Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Out With The Old, In With The New

I actually regret making "Out with the old, In with the new" the title of this post. It smacks of America's habit of devaluing old people and prioritizing youthfulness; I'd rather we act more like Asian cultures and respect our elders immensely. "Out with the old" summarizes what I'll be working towards in the next couple months, as I clean and sort my packratty garage and closets. "In with the new" doesn't really apply to me as I'm trying to not shop, budget better, and buy less things. And all year long I try to eat healthy, exercise, etcetera so there isn't anything "new" about my redoubled efforts, post-holiday gluttony, to do these things. So.. onwards to 2013.

Let's strive to have a fabulous 2013! That said, I don't want to always put pressure on myself to "top" last year or put myself in a position where I feel depressed in case this year doesn't turn out as fabulous as the year before. Mostly I think I'm striving for change, improvement, and inviting new things and new people into my life.

May our year ahead be full of good health, quality time with family, fun times with friends, quiet down time at home, travel, trying new things, tasty healthy food, happy pets, new learning experiences, vacations, volunteering, taking advantage of opportunities, crafting, cooking, cozy homes, good books, beautiful music, enjoyable films, and many fun parties and gatherings.

I don't want to just live my life. I want to live a lovely life!


  • Pay bills, mortgage, rent, etc.
  • Look over your calendar for this month. Do you need to make any dentist, doctor, or veterinarian appointments for you, your family members and pets? Any upcoming birthdays or anniversaries you need to plan parties for, send cards or gifts, or order flowers for?
  • Do you need to make any hair care appointments for yourself or family members? If you color your hair, do you have roots showing? Does your hair need a trim, if you didn't have time for one before the holidays?
  • Do your carpets need cleaning after the holidays and busy entertaining season?
  • If you make New Year's Resolutions, make time to think about them, review goals, and begin doing them. Write them down (or post them in your personal blog) so you can review them throughout the year.
  • Buy fresh fruit next time you are at the grocery store (Apples? pears? bananas? melons? oranges?). Slice and serve the fruit to yourself, your family and any housemates before the week is over.
  • Need to update the copyright notices on your webpages or blogs to 2013?
  • Need to upload any pics from your New Year's to Facebook or your blog?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Calendar Updating and Putting Away Christmas Decorations

Alphonse Mucha 2013 Wall Calendar, on Amazon

Today I'm copying over birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates from my old 2012 calendars into my new 2013 ones. Besides noting that it's someone's birthday, I try to add what age they'll turn on that day, whenever possible.

I keep a paper wall calendar in my kitchen, one in my office, and then use the calendar on my smartphone.

Just writing down the birthdays isn't enough. I need to make a conscious effort to check my calendars each month and each week for upcoming birthdays and events. I often forget to just plain look at the week ahead on my calendar. I'm hoping remembering to do this will mean I'll have plenty of time to order flowers, send a gift, send a card, or schedule in some time to make a congratulatory telephone call.

Jubilee Ornament Storage Chests, from The Container Store

Today I'll take down my Christmas decorations. I'll leave up some festive red berry-themed decor and my white church-shaped LED candle I leave on the mantel. I want to remove everything Christmasy but leave some wintry decor. I'll probably leave my outdoor Christmas lights up for a few more nights though - I love to see them when I pull up in the driveway upon returning in the evenings.

Besides taking down my tree (and setting it out on the curb for the local Boy Scouts to remove it) and putting ornaments away, I need to take down garlands, put away my faux poinsettias, clean out candleholders and replace my red candles with white ones. I'll keep out the mini tiny Christmas trees I set on several tables and side tables for decor, but I'll rearrange them and put them in a few different rooms.

I expect this project to take a couple of hours, which leaves me plenty of time to go visiting friends and family today.


  • "Try Something New Week" challenges me every year to be more exploratory, more open minded, step away from my usual activities, foods and routines, and be more adventurous.
  • Every year I try to accomplish something during "Create Something Day." I'm tired of being just a consumer. I want to also be a creator.
  • Along those lines, I make time for enjoyable winter crafting projects. I don't do too many - I know the risks that crafts will lead to just more hoarding and shopping, and creating crafts to gift to people just makes more clutter in their homes too.
  • This month I'm trying to accomplish "A Book a Day" in January. I have a huge pile of work-related books I really need to read, learn from, and then donate, recycle or resell on eBay. I need the knowledge the books contain, but it will also be nice to clear off my overstuffed bookshelves. I read fast, and learn a lot when I take notes, so I do think I can read a book almost every single day this month if I really prioritize. I think I'll have better success if I make reading the book a priority every morning, not leaving it for night when I'm tempted to watch TV or go to bed instead.
  • I'm also repeating a project from last year, "Use it or Lose It" this January. I'll be de-cluttering and getting rid of things I don't actually use: craft supplies, clothing I don't wear, dishes I don't use, cookbooks I haven't made a recipe out of, cooking gadgets I don't use, and food I'm not going to eat or cook with.
  • I don't normally make official New Year's resolutions. But as always, I'm trying to spend less money, eat healthier, watch less TV, drink less alcohol, eat less food that comes in packages or boxes, spend more time with family, be a better foster mother, and exercise more.

LOVELY BLOGS: Kitchen Historic

"A curated selection of receipts of yore, from the humble kitchen of a Canadian lady." This blogger is already busily posting away into the New Year, with her New Year's Day Menu from 1887. I'm really enjoying her posts, where she recreates recipes from archived menus and cooks old-fashioned foods. She modernizes some recipes, which I find helpful, and tags her posts by historic decade so you can easily find recipes from the periods in history you're most interested in. Check out Vanilla Ice Cream with Marshmallows (1931) and Aunt Jemima Party Pancakes (1956).



Eat Healthy, Get Fit and Lose Weight in the New Year (Epicurious)

His & Hers Cocktails (Bake at 350)

I Read a Book a Day for a Year, and You Can Too (Slate)

Napa Cabbage and Udon Miso Soup (CHOW)

Recipes to Relieve a Hangover (CHOW)


Lori said...

What do you do about people who give you gifts you're not sure you'll actually use? I've asked family to please stop giving me cookbooks and I got four more for Christmas. I've said I don't want things that only have one purpose. Last year, I was given a mini cupcake maker, and this year a dog biscuit maker. When the gifters come to my house, they comment on the items they gave me. "Oh, there's the mini cupcake maker I got for you! Isn't it cool?" I don't want to seem ungrateful or offend my family. I've tried to polietely explain why I don't want such things taking up space in my very small home. Do you have any advice?? I'd appreciate any insight!

Carrie said...

I struggle with this too, (relatives give me jewelry but I don't tend to wear any; big decorative items that don't go with my decor, etc).

But I don't think there's any polite way around it. We're supposed to be gracious and thankful for our gifts, and not complain about them. Maybe the way to handle it is about a month before your birthday, or Christmas, if the conversation can be steered to something like: "You know, this year let's not have adults trade presents. Let's just get gifts for the kids. You know, my house is SO small, that I really don't have room for anything, and I'm already blessed with everything I could ever want." Etc?

Lori said...

Thank you for your kind reply! The problem is is that there are no kids. My sister and I are still "the kids". My husband and I do not want kids, and my sister is unmarried (and not likely to have a kid before getting married, although anything can happen). I've tried the whole 'let's not do presents this year, let's just get together for a meal and games' and it did not go over well. I think you're right, the best bet is just to be gracious. I appreciate your impartial input!