A few years ago, I remember lamenting to you guys that holiday home tours just weren’t my thing. Pulling so much stuff out, covering every surface in glitter, and stacking fake wrapped boxes by the tree…just for those “quintessential” blog photos that I thought I “had” to post…always caused me so much stress. As silly as it sounds, the pressure I felt to make our home just like all the beautiful homes I saw on my favorite blogs and across my Instagram feed was wearing me down and zapped so much of my joy and love of decorating for this magical season. Can I be honest? It was getting to the point that I didn’t even want to decorate for Christmas at all!
It was then that one of you…my oh-so-smart and perceptive readers…said “Megan, just do you. There are plenty of other blogs to get holiday home inspiration from. If you don’t feel like posting holiday decor, then don’t!” That really struck a chord with me; and for the past few years, I haven’t really posted our holiday home here on the blog and have instead focused my December efforts on the New Year just around the corner.
But this year…I want to share our holiday home with you. Not because it’s overly inspiring like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens or it’s jam packed with useful or clever ideas. But rather…because it’s real…it’s normal…and for some strange reason, it feels so reflective of my year as a whole. I figured there was no better way to close out a great year than with a glimpse at our simple holiday home and some reflections along the way! Join me!
This was the year that, both at home and here on the blog, I cut away all the noise…all those “shoulds” and “musts” and “have to dos”…and focused in hard on what felt right and true and real. In our home, that meant I stopped filling our shelves with the same plants and books and figurines every other blogger has and opted to post photos of empty shelves instead. I stopped rushing makeovers for the sake of blog content, and waited for rooms to evolve (or not evolve!) naturally. Why? Because the clutter, no matter how stylish it was, bothered me. Decorating for the sake of deadlines bothered me. And having a home full of stuff that looked good but I didn’t love…bothered me. I’ve always wanted this blog to inspire but not at the cost of practicality or feasibility.
Admittedly, I’m not sure if it was out of exhaustion or exasperation, but this year I finally chose to get real and shed what I consider the “blogger’s facade.” I embraced real-life decorating, ruthlessly purged all those things I thought I had to have but never loved, and challenged myself to make decisions based on our real life wants and needs and not blog content. Makeovers have been slow, but the progress has been good. Our home…even in this house that I have never really loved…has never felt more right.
Can I be honest? This one is a picture from 2 years ago. I didn’t re-snap a photo because I literally re-created this exact wreath this year. The benefit of documenting everything is that you can easily repeat something you love!
Last week, I shared with my email subscribers that this year was a big one for me from a blogging perspective too. After years of struggling with comparison and losing my footing at every turn, I decided at the beginning of this year to put blinders on (aka…stop looking at what everyone else is doing), cut away the stressful and unenjoyable tasks of blogging (aka…stop doing the time-sucking tasks I hate even if I’m “supposed” to do them), and focus instead on writing and creating and producing what resonated with me and would be helpful or inspiring to you.
The result, not surprisingly, has been my best and most fulfilling year of blogging ever. For the first time in 7+ years of writing and sharing here, I’m not limping into the New Year beaten down by unrealized dreams and defeated by slow growth. Instead, I am certainly tired from a full, gratifying year but still sprinting toward the New Year excited, ready and optimistic about everything I want to create and share with you in 2019! That shift is felt deep inside me, and it’s staggering.
A huge part of this year was the launch of The Organization Toolbox. Without a doubt, this is one of my proudest blogging achievements ever…and if you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, you know how big it is for me to say that! Yes – I am certainly proud of what The Toolbox is, the products contained within it, and the fact that I personally created almost every inch of it. But more so, I am just so proud that I took an enormous gamble on something that simply resonated with me…and it worked. Against advice from business-savvy friends, family and fellow bloggers, I charged ahead with a model that was unique and not necessarily time tested but just felt right. For me and for you.
To say the least, the response has been overwhelming, and the success of The Toolbox has changed everything. Everything. Thanks to The Toolbox, this blog went from being a secret side hustle that I told virtually no one about, to a thriving business I can’t help but gush over to anyone who wants to listen.
If you have joined the Toolbox, I want you to know that with each membership that comes in, I do a little happy dance of gratitude. I (seriously) look at every single name and reflect for just a moment. Because while you may feel like I’m helping you organize your life or plan your next holiday…you’re helping me realize a dream I’ve had for so long, and I am nothing but immensely, truly thankful for your part in it.
A few months ago, as I was continuing to re-evaluate those tasks I love versus those I don’t, I chose to change my approach to my weekly newsletter. What was a bland re-cap of recent blog posts and the latest kits uploaded to the Toolbox, the newsletter is now full of exclusive content that doesn’t quite fit into a typical blog post model. Whether it’s a quick round-up on a certain topic, a personal post, or insights, tips, tricks, or products I’m loving lately, I’ve essentially re-vamped my newsletter into a third post for the week. The newsletter comes out on Saturday mornings…so you can now hear from me each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday starting in the New Year! If you haven’t yet subscribed or you unsubscribed because the newsletters were…well, boring…go ahead and re-subscribe using the form at the bottom of my site! I promise I’m working hard to make my weekly email worth your while!
With so much reflection on the year gone by, it’s natural to think and plan and hope about the year ahead. So what’s to come in 2019?
A lot…but all things that continue to fit and resonate! The monthly additions to the Toolbox will keep coming the first Tuesday of each month. I also have some super exciting Cricut-themed content brewing for you, as well as some room makeovers to (finally!) reveal. Sprinkled throughout will continue to be my favorite organization and DIY projects, with a dose of life thrown in for humor and good measure!
But probably the biggest thing to come in 2019? Another move. Yep…if you can believe it, it’s time for us to move again. We don’t yet know where or exactly when, but I can tell you this:
Although living here hasn’t been my favorite and I am at times more-than-ready to leave, I will be truly sad to pick up our family and move yet again. I thought it would get easier with each passing move; but rather, as we grow older and yearn for stability more and more, the moves only seems to get harder. We approach this holiday awash in nerves as we wait for news. I will certainly keep you all posted as our adventure unfolds into a new chapter yet again!
I said earlier that (for the first time!) I am not limping into the coming New Year but rather running full steam with ideas and plans. That is true. But I can also sense some familiar weariness as the hustle of the past year catches up with me and the busyness of the holidays kicks into full gear. Instead of dragging myself through the holidays with more posts and projects because that’s what bloggers “should” do, I’m going to give myself the time and space to enjoy the season with my family and prepare for the organization frenzy that lies just beyond. As such, today I will be signing off for 2018. For the next few weeks, I’ll be working hard behind-the-scenes on some awesome content for the New Year while enjoying time with my boys. I’ll be back here ready and waiting for you on January 1st 🙂
I started this post saying that my approach to my holiday decor reflected the personal and professional growth I’ve experienced this year. It might seem like kind of a stretch but I just can’t stop thinking about it.
Decorating for the holidays used to take me weeks. Weeks! Every room got its own unique decor. Every surface was covered. And of course, every project had to be handmade. I pretty much had glitter staining my fingers from October through Christmas Eve! Yet I’m not sure I enjoyed much of the process or the cost. I just kept at it because that’s what I thought I had to do to get the beautiful results I wanted.
This year, my holiday decorating took me one day. One! And it happened TWO weekends after Thanksgiving (I’m pretty sure that’s sacrilege in the blogging community!) I chose to take out only the items I loved and had special meaning to us (no matter how well they did or didn’t coordinate) and focused on adding small festive accents in ways that had big impact but wouldn’t cause the clutter or burden that so often stresses me out. I love every inch of our holiday decor this year, and the fact that I’m not already itching to take it down says A LOT!
Whether it’s been in our home, on the blog, or in my holiday decor, the lesson this year has been sure and consistent: meaningful, intentional, honest choices lead to the most beautiful and gratifying of results.
My friends…thank you for a truly wonderful 2018. Please know that as I take stock and celebrate in the coming weeks, it will be on the forefront of my mind how intrinsic you are to what I do here and every ounce of success I’ve been able to enjoy. Thank you for coming around. Thank you for your pins, likes and tweets. Thank you for your personal emails and clever comments and for giving me your time each week. It never goes unnoticed, and I am thankful for you every single day.
I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2019!