After huddling down beneath an air mass from the North Pole for the last couple of weeks, the sun has emerged and patches of brown grass are showing through the snow. It’s a balmy forty out and I feel like I’m permitting myself to think about the arrival spring. (Or at least Fake Spring, which comes oh, mid-March if I recall).
I’m also ready to share some goals for 2021! These goals have been on my list for years. I finally stopped writing them down because I just lost faith that I’d ever really get to them. But I’m being bold in 2021. The previous decade has been one of adding and complicating rather than culling and organizing as we have had babies, started homeschooling, managed house projects, and moved in and out of homes. Oh it’s not that we haven’t accomplished things, we have. It’s just that first things came first, like feeding and clothing people, thus I had to watch my organizing goals scorch a little on the back burner.
I had hoped moving closer to family and living in a rental would simplify some things, including this backlog of organization. It seems like it has. I have each of these goals and their respective tasks logged in my Notes app for my checking-off gratification, and I can finally see that maybe it’s really possible! I had the time and head space to complete several of those tasks in the past few weeks. Here’s what I’m working towards in 2021.
1.) Organize kid’s art and homeschool papers. (DONE!) You can see that project here!
2.) Start tracking our family finances again. (DONE!) How could I have let this go? But I did when our finances got complicated with confusing business things like dividends, money transfers and ownership interests. David has been keeping watch on this at a macro level, but it is time to get a handle on the micro things. I got a bookkeeping program set up and we are back in business!
3.) Record logins, passwords and vital family information into 1Password. (DONE!) Oh, friends this has been on my list for absolutely years. I was forced to deal with it a few months ago when Chrome alerted me that many of my passwords became compromised. You cannot possibly fathom how many essential logins and passwords you have accumulated over the last decade until you try to do this. Our 1Password database was a huge mess of duplicates, outdated logins and incomplete information. After this weekend, I am proud to say that not only have we changed all of our passwords to things that look like this: U&[email protected]#$*76Yhh90E (David’s dream), but have also organized and recorded vital information so that it’s completely secure but still accessible to us. The vault is also available to family in case of emergency. Basically, if we die, our family can know where birth certificates and water shut-off valves are, as well as how to log in to my Target account should the need arise.
4.) Finish our living trust. Our 1Password project dovetails with another fun job: estate planning. It’s not as fancy as it sounds, sadly. It’s what you do when you have four kids and a house that you don’t want to leave to the state’s power in the case of a disaster. I have finally unearthed the pile of legal paperwork that we started in 2016 when we set up our living trust. After June was born, we did a wonderful thing and contacted a financial advisor to help us set up a living trust with a company that allows you to make free changes to those documents it for a lifetime. We finished the most critical parts, but there are still assets that I have not yet placed into our trust name because it requires tasks that make my eye twitch like contacting banking institutions during business hours and filling out paperwork in the presence of notaries and non blood-related witnesses. There were also legal changes that had to be made when we moved states, had a baby, and switched conservators.
5.) Sourcing local pasture-raised beef, pork and eggs. We have already found a wonderful local dairy where we buy milk, cheese (and cream whenever they have it!) Last spring when grocery store shelves were cleared and supply chains broken, we had a freezer full of local grass-fed beef and I can’t tell you how good that felt. I hope to find sources for these in the summer when farmer’s markets are back open.
5.) Go through kids clothing and consign or donate clothes. I’ve been pretty good at keeping on top of this for the sake of space (we had little storage in our last house), but it needs to be done at least once a year and it’s a big project. On top of that, I have a lot of floral-girly things I was saving for June that she’s just never going to wear (she likes Crocs and sweats) and I need to release them from my hopes and dreams.
6.) Basic emergency prep. You do not have to be prepping for the apocalypse to do this. Since 2020 happened upon us, I can see how dependent we are on certain infrastructure and how easily things can go awry when a brick or two is taken out of that teetering tower. A little planning ahead can save a lot of time and stress. I have been slowly ticking things off this list over the past months, which include things like extra food and water stores. I still have a few more things I want to do like recording a household inventory and having go-bags for the kids.
7.) Organize digital photos. This feels ridiculous even as I type it, since I’ve typed it every year since starting this blog in 2011. Our photos have been scattered to and fro across the ends of the earth: on phones, external drives, Dropbox folders, and old computer hard drives stored in David’s office. The biggest hurdle to starting has been deciding what kind of machine to store them on while I organize them and how to back them up. It’s a lot of data. My executive decision is that I’m going to gather and organize everything on an external drive and then likely back it up on iCloud.
8.) Gosh, I’d love to lose 15-20 pounds this year. Who doesn’t, it seems? Yet I want to list it because it is a backlogged goal that I want to reach. I had a serious talk with myself about how necessary this was, since it seems to be an amount of weight that has not budged since giving birth to my third baby in 2015. I decided it was necessary. It all comes down to comfort, specifically when wearing shorts and bathing suits in the summer. (I mean actual physical comfort, not wondering if random strangers are okay with what I look like in them.) I’d like to release those pounds along with my dread of ill-fitting shorts. I don’t know how I will go about doing this, but I know it will require discipline and I would like for it to be something sustainable in the long-term.
9.) Find land. I feel a little bit intimidated even writing this, but financially and logistically it seems the best stop for our next season will be to purchase some acreage and build a home on it. At this juncture, for what it would cost to find and modify a home that suits our family’s lifestyle, the best use of our time and money will be to build a home to our specs. I think we have nailed down the area we want to be in, so now it’s time to hit the pavement!
There it all is; all of my hopes and goals for 2021! I’d love to know if any of yours are similar. I hope to blog about each as I finish them off!