The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life in 2017


My life is in an upheaval. In early October, my husband and I decided it was time to move into a bigger place. You see, we welcomed our first little one into our family in June and it was clear that our tiny townhouse just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. We listed our home, figuring we’d have at least a month or two to find a new one before it sold. WRONG! We had three offers within 48 hours, and that “month or two” turned into three weeks. Stressful, right? Trying to find our new “forever” home while taking care of a baby, working full-time, and orchestrating the headache that is buying/selling property was enough to make me a basket case. Fast-forward two months – we never found anything we liked, so we decided to build the “dream house.” Luckily, my in-laws are amazing people and allowed my family to move into their vacation condo for the seven month wait until our new house is finished. All of our crap is in boxes, but at least we have a roof over our heads. Things are working out, but my life is still a cluster-f*ck (or clutter-f*ck, as the case may be).

There are a few things I need to explain about myself: I like order, I like calm, and I like well-laid-out plans. None of these things have been prevalent in my life for the last three months. I don’t have control over anything and it’s driving me crazy. Being so continually displaced is also causing me no end of stress, to the point where I practically snarled at a rude customer service representative the other day – something I’d NEVER have done in the past (and still feel guilty about). That was the moment I realized I wasn’t handling all of these changes as well as I thought I was. It made me take a long look at my situation and, after chanting The Serenity Prayer for ten hours straight, I came up with a game plan:

I’m going to organize the shit out of my life to help alleviate some stress.

When I’m stressed, I organize. It’s how I cope. I find the process of focusing completely on a task calming and I always look forward to that satisfying pump of endorphins after completing a project. There are too many things about my life that are uncontrollable right now. In 2017, I’m going to focus on the things I CAN control and de-clutter my life as much as possible. Stress relief now, happier, more organized life later. Win-win.

Therefore, I’m dedicating every month in 2017 to a single aspect of my life that I’d like to simplify and will share insights and updates as I tackle each stress-inducing item. Since I can’t really dig into a lot of household stressors until we make our move halfway through the year, I’m going to start with as many digital things as I can.

January: Blog Love
[Over the years I have clicked “follow” on so many blogs that every time I log on to read posts, I get overwhelmed. My goal is to reduce the number of blogs followed and establish a system to be a better blog-buddy.]

February: Book Journaling
[My version of bullet journaling that focuses solely on organizing books and blogging]

March: Goodreads
[Where I revamp my shelves, my friends lists, and figure out how to utilize Goodreads to its fullest.]

April: Food
[This might seem like a weird topic, but if one more thing falls out of the freezer onto my foot, I’m going to scream. I’ve also been wanting to get more serious about my eating habits, and that requires planning and organizing]

May: Health
[This topic came about as a piggy back to April’s: Food. There was just too much material to talk about in one post and, while related, I’m doing very different things to achieve both]

June: Photos
[I made a ton of progress in early 2016, organizing all the digital photos on my computer. I even got ahead of the game, printing out photos and putting them into scrapbooks within a month of taking them. Being displaced has knocked me off my game, and I’m hoping to get back into a routine by the end of next year.]

July: The House Project
 [July is when our house is projected to be completed, but I’m not holding my breath. Whatever month sees it’s actual completion (I’ll rearrange topics then), I’m going to take the opportunity to hyper-organize my new living space as I unpack.]

August: The Forgotten Junk Files
[One month after I organize my new house, I’m going to focus on getting rid of things I don’t remember owning. Also, if it’s not useful or beautiful, it goes!]

September: Clothes
[In which I take a long look at my closet and get rid of things I never wear but always seem to hold on to. This will also be an excellent opportunity for me to pull myself out of that “new mom” wardrobe, which primarily consists of jeans and sweatshirts (notice I’m in no hurry to get to this one). ;-)]

October: Books, Books, & More Books!
[I’m lucky enough to have an entire room in this new house dedicated to books. My particleboard shelves are looking pretty shabby these days and have been bowing under the weight of all my books. I want to beautify and downsize my library until it’s something I can be proud of again.]

November: Keepsakes
[By now, my new house should be organized (hopefully), and I’ll be into somewhat of a normal routine, it’s now time to go through the dozen or so “keepsake” totes I’ve been hauling around all of my adult life. This is going to be the most difficult because I’m incredibly sentimental, but the weight of all of this stuff following me around has finally cracked my spine – I’ve had enough!]

December: Freebie
[To be determined – probably a follow-up on one of the other topics that I didn’t complete to my satisfaction.]

I normally do a top ten goals post at the beginning of every year and, although I usually end up completing most of my set goals, that type of post doesn’t really give specific calls to action (and I’m feeling incredibly proactive). This new format is hopefully going to keep me occupied all year. Each month I’ll share my progress and insights on each topic as I move closer to regaining my sanity. :P

What are your goals for 2017?

by Niki Hawkes

27 comments on “The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life in 2017

  1. You got this! Congrats on the progress toward owning your own home- and congrats on mommy-hood :) Sounds like you’ve had quite a year!

    Ah, goals for the new year. I want to make room on my tbr for the backlist series I’ve neglected for far too long; I also really need to finish one of two writing projects I’m working on.

    Good luck to you, my friend!


    • Thank you so much, Christy! It was indeed an eventful year – I’m exhausted lol.
      I love your backlist goal! I’ve been meaning to do something similar, but all of my books are packed away, so I’ll have to wait until next year. You’ll do great, though, and I can use your success as motivation to get started haha. What writing projects are you working on? Those take so much motivation – I’m super impressed! :)


      • Yes, moving does rather shake everything up! I DO hope that decluttering your tbr, blogroll and Goodreads (all really good ideas that, er, I could also stand to do, heh) relieves some of that stress! And soon enough, you’ll get to let start with a brand new house and do it all your own way. *fist pump*

        Aw, thanks for asking about my writing! :D I’m working on the final edits for my second novel (the first is dead and buried, haha). It’s been a blast, but I’m definitely ready to finish it and focus on novel #3. 2017, gonna make it happen!


      • Thank you so much!! I hope it will help too – so far so good haha.

        That’s so exciting!! I also have a “dead” first novel lol. It’s hard to let those go. Good for your for actively working on the next couple! I wish I could borrow some of your motivation. Can’t wait to see your progress. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear you’re having trouble. :/ My husband and I have just started looking for a house in case one comes up that we like so we can get it right away and the whole mortgage, pre-approval thing is already stressing me out. (And we’re not even close to buying yet!) But, I’m so excited for you — you have such good things coming your way, even if you feel cluttered right now.

    I love how you’re focusing on one thing each month — I have a hard time really focusing on any one thing, so I think it’s great that you’re able to do that and think that will lead to real change and productivity. I’ve also been wanting to go through things and get rid of unnecessary items, but I haven’t made a real plan for that yet — maybe I should!

    Good luck with your goals!


    • Thank you so much for your words of encouragement – I honestly feel a little guilty admitting there is a problem considering how amazing life is right now and how many awesome things I have to look forward to. I really do think diverting some of my attention towards organizing will help me get back into a good headspace. :-)

      House buying is stressful! It seems like no matter how many hoops you jump through, there are always three more waiting… If I can give any advice, it’s focus on one thing at a time, write down what you need to do so you don’t forget, and don’t procrastinate lol. Things sort of worked out for me even though we didn’t find one right away because now we’re getting a completely customized home, but those three weeks trying to decide if we wanted to “settle” on houses we didn’t like were pretty stressful.

      I have a really difficult time letting go of things I own, but this last move (from a place I’ve been for over seven years), really showed me that I have way more stuff than I need. It’s amazing how packing it all up and hauling it can open your eyes ha ha. I’ve sworn that never again will I move so much stuff (after this next move… of course). Perhaps if you and your husband get into a new house, you’ll have the same jolt of motivation hit you? Good luck with the house hunting – it truly is the fun part of the whole process. :-)


      • I watched that movie thinking it was going to be ALL about the robot and I kept waiting for it to take center stage. It wasn’t until the very end of the movie that I realized Big Hero 6 was the group and that the movie was their origin story.
        This is why I don’t watch a lot of movies :-D


      • Haha I’ve had a few do that to me lately (Brave is the only one that comes to mind). Luckily I went into BH6 with no clue what it was about. I don’t like how much previews give away from the movies so I stopped watching them lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life [1]: Blog Love | The Obsessive Bookseller

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