Hello sweet readers! It’s only been a few weeks since my last post; but boy, it feels like forever since I’ve popped in. I am genuinely loving spending all my free time snuggling our sweet Samuel, but I also miss being around here regularly. It’s definitely going to take me some time to find a new blogging groove (ummm…it took me a week to get this post pulled together, lol!) but my projects and posts urge is already starting to grow restless! Before I get back to my usual style posts around here though, I wanted to share the results of my 2016 Reader Survey and also share some thoughts about the year to come! Let’s get to it!
First and foremost, I want to thank all of you who took the time to take my survey and share some truly invaluable feedback and insights. As I predicted, you guys have some awesome ideas and suggestions for new content here on THIHM, and while I sit and nurse (and nurse and nurse!) throughout the day (and night!), you better bet my head is overflowing with ideas. One thing I wasn’t quite predicting, however, was how much on the same page we all are! So many of you are asking for the same types of posts, projects and content, and they all perfectly align with where my heart and home are right now. More than any other survey or personal post, the results of this year’s reader survey really affirmed some of the changes I’ve been wanting to make around here, and I am super excited to start implementing them right away. For those of you who love the data, I’ll get to the graphs in a bit. First, let me chat about some major themes in this year’s results!
More Organization and DIY Content
More than any other types of posts, you guys love and (mostly) come around here for my organizational and DIY solutions. This is great news because those are my favorite types of projects to do and posts to write. I will admit however, that in the last few months, I’ve strayed a bit from this niche as I tried to work in various other topics, keep up with other bloggers, and meet my free-lance obligations. This slight shift (or rather, loss in focus) isn’t only evident on the blog, but also in our home. Since moving in here last July, I’ve spent a lot more time at my computer than working on actual projects around the house…and as such, our house still feels so bland, boring and soooo not us. I am literally chomping at the bit to get to work on this house, although it will be slow going at first with newborn in tow. I’m done moping about all the brown walls (and cabinets and carpet) and awkward spaces and am ready to do what I do best: make this house our home. First on the docket is our entryway, and I can’t wait for you to see what I’m doing!
Garages, Closets, Offices, and Paperwork
I literally had to chuckle as I read what spaces you all need help with, because SO many of you brought up the exact same areas we need to focus on in our home: the garage, our closets, the office, and paperwork. Oh friends…this is going to be the year you hear me talk about STUFF…a lot. Because honestly, I am exhausted and overwhelmed by how my stuff we have accumulated as a result of both our frequent moves and the blog…and I am ready to get rid of so much of it. I am going to air all our “dirty laundry” here on the blog, as I show you our biggest trouble areas (oh friends – wait.until.you.see.our.garage!!! #embrassed) and we are going to tackle these major problem areas together. For those of you who asked for toy and craft organization, don’t fret. Those projects are coming down the pike too. A new baby right after Christmas means that we are still living in total toy chaos, and I am dying to get it under control!
Posts/Projects are Too Long & Complicated
This is one where the responses really opened my eyes: so many of you suggested that my posts tend to run too long and my projects tend to be too complicated. At first, I was a bit offended (“don’t they know I am just being thorough!”) but then I realized a few things. Namely, you all are busy. Not only do you not have the time to read epic blog posts several times a week, but you also don’t have the time to take on a ton of big, complex projects. And if I’m being completely honest, I don’t have the time either. My posts can be long and tedious to complete, and putting the posts together often takes me hours and hours…of which I don’t have in abundance right now. As I read through all the comments even more though, it’s not that you don’t necessarily want creative projects or detailed step-by-steps…you just need them to a be a bit more doable and digestible. You want to be able to see the concept and how it’s done in short order and be able to complete it relatively quickly and easily in your own home…and I love that. We are all looking for quick and easy solutions to make our homes look and function better, and I am in a season of my life where small, short, easy and doable are about all I can fit in too. So thank you for this suggestion (from SO many of you!) and for the push to share quicker, smaller tips without feeling pressure to put together huge posts every time!
Another heavily recurring theme is that you guys want more. More posts, more ideas, more of me. Gulp. When I first saw this I panicked a bit because…well…#newborn. But this sentiment also came hand-in-hand with the above theme of less complexity. Many of you urged me to not hold off or “save up” projects and ideas for a big reveal, but rather pop in more frequently with smaller, shorter tips and personal/home updates. It is admittedly going to take me a while to work back up to 3 posts/week again, but knowing that the pressure is off to share big, pin-worthy projects every time will certainly make it easier. I’m beyond flattered that you guys want me to post more, but I also want to be true to my goal for the year which is more authenticity here on the blog and more balance in my life and home (more on this next). For now, I am aiming to pop in weekly (look for new posts here on Tuesdays) and will add more as our life settles down and I feel ready.
My 2017 Word of the Year: Real
At the end of 2015, I decided I was going to hustle to grow my blog in terms of both readership and income. And hustle and grow I did. I worked hard to create content, build relationships, have a presence on social media, grow an email list, and launch a printable shop. But it all came at a cost. The blog, and all associated projects, pictures, and tasks, did bring me a lot of pride and fulfillment, but also a ton of stress, tears, frustrations and sleepless nights. I never started this blog to be a 6-figure business/income, but rather to be a creative outlet where I could share my ideas and solutions for making each house a home. In my efforts to grow and expand and appeal to more people, I feel like I lost sight of that original purpose and instead fell down a black hole of endless tasks and unhealthy comparisons. Toward the end of 2016, I hit a creative wall and felt myself resenting the blog and everything I built. As I hinted at in this post, I was feeling so overwhelmed by the amount of content and ideas out there on blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram, and the pressure to fit in and keep up was literally stifling me.
My Christmas/maternity break couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve had a lot of time to sit and reflect over the last couple weeks away. Reflect on our family life and how I want it to be and feel. Reflect on our home and how I want it to look and function. And reflect on this blog and what I want it to be…for me and for you. It’s been good to take a step back and so healthy for me to re-gain some perspective. I’ve realized I don’t want to play the blog “game” anymore. I am tired of perfectly curated Instagram feeds and over-the-top room makeovers designed just for blog hits and Facebook features. I’m tired of trying to keep up with a varied social media schedule, perfectly crafted posts, and creating projects I don’t want to do. And I am so tired of feeling like I can’t keep up with everyone else, loosing a race I just don’t feel like running. I am ready to get back to why I started this blog in the first place: to share our ideas and our solutions…our homes…and our life. I want to get back to real life. I want to get back to doing projects because we want/need them in our home not because they will bring me great traffic. I want to spend more time creating pretty things around our home instead of sitting at the computer trapped by Facebook scheduling and pin analytics. I want to post a photo to Instagram without worrying if it “matches my branding.” I want this virtual space…what I create…what I share…and the reasons I do it all…to be REAL.
And do you want to know the best part? You all are on my side. More than any other suggestion, criticism, request, or compliment, so many of you told me to relax and just be me. To stop trying to keep up and instead focus on the things I want to do and that feel right for our family, home and blog. With each survey response I read, this unsettled feeling that has been festering inside me for months felt so validated. Thanks to your input and support, I am ready to find the joy in blogging again…and that alone has me pretty excited about 2017!
Oh gosh – I know you guys said you wanted me to be shorter in my posts yet here I am writing a novel again. #imtrying But I wanted to include these graphs and a few more insights for anyone who was curious about the results!
NOTE – I’ve been wanting to truncate my posts for a long time now but was always a bit nervous to do it. These results combined with several of you mentioning how tedious it was to scroll through all the content finally pushed me to truncate all but my most recent post. When you visit the blog directly, the most recent post will appear in full with all other posts having a “Click to Continue Reading” option. Hopefully this is a good balance for those that don’t like truncated posts 🙂
NOTE – Heard loud and clear. More organization content is coming!
NOTE – This is so interesting to me because four of my Cricut posts are my very TOP posts for the entire 2016! I certainly appreciate that if you are not a Cricut owner/user/lover, these posts don’t appeal to you. That said, I have also received a ton of feedback from readers that these tutorials are incredibly helpful. I am not going to force these tutorials into a regular/monthly series but will continue to post tips/tricks as the occur to me.
NOTE – The Toolbox is going to get a mini update and a new password this week. If you want to be able to continue to access my free printables (which I plan to keep rolling out on a periodic basis), make sure you’re on my mailing list to get the new password! (You can sign up at the bottom of this post).
NOTE – I haven’t set a ton of goals for this coming year (besides “real” guiding all my choices), but I do want to use my newsletter more (because let’s be honest, I’m paying an arm and a leg for the service 😉 Starting this Friday, I am planning on mailing out a weekly Organization Quick Tip with related/relevant blog posts. For those who want more of me and my ideas, here is your chance! You can subscribe at the bottom of this post.
So I know many of you are dying for a Samuel update and pictures and I am dying to share them with you. Next Tuesday I’ll be back with lots of pictures of his sweet chubby cheeks and an update on how life with a baby (again) is going! Until then, have a great week, friends!