2013 was the year of change.

Hi my friends! Do you remember me? I haven’t blogged in several weeks (a first for me!) and I’ll admit, it’s a little weird to sit down after a few weeks off and write a post. I feel so rusty. I decided to just enjoy the entire season with my family and not stress over getting posts up (a first in 4 years). It was refreshing.

First order of business… I am on TV today! Yup, I braved my biggest fear and filmed a short segment on the local Austin Time Warner Cable News for a segment called House Proud. The 2 minute segment is about clearing out your clutter and having a garage sale. You can find the video here but you will need to have TWC to view it. If I find an alternative way for the masses to see it I’ll let you know.

With the New Year I am feeling refreshed and hopeful. Every December I seem to become overcome with fatigue and crippling lethargy (I’m thinking it’s the allergies?) but come January I am feeling the spring in my step again. Today I just want to rehash 2013 one last time and then talk about what 2014 has in store for us.

2013 was a very big year for us (hence the December burnout). Ben and I worked our tails off in 2012 and by mid 2013 we had all our debt paid off thanks to Dave Ramsey’s plan. We are officially 100% debt free except for the mortgage. The credit cards are (still) cut up, the cars are paid for. It took a lot of sacrifice and we ate a lot of humble pie, but being debt free has been the most rewarding thing we have ever done.

In addition to the TWC segment airing all day today, I was also blessed to be featured in papers across the US and Canada when the AP ran a story about DIY bedding. In addition to that, I was a guest on Frank Fontana’s radio program talking about DIY disasters. I also got to be a part of Kirkland’s big grand opening event.

I think my most favorite project of 2013 was the kids’ bathroom makeover in our previous house.

This project was a lot of work, but the results turned out beautifully. I’m sad we only enjoyed the bathroom for a few months before we moved to our new home.

In May we moved to our new home.

It was more of an adjustment for me than I assumed it would be. We always wanted to move further out from the city, but when push came to shove I was not quite as ready as I thought I was. It has been a long road, but I’m happy to say that I love living in our new home. We’ve been here 8 months and I already feel very settled. The house needs a lot of work, but I feel very at home in this new community, in this quiet country, and in our slower paced life. Life is good.

So, what have we done to this new house? Mainly I’ve been busy just trying to make it feel like a new builder-grade home. We painted all the baseboards and trim before we moved in:

Replaced the carpet:

Changed out all the shower heads and spruced up the bathrooms enough to actually feel comfortable using them:

The kids rooms got painted:

{before}

I’ve been trying to swap out all the switches and plug outlets in the house. It’s slow going because I have to shut off the power to do it, but it’s going:

We added some outdoor mood lighting thanks to True Value Hardware:

I’ve been busy painting all the doors in our house black. And I LOVE them!

The cabinet above the toilet was too big, so I crafted a unique way to remove the heavy cabinet by myself:

All the showers received some much needed storage solutions:

We had some fun this summer cleaning up the backyard and demoing an old table:

Ben turned his neon green office into an at-home office and workout room. He’s still on the hunt for a well priced professional grade treadmill. Any suggestions?

One of my words for 2014 is Simplify (I’ll touch on this more in a minute). I’ve been busy getting rid of as much crap as possible. Less is more, and I want less crap.

We are loving our new door knobs. Only a few more doors need to be painted black before I can install the final few door knobs and call this upgrade done.

The family room is coming together thanks to removing the blinds and adding a fresh coat of much needed paint.

I even shared a few recipes this year. My goal for 2014 is to share at least 6 new recipes (every other month).

And on the crafting home front, I made some artwork for a friend:

What does 2014 have in store?

Well, as I mentioned above, one of my words for 2014 is Simplify. I have become obsessed with reading blogs dedicated to minimalism. My favorite is called Becoming Minimalism. This blog inspires me to spend less money and own less stuff. His Weekend Reads are my favorite, full out outgoing links to other great blogs and articles about living with less. It’s not about being a cheap-wad and never spending money. It’s just about simplifying your life, getting rid of all the extra baggage, and living life to the fullest. It’s okay to spend your money, but spend it on things that add value to your life, not on things that clutter your life and steal your time.

This post is long enough already, so I’ll touch on my other 2014 goals in another post. Now that the holidays are behind us I plan on getting back on my regular posting schedule of every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a few additional days randomly here or there. Here’s to a year of simplifying, organizing, and being the best selves we can be.


     
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Comments

  1. I have also been on a journey to simplify my life and home and have found the Becoming Minimalist blog a great inspiration. Good luck!

  2. welcome back to blogging, Alison! Looking forward to reading your simplifying posts – doing some of that myself! :)

  3. Glad you were able to enjoy spending time with your family during your blog break! And am glad to hear that you are feeling more settled being in your “new” home. I never did get an invite to the big pool bash!

  4. Welcome back! I am excited to read about your journey on simplifying. I think I am heading in that direction as well this year. I am sure I will need inspiration and tips along the way.

  5. So glad you are back! I have missed your post and was hoping you weren’t giving it up! Can’t wait to read more this year!

  6. I just had to come back and say thank you for the website recommendation. After I read your post I decided to head over to the minimalist site just to see what it was about. Can I say I feel like my life has changed in less than 24 hours. What a fantastic site. I thought my new resolution/theme for 2014 was all about organization. But I feel like it is minimalism now. In fact, I woke up this morning and started getting rid of stuff right away. It is addicting!

  7. I’ve been saying for a long time that our clutter is robbing us of our mental energy. I finally convinced my husband to clean out/organize our storage area last week. WOW! Was I in shock! I can’t believe how much unnecessary “stuff” we had down there that moved with us to our new home 3 1/2 years ago! My husband still thinks that “it’s a storage area–let’s fill it with more stuff!”, while I am thinking, “Look at all this extra space! Let’s see if it can remain uncluttered!” I’m with you, Alison: Here’s to a year of simplifying, organizing, and being the best selves we can be.

  8. Sarah Jean Baker says:

    Love the minimalism blog you mentioned. I started reading minimalism blogs a two year ago and it really started to change my perspective and actions. I’ve been trying to get my parents hooked on it, as they have a basement full of stuff for “someday”. After my dad lost his father this summer and was left to clean out their apartment and move his mother, my grandma, into an assisted living home where she only has a bed, a closet, and one dresser he has really begun to look at “stuff” in a whole new way. This year for Christmas we gave our three boys one gift to unwrap, since we went to MN for the holiday. We told our boys all along that we were spending our money on airline tickets to MN. And the hubby and I didn’t exchange gifts, instead we finished building cabinets under our wall of shelves. It was great! I’d love to continue to hear more about how minimalism is affecting your family and home. It’s definitely a process!

  9. Well, hello stranger!!!!

    I’ve missed you, but, glad you took some time off and enjoyed being with your family!!!

    My new word for 2014 is “Better.” I’m not a healthy person, but, I want to do things better. When I start a project, even though I may get weak or tired, I don’t want to leave it. I want to do a little every day until it’s completed. I want to cook better. Since I turned diabetic 43 yrs ago at age 9, I have a hate relationship with food. So, this year I want to try new recipes on the family, etc.

    So, I’m looking forward to new things this year!!!! And yes, I’m with you on simplifying ones life.

    Enjoy the rest of the week!!!

    Pam

  10. I am still struggling what to trash, donate or sell. I feel like these decisions slow me down in the road to de-cluttering and simplifying. I need to wait for the warmer weather to arrive before I have a yard sale. How do you make these decisions? And how do you find trustworthy donation locations?

  11. You did have a crazy 2013! Congrats on all those awesome features! And going debt-free!

  12. Looks like we have the same 2014 goal. I am well on my way to ridding my home of what no longer serves me and my family. Just donated another huge load of stuff today including drapes that were still in the original packaging, never used. Soft home furnishings are my weakness but I realized I have to be thoughtful about what I am bringing in my home from now on. I too am embracing minimalism and highly recommend UntitledMinimalism.com. The podcasts are terrific! I will check out the one you like as well. I hope you will stop by and check out my journey thus far and I will keep checking back to see how you are doing. Good luck!

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