31 Days of Christmas Planning (2.0)

I have had so much fun with my 30 days of drawers project (well, maybe fun isn’t the right word) and with working at a more regular writing habit that I have decided to use the momentum to keep going. I’m going continue to embrace the beauty of Early2000’s blogging and keep on writing.

In 2012, someone put out a challenge to write about something for 31 days – and I wrote about Christmas planning. I bet there were linkups and everything! Occasionally when I’m trying to do “Intentional Blog Work”, I run across this series. Like looking through the photo albums at my parents house, sometimes it is super cringy and other times it is incredibly cute and heart warming. I’m looking forward to resurrecting and updating this series for Life 8 Years Later.

When I originally wrote this blog series, Caleb was 13, Anna was 7, and Sofia was 5. Oh my sweetnesses. We lived in Maine, and could almost always count on a white Christmas and would certainly be using our pellet stove to create a warmth and glow throughout our living space. Now my little people are big, independent people. We live in sunny and much warmer SC where Christmas pj pictures can comfortably be taken outside. Some of our traditions and plans have stayed with us, and some have changed or gone by the wayside. And I am definitely not the same person I was 8 years ago.

During October 2020, I will use what I can from my series 8 years ago (with some polishing) and share new ideas and traditions when it is appropriate. At the end of each post, I will link to the original post. Welcome to a look back and a look foward to Christmas planning….

I’m a planner and a lister. And for almost 20 years I have made it my intention to be done a lot of the running around and shopping for Christmas by the time Thanksgiving Vacation begins. (Yes, that means I don’t do Black Friday sales.) Sometimes, this has helped me really set apart the season to be different and myself to be prepared. Sometimes, it just makes Thanksgiving week incredibly stressful.

For the next 31days, I commit to writing and planning about Christmas season 2020. I will write about preparing our home and our hearts for the season where we anticipate and celebrate Incarnate Love – the birth of Jesus.

#31DaysofChristmasPlanning
(the original post can be found at – http://hopecaptive.com/?p=3825)


30 Drawers, 30 Days – DONE

Thirty days has September, April, June, and November….. I can’t tell you how often I play that sing-songy poem in my head. I think I learned it in First Grade (thanks Miss Fogg) and that we probably had a penmanship assignment along with it. As the chorus began playing in my mind at the end of August, I wondered ‘what could I do in those thirty days?’

Clean out and organize each drawer in my house in thirty days. When the idea came to me, I kept taking a mental count of how many drawers we have and how many I am responsible and would come up with a different number every time. In the end 30 drawers became 40 with a decision to not include refrigerator/freezer/oven drawers this month.

Drawers are so convenient and lovely for hiding things away. I take them for granted and appreciate the way they enable me to NOT think about the STUFF that they hold. And looking at “DrawerCleaning”as a whole project is entirely overwhelming. My project began with thinking about 1ish drawer a day. As I got moving through the month, in some places it was easier to deal with groups.

The greatest gift came to me this month when organizing&cleaning, along with writing, were met with grace&permission to do this in a way that served me – not in a way that I served the project. In previous versions of myself, the first hint of not doing EXACTLY and PERFECTLY the way that I envisioned would have put the emergency brakes on the project. Flexibility with this project opened the door for me let the project accompany me rather than dominate or distract me. I’m super satisfied with my clean drawers, but I’m even more thankful for these gifts I didn’t expect to receive along the way.

Things I learned (or re-learned) from my drawers this month:

  • If a drawer won’t STAY organized, I’m probably asking it to do too much
  • If a drawer in only pulled out a couple inches to get at what is in the front and on top, there might be scary things hiding in the back
  • Nobody needs that many stirring spoons next to their stove – even if they are pretty
  • I want to make fondue a regular part of our lives
  • One drawer can lead to a bigger project, but it is okay to say NO to that bigger project and just tidy the drawer.
  • There are so many cool drawer (cupboard, closet, desk) organizers to buy – those are wants, not needs.
  • I like having a timed, focused project to write about.
  • I still like blogging like it’s 2007. Maybe I don’t need to apologize for that, especially if my audience is mostly me.

40 drawers done in 30 days. 15 blog posts in 30 days. What a delightful success.


#30Drawers30Days – over and out

30 Drawers, 30 Days – Day 29

Jewelry is one of those things in my house that I have a weird relationship with – I want to like it and I want to have a “style” of jewelry that is Me – but I mostly feel like a middle school Emily if I put too much thought or effort into it. I suppose I feel this way about clothes, too, and again I am thankful that I chose drawers and not closets to focus on this month!

My last official set of drawers are in a jewelry box that I bought a million years ago. I don’t love it, and if I hadn’t committed to no spending during the Drawer Project, I most certainly would have spent some money to find a better alternative. But here we are.

The beauty of having to use what I had is that I didn’t have many choices as I organized. I did a brutal purging (I was in a bad mood, and I hope I don’t look for something I purged in two months!), and created two piles to remove from every day access – holiday jewelry and memory jewelry. Those will go in small boxes and be put away in drawers.

I actually do feel much better about these tidy drawers and untangled chains. And I have a much better idea of what I have, what I like, and what I need when I shop for a new way to store and organize my jewelry – in October.

This brings me to 40 drawers out of 40 drawers done in my 30 drawers project!

#30drawers30days

30 Drawers, 30 Days – Day 25

I knew that some drawers would lead to rabbit hole projects. I guess I should be thankful it didn’t happen until now. Or maybe I knew exactly where it would happen and that’s why I put it off till the end of then month.

The drawers under the tv – dvd’s, cd’s, games, cords, manuals, a Christmas tree remote (?!?) – what to do with all of it. And the rabbit hole this leads to is all the dvd’s and cd’s in the house. oof.

When we moved from Maine, we got rid of a LOT of jewel cases for both dvd’s and cd’s. But that means we have those storage case book things (see the middle drawer) full of media that we don’t look at or remember. So while I’m grateful for less bulk, this solution has aided our denial of all the movies and music that we have and don’t listen to anymore.

A quick look through and purge is possible, but it also has to go through at least the three other people I live with (I’m pretty sure C will say he doesn’t really care, but will I be able to let it go without his once over). And the cords I will be able to tidy, but I’m not a designated cord master in our home, so again this will require the assistance of my family.

So, this is going to become a later project. The quick purge will be completed in October. The bigger project will be transferring all that we have into some sort of Digital Jukebox solution (and that is a WHOLE OTHER rabbit hole – but so many cool options).

Here is what the drawers look like now:

And here is what the dining room table looks like:

We are going to eat on this surface tonight, so I will find a crate to put things in until we can get to work on it. Just keepin’ it real.

#30drawers30day 37/40 drawers done!

30 Drawers, 30 Days – Day 24

These are two drawers that, if I’m living well, will not stay tidy. The third drawer required no attention and is full of discarded jeans and possibilities. I met someone recently who said ‘I try to sew for at least an hour every night’. I love that idea and commitment, but I have not yet found a way to make that happen regularly. But it echoes in my mind with a tone of invitation.

I find crafting spaces (my crafting space is also a guest room) tricky to put together. When I craft, I’m in any number of particular moods. Add to those moods my ideas, my risk threshold, and my focus and my crafting (usually some sort of sewing) can go in a million directions. My heart desires a perfect set up in a perfect space that will always meet my needs perfectly. But any honest crafter will say ‘there is no perfect’ and pursuing perfect will block any creative flow and release.


So here are my tidy drawers. Let’s all hope they are a mess soon.

#30drawers30days 34/40 drawers done

We interrupt this 30 Drawers, 30 Days project….

…. to witness and care for baby of the family who had four teeth extracted last Friday. While there were moments of levity while she tried to convince the nurses that Minecraft livestreams really are something they should check out, she has had a slow and swollen recovery. Sometimes caregiving comes to me naturally, and sometimes I choose it. This week has been a combination of both, and so the Drawers just had to wait.

But today, I just needed to see something get done. Naturally, I went to the two drawers that I have been avoiding since September 1 – the last two kitchen drawers.

My family members kindly ooh’ed and aah’ed in a way that could get them roles on HGTV when they opened the new and improved drawers. But truth be told, I’m just not feeling it. These drawers are just A.LOT. The silverware drawer and the drawer with … stovetop and cooking tools and whatnots.

This drawer was the recipient of an organizer that was gifted to me. It fits the longer pieces a little bit better than what was there. This drawer also just had TOO much stuff in it. Some was eliminated and some put away in the pantry. If I haven’t “needed” what was put away by this December, I will eliminate it as well.

Silverware is such a mystery to me. And how much do we need? Not as much as we have until we don’t run the dishwasher for a couple days or when we have friends and family over for meals and desserts. And all the different shapes and sizes. Maybe if we had bothered to register for anything 26 years ago I would have gotten an education in cutlery. But we didn’t. So I just make it up. This drawer received the organizer that was in the other drawer, and again, I did eliminate and place some things into storage.

I came dangerously close to venturing into pantry and cupboard organization and cleaning today. It’s a very good thing that these are the last two kitchen drawers.

#30drawers30days

30 Drawers, 30 Days – Day 16

There are some drawers that I am just not looking forward to opening. You might have noticed that I haven’t been in the kitchen for a while and that is because the last two drawers are in the category of ‘how do I even…’.

I didn’t know what to expect with the set of drawers I tackled today and I only did the work because they are in the same room as my desk and I was waiting for Handbrake to process a file. Also, the drawers are mostly full of linens, which I really love, but I think is kind of an odd thing to love. Remember this scene:

Diana Barry:
Myra Gillis had 37 doilies when she got married, and I’m determined to have AT LEAST as many as she had.

Anne Shirley:
I suppose it would be impossible to keep house with only 36 doilies. But I assure you, Mr. Wright, Diana will be the sweetest little homemaker in the world… so long as you can afford to let her keep up with the Gillises.

Well, it turns out dumping everything on the floor works even for the ‘doilies’ in my drawers. I did finally say goodbye to a few tablecloths that I haven’t used for five years, and you can see that some things were significantly moved around. I’m excited to have this space organized and a little more open because I have almost another bin full of seasonal linens in the back of a closet… and I’m so glad that this month is JUST drawers. Maybe next September I’ll do closets (I’m only responsible for 6 of those).

Today’s tally is 28 drawers done, 12 drawers left, with 14 days to go.


#30drawers30days

30 Drawers, 30 Days – Day 15

Today I’m happy to report that 9 drawers in my closet and bathroom were tackled. These aren’t the kind of drawers that one necessarily posts pictures of so I decided to weigh the pile of stuff that I was able to eliminate – 7 lbs of freedom found over this past weekend.

That brings us up to 23 drawers done, 17 drawers to still do, and 15 days to get it done.

#30drawers30days

30 Drawers, 30 Days – Day 10

Today was JunkDrawer Number2. It lives directly next door to JunkDrawer Number1. Their identical visual appearance and close proximity results in frequently shared and confused purposes. My label-maker and laminator COULD sort them out but then it would look and feel like a preschool in my kitchen – and the people I live with might not appreciate that vibe.

The truth about junk drawers is that to some extent they keep track of the things we need often and unpredictably. They hold a lot of the tools we need to make quick decisions and repairs, and I thank them for their service, and the delightful experience of tidying their messiness.


A small pile of things that got sent to the trash – mostly those plastic things that go under chair and couch and table legs. We have housed these in our junk drawer for over five years, which services no floors. So they will move on to make space for my next good idea in homemaking.

#30Drawers30Days
if you are keeping track – that’s 14/40 drawers done; still undecided about the appliance drawers

30 Drawers, 30 Days – Day 9

Today I tackled two drawers – one easy and one perpetually messy. My little office drawer had recently been dealt with since I got a new desk without any drawers in it. So that took just a few minutes of identifying cords and shoving things back into their corners.

Drawer number 2 today was Junk Drawer Number 1 in the kitchen (because of course we have two). Batteries and cords and frequent grab and throw explorations make this drawer needing regular attention. This drawer always surprises me with “what even is this” and “how did this get HERE”.

#30Drawers30Days