What worked for me in 2015.

What worked for me in 2015.

I love to do a little bit of reflection at year’s end, but I don’t make it complicated. Around my house we use two questions to help us take stock of the year gone by.

They are:

  1. What worked for me last year?
  2. What didn’t?

Today I’m sharing a few of the things (from significant to shallow) that worked for me in 2015. (I’ll share my list of what didn’t work in the newsletter, same as last year. Sign up here if you’re not on the list.)

post it notes office

1. Post-it notes. I’m a visual planner: I work best when I can see things. A white board is good, but this is better for organizing ideas. I spent $15 on a ridiculous number of post-it pads at Costco, committed myself to not hoarding them, and have been sticking them all over my office wall to track, sort, and sift my jottings.

dish towels

2. Kitchen towels. I loved Gabrielle Blair’s new-in-2015 book Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide. She says new dishtowels have a way of making the whole kitchen feel fresh and new. I took her tip to heart and started replacing my grungy old kitchen towels with cute new ones. Blair’s favorite places to get affordable, cute dishtowels are Etsy and World Market.

3. Tidying up. We thought we decluttered before we moved, but Marie Kondo convinced me we weren’t taking it seriously. This book was an exactly kick in the pants. We got rid of so much stuff in 2015, and that’s a good thing.

sofa 2

4. A little bit of hand holding. We moved in May 2014, and I was committed from the beginning to acting like we actually live here. I’ve learned from experience that if I wait until I feel “ready” to paint, or hang curtains, or nail up some art, it’s never going to happen. I signed up for the Nester’s short Cozy Minimalist ecourse to give me both a nudge and some needed guidance. Highly recommended.

5. Human maintenance. I have an old sports injury + a chronic case of too-much-typing disease, and this year I tried hard to do the things I know I need to do to take care of myself. When I do my stretches, use my resistance bands, and work my Thera Cane I feel so much better. Better enough that I actually remembered to do it, most of the time.

coffee, introverts, and extroverts

6. Decaf, all the way. I would like to start by saying this is SO SAD. But my caffeine tolerance is gone. I can reluctantly see that I feel a million times better when I lay off the caffeine.

tieks on the tracks

7. Great shoes. My gold glitter flats (the ones that worked for me in 2014) bit the dust early this year, and Will and Sarah had to stage an intervention to get me to trash them. I finally settled on these as a replacement. The price makes me cringe, but shoes are something I splurge on. Besides, I will wear my two pairs (in tangerine and starstruck) 300 out of 365 days this year, easy—including ten days walking 10 miles a day in NYC.

8. Kindergarten. We’ve been homeschooling for the past five years, but for reasons that make sense on paper but were largely intuitive, we enrolled Silas in “school school” this year. He’s attending a wonderful half-day kindergarten program in our neighborhood, and he is in heaven. He’s the youngest of four and my personal theory is he’s delighted to be in a world that revolves around five-year-olds (as opposed to his older siblings), at least for twenty hours each week. The carpool line is also totally working for me.

stitch fix september 2015 plus trunk club-4

9. Uniform dressing. I’ve been captivated by this idea for a long time but this summer and fall I started putting it into practice, at least more than I ever have before. This fall so far it’s been a black Everlane turtleneck, dark jeans (Kensie and DL, from Stitch Fix), and Tieks. I’ll switch to boots when it’s too cold for flats. I do mix it up a little bit, but on days when I’m in a rush this is what I reach for every time.

10. The postal service. I love not shopping—or at least, not going shopping, I’ve been a heavy user of the postal service this year. I especially loved using Stitch Fix. Apropos of the above: my profile says something like “send me stuff I can wear every stinking day without it getting old.” (Psst—they’re doing gift cards for Christmas.) Now if Trader Joe’s would only ship my groceries….

11. Rhythm and routine. I’m an INFP and routine doesn’t come easy. This year I’ve deliberate about putting extra time and thought into laying a good foundation for my daily rhythms and routines, and it has made my life so much more pleasant. (Bonus: it has also made life much more enjoyable for my child who craves routine.)

I could talk about this all day. I would LOVE to hear what worked for YOU in 2015, and what didn’t. Tell us about it in comments. 

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  1. Katherine says:

    I just cranked out my own list on an outdated and slow iPad. It is a real testimony to how badly I wanted to write- my iPad is miserable:)
    I love the end of the year reflections!

  2. Mae Lorette says:

    Your website is the best one I’ve ever come across, for me, a reader and creative pantster. Your post on “Planning” hit me in that way things do when you’ve become aware of something and not sure how to go about altering it to allow realization of intentions. I, not knowing exactly why, have recently brought a good Post-it supply. So, for the New Year, blocks of time will assist me in moving forward with my projects. Thank you! And a fulfilling New Year to you! BTW – reading five books at once, one of them: “Presence” Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges” by Amy Cuddy. Revealing…answering questions I’ve always had.

  3. Rebekah Mc says:

    I too cleared a lot of stuff with Marie Kondo.
    I second the turtleneck as part of my uniform.
    Things that worked for me:
    – Batch cooking–I eat the AIP version of paleo, so I cook all my food from scratch. I got really good at chopping up vegetables, using a slow cooker or two, and
    – A one year Bible…I really didn’t want to get behind, so I just kept going.
    – Old Navy dark jeans every day & cutting my own hair
    – Keeping a box at the front door as an “inbox” for newly acquired things that I’m not sure have homes or that bring me joy. Keeps me from having to make decisions about the stuff whenever I’m tired.

    Great post!

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