?!? Oh, and this probably only works if you don’t sort your laundry. I *gasp* do not…most days. 🙂

Civilla December 28, 2009 - 8:36 pm

Back when we were a military family, we were motivated to get rid of stuff, because we moved a lot and had a weight allowance for how much stuff we could take with us. Now, however, it is a different story and I’ve turned into a pack-rat!

elizabeth December 28, 2009 - 9:59 pm

Awesome thoughts Kelly, all of which I need to work on!

Linda December 28, 2009 - 10:08 pm

A friend of mine transplants off-shoots from her beautiful houseplants into salsa jars. Sometimes she gives them away (Christmas next year?). She makes a band to go around the top of the jar out of wire and electrician’s little nut shaped things and attaches small chain to it for hanging. So cute!

When you clean out your closet, I am hearing about ladies hosting a “Party” where everyone brings the closet cuties that they don’t want anymore (clothes, purses, jewelry and other accessories) and just “shop” from eachother’s pile. Kind of a fun way to get together and recycle. The leftovers can go to the thrift shop. 🙂

Word Warrior December 28, 2009 - 11:36 pm


Oooooh…a recycle party! I suggested this to a friend once, that we needed to get together and trade toys before Christmas. I feel like toys go through our house like a revolving door. We’ve already bagged up some from Christmas–already not working right, or whatever other reason.

Kelly L December 29, 2009 - 10:42 am

Thanks for the great tips! I am pretty organized and purge frequently (I have had to re-buy stuff I got rid of because I ended up needing it)but my house and my health have been swept aside this season due to visitors and a lingering sickness. To start the cleaning!!! WHooohooo!

wannabegodly December 29, 2009 - 1:47 pm

I was amazed to discover your blog (even after Dena Johnson had told me about you) and then to “happen” upon this particular blog just when I’ve been thinking all the same things about which you wrote. Thanks for the encouragement to actually put into action that which has been merely thought.

Tina December 29, 2009 - 3:06 pm

Thank you for the wonderful post. I especially loved the reminder that it’s okay to take a homeschooling break to reorganize so that it’ll be easier to focus on learning when not distracted by the clutter. (Guess this means I should get up from the computer and go attack the clutter on my desk?!?) 😉
Thanks so much. I love your blog and all the encouragement and thought provoking posts.
In His love,

Jill F. December 29, 2009 - 4:52 pm

On the Quiverfull blog many years ago there was an articulate poster with many children who would sign her post with “taking dominion one closet at a time” or “taking dominion one load of laundry at a time”….and I loved it! It certainly puts our organizing into perspective because we are taking up the God-given authority we have and making decisions and taking dominion over our “Eden”!

A Dusty Frame » Blog Archive » From Outside the Frame January 8, 2010 - 6:49 am

[…] Great ideas for organizing your life after the holidays. […]

Pam January 9, 2010 - 1:25 pm

#1 Found you thru Dusty Frame
#2 I purpose to compliment someone every day…
when checking out at a grocery store…tell the clerk “What pretty earrings….or you have
a great smile….or what a beautiful name (on their name tag”…it almost never fails to get a smile and a thank you!
#3 Every day I clean/organize something in our home….sometimes it’s just a drawer or closet, sometimes it’s an entire room….just depends on how much time I have….that way I don’t feel pressured to “GET IT ALL DONE” at once.God Bless, Pam, South Bend

Rhonda Devine January 12, 2010 - 4:25 pm

Love this post~lots of great advice!

Resolved to be » Blog Archive » A few challenging posts for the week. July 17, 2010 - 10:24 am

[…] Generation Cedar’s post on Organizing Your Life. […]

Stephanie January 3, 2012 - 11:09 pm

I particularly appreciate and have mastered tip #1 =) My tip – Teach your eldest child (age is insignificant) to include brewing coffee as part of their pre-breakfast routine.

Word Warrior January 3, 2012 - 11:13 pm

Steph–Like, like, like! And have done 😉 Mostly.

Jennifer January 4, 2012 - 10:20 am


Regarding selling things on ebay and Amazon, in Tuscaloosa, we have a facebook group where 6,000 people are members and buy and sell to each other. You can sell anything, no matter how small, without any fees. It has become a second job to me 🙂 and I am able to make significant amounts of money selling items we no longer need and I was able to purchase most of our children’s Christmas off of it too, aiding in the financial portion of this post. 🙂 Others might look into setting up such groups in their areas.

Leah January 4, 2012 - 5:25 pm

Great encouragement, thank you – doing lots of it this week but am feeling SOOO tired and needed a boost found in these wise words! Bless you!

ahmed ghali January 5, 2012 - 3:43 pm

i want a wife very beautiful and have a big tits big boobs “cal me tel 00201015550710 00201283142470 thank you

Tips to Organize Your Life after the Holidays November 20, 2013 - 2:06 pm

[…] organized for the new year. January is a nice time to re-examine your budget and determine how you’re going to manage […]

Brandy January 25, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Thanks for this post! I recently bought a mini trampoline and I was wondering what you do on it. Is jumping up and down good enough or do you ever do some of the other exercises I find when I google rebounding. Am I supposed to worry about tightening things up? Any starter info would be great. Thanks!


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