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January 2014 : Starting the Year off Right





Happy 2014!

I have NO idea how many of you are actually here reading this today (did you have a big celebration last night?) but I’m going to practice what I’m about to preach – most of which is about getting more organised, and getting stuff done on time falls into that category. And so here we are with this month’s intro post.

First – just let me say that I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions any more. Why? Because I’m ALWAYS experimenting with my life, work, and lifestyle – I try new things all throughout the year. Why wait until some arbitrary date to try something new, right?

However, I do love the psychological freshness that comes with that brand-new date, and that’s why New Years is my favourite holiday.

So, this January here on C&T, our minds will be on ‘starting the year off right’ – how we can start as we mean to go on as we all get back to work after the Christmas/New Year break.

We all have something particular that’s been bugging the hell out of us for months/years that we KNOW we need to sort out. 

Something that we constantly notice and think ‘I must do that’… but never do, because busy-ness gets in the way.

Something that – if you just took maybe a few hours tomorrow – you’d get sorted… or at least well on the way to getting sorted, and that would make your whole work-year ahead that much smoother.

I know you’re thinking of that something RIGHT NOW!

I can’t tell you what yours is – but I’ll share mine with you as an example.

I love Cat’s post from Monday on making space for the new. I made some changes to my physical space over the last few days in order to make my workday flow more smoothly, and my studio a more pleasant place to be in. Nick made me a new set of shelves, we bought some organising baskets and little drawers. I also cleaned up a lot of general mess that had accumulated.

Here is what my studio looks like now:

As you can see, I’m a fan of year-round fairy lights.

And, to finish, gratuitous kitty photo:

(Gobbolino hates having his photo taken, he always manages to look super-awkward.)

I’ve sorted out some problems that have been bugging me for AGES – like organising my copious types of silver wire into labelled drawers rather than having them all in one massive pile that I need to search through every time I need a certain size.

I’ve hidden ugly stuff away – like the whole shelf of random bubble wrap pieces I had before (out of which bits were always falling).

Simple stuff, right? But we rarely take the time to step back and work on this sort of organisation, because we’re so busy with the ‘making stuff’ part of our businesses.

I am a naturally messy person (thank the stars I married someone much neater than me – though I drive poor Nick nuts sometimes with my mess) so learning to keep my workspace relatively organised is always something I struggle with.

By taking the time now to organise my space, I’m hoping that my workflow will be smoother, and things will go back to the space designated for them.

If I make it a month without a random pile of stuff ending up on the end of my studio bench, I’ll know I’ve succeeded!

What do YOU need to get done NOW to start the New Year off right?

P.S. You can see more photos of my studio here if you like.

Image source: Jess Van Den


Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



I’ve been doing the same thing for the past few days. I’m not finished, but I can already tell the difference. I can even THINK more clearly about what needs to be done next. It’s wonderful. Good job and happy 2014.


I agree with you – the physical space definitely helps clear mental space, too.


I love cleaning my work space, but rarely rearrange it. The shelving thingy over your computer looks nifty – did the husband make it?
And i do like the fairy tights too – I’m the only female in the house so I think some pretty fairy lights might be a great idea.


Yes, he did, Debra! It’s actually a whole unit – a secretary desk that he made from scratch a for me a few years back. He made all the shelving on my workbench, too.

julie @ tractorgirl

yay Jess, it looks awesome! Nice to see so many hammers 🙂 🙂 (ya know, I always objected to that expression “dumb as a box of hammers”). Happy New Year xx


SO MANY HAMMERS! 😀 Love me some hammers… Happy New Year to you too, lady!

Pinky Poinker

You’ve just inspired me to go get a huge garbage bag and start culling. I love the cat and yes he does look a bit awkward.


Woohoo! Cull away! 😀 Gobby is the king of awkward cat photos, for sure.

What say you?