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How to Avoid January Blahs

Martha Scott
January 11, 2019

Every January, I go through ALL of my cabinets, closets and drawers, cleaning, organizing, discarding until everything is neat and tidy. I have no rhyme or reason -- some times I do a drawer or cabinet because it's smaller and I have a short window of time and other times I have more time and will do a bigger project. I've been doing this for YEARS and when everyone has the January letdown, I'm thinking of the next thing to clean!!!

I go by cabinets, closet and drawers and rooms. But I don't do say the dining room and then move on to the living room -- I do perhaps the sideboard in the dining room, then the downstairs hall closet, etc.

So far, I have my under sink done as well as my kitchen drawers and ALL of the breakfast room, dining room, living room plus my downstairs hall closet, the linen closet, the armoire in the guest room and the guest room closet . . .

We're supposed to get snow tomorrow so I'm planning on doing the bathroom cabinet and perhaps ALL of the master bedroom (closets, drawers and bookcase) . . .

There's always a new project to keep me occupied but why, oh, why when everything is neat and tidy by the end of January that at the beginning of the next January, it all needs to be done over again!

Comments (32)
  • joyfulguy

    Martha, you sure do have a great reason (or many of 'em) to keep that "January Blaah" truck far from your door!

    My establishment is in great need of similar treatment!

    I was going to suggest having a variety of interests and to pursue some of them after the letdown from the busy-ness of the holidays.

    Maybe have some projects that need looking after.

    After the recent weeks disconnect with some family or friends, arrange a get-together to catch up.

    If you're inclined to volunteer it's probable that you connected with some of the agencies during the holidays but likely there are some where there's been little recent connection, so you might like to reconnect with some of your friends/pals there.

    As for me ... my messy house needs attention. A number of my garden garments seem to have developed holes that need attention: I picked up some remnants from the fabric store the other day, so have a bit of a head start on that project.

    Good wishes for happiness after the holidays, all!

    ole joyful

  • schoolhouse_gw

    I bought a new fridge which will be delivered next Tuesday, so a necessary project will be to purge and clean the old fridge. I did some purging and wiping down of the inside not too long ago so it shouldn't be that much of a chore this time.

    AEP is picking it up the same day the new is delivered. It has to be clean and also plugged in to prove that it runs. In turn, they will send me a $50 Visa debit card.

  • OklaMoni

    Hmmm, I don't do this EVER. I just do what you do in January, all year round. With other words, I keep it all going... and don't let it ever get it to a NEED to do it again. Just constantly stay on top of crap. ;)


  • mtnrdredux_gw

    This was not the advice that came to mind for me, LOL.

    When people want to get together around the holidays, I always tell them we should push it to Jan or Feb when calendars are empty. It's also a good time of the year to get theatre tickets, dinner reservations, etc.

    But cleaning and organizing, well, that *is* always a good idea.

  • maddielee

    Thank God I live in a sunny state, have never had these blahs....

  • DawnInCal

    I start thinking about spring cleaning this time of year, but I'm mostly consumed with creating jewelry after being deprived of studio time during the weeks leading up to the holiday due to spending time with friends and family. We also do outside work like thinning trees, clearing brush and burning the brush piles during the winter months if the weather is mild and it's been pretty mild so far. It's much too hot and the fire danger much too high here to do that kind of work in the summer or fall.

  • watchmelol

    I do something similar. I started with my pantry this year. My cleaning is also random areas. But the nice thing is one organized area inspires one to go on to another. I never thought of it as helping with the winter blahs but I suppose it does. I call it my out with the old fresh start time.

  • arkansas girl

    That IS a good idea! I'm so blah this time of year. I'm used to living in the South where you don't really get blah. But here in Ohio, it really never even gets full daylight this time of year. I have crystals in my southern window and the sun is so low in the sky now that the crystals shine rainbows all over the bedroom...that is IF the sun would ever shine. I think we have sunshine maybe three days a month from about October to May....maybe a very slight exaggeration.

  • IdaClaire

    I think cleaning and organizing makes for a wonderfully fresh start, and that in itself always helps combat my January blues. I hope to start doing more of that, especially now that I've disengaged myself from Instagram (which had become a big time suck for me), and no longer have any social media accounts of that type. I'm a little bit sad at letting go of my Insta habit, but am confident that I'll feel a sense of relief as I immerse myself in other pursuits that I've been putting off ... like getting back into a good workout routine.

  • marylmi

    I was doing the same thing until I got hit with the flu! Hope to get back to it the first of the week. I think it's a great idea, it sure makes the days go faster!

  • jn3344

    Well, I did the back closet yesterday. Then a couple kitchen drawers today while waiting for someone. So I can relate!

    The animal shelter needed towels so that was the trigger that got me motivated. I have a bunch of towels and laundry detergent and some food my guy doesn't much care for. I will drop that stuff off Monday.

    I'm going to do the Marie Kondo thing with my clothes next week. It's been 3 years since I've done it. My spouse gets anxious so I leave his stuff alone lol.

    It's a good time of year to take care of these things. I have to admit I get a little bit of enjoyment getting it done.

  • Lars

    I've never had January blahs, but when I lived in San Francisco, I went to Mexico for January to avoid the cold damp weather in SF, thereby avoiding the blahs. Here in L.A. we have June gloom instead, especially close to the beach, and so I am more likely to travel in June from here.

    Unfortunately, I do not have a set time to go through everything and clear out clutter, and so I have to force myself to do it at irregular times, which is difficult. Next week we are supposed to have a lot of rain, and so maybe that will be a good time for me to do some of that.

  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX

    Since we don't own very much stuff any more it doesn't take much time. I do need to organize my office though. And start working on the garden totems I want to make. I already have plenty of glass pieces to make several. We are having a lot of work done in the yard. Our fence blew down in the recent storm so we are having it replaced. My yard guy has been clearing the fence area and trimming bushes. As long as we are having this gorgeous weather we want to get a lot done.

  • aok27502

    I am doing this too, but only one time and on a large scale. We are planning to sell our house later this year, so I am a whirling dervish of painting, sorting, sifting, and throwing out. I am off work until sometime in March, probably, so this is my biggest chance.

    Yesterday I took 10 boxes of books to the thrift store. Ahhhhh!

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    I'm not familiar with January blahs......it must be dreadful if beating them into submission with a bunch of sorting, organizing, cleaning, etc., etc., is the only way to defeat the ailment. ;-)

    I do look forward the new year, however. The days become appreciably longer every day, birds become noisier as they begin competing for nesting territory in our overstory trees. The seed catalogs are here and my favorite pastime of poring over the options and plotting out my garden is here. My husband has pulled out my seed and nursery racks and we've begun the process of preparing to grow our annuals and some veggies from seed in the garage over the winter.

    I'll be growing several more hundred plants this year than usual with the addition of my Xmas present, a third lighted rolling cart. Yes, I park my little car outside in the winter, lol.

    No January blahs here.

  • salonva

    I too get a good feeling when I toss/donate/give away. I need to get motivated again soon. This is a good reminder.

  • Martha Scott

    And you do have big piles of toss/donate/give away. I usually make the old "bag a day" challenge by the end of January and one wonders how you can have so much stuff you don't use!

  • Martha Scott

    Once everything is neat on the "inside", then I do a good clean . . . Decembers seem to be hard on a house IMO. I love it when everything is sparkling inside and out! (inside meaning closets, cabinets and drawers and out meaning the woodwork and floors!)

  • Bluebell66

    As of two weeks ago, we are empty nesters (hurray!) so I have been cleaning out closets and basement storage and everywhere else. I guess I do this every January, empty nest or not, but having an empty bedroom and some basement storage freed up has been an additional impetus to clean things out. I've been selling some things on Craigslist and FB Marketplace, and dropping things off at the thrift shop. It's very liberating. :)

  • gsciencechick

    I WISH I had the time to declutter in January. i'm picking up some pristine used rims for my Mustang and I have to figure out where to put them until I get some new tires.

    We have already started back to classes, and I'm slammed/overwhelmed already. My only respite is going to workout, and other social activities with DH, and spending time with him and the cats at home.

    Good point on the days getting longer! I was noticing that this week on my ride home. Yay! Something so small but really gets my mood up.

  • Lucille

    I am reorganizing my houseplant collection which numbers around 100. Grooming off dead leaves, repotting when necessary, bought a bunch of new colorful pots. Plus I am doing what Martha is doing and going through closets and kitchen cabinets and cleaning and reorganizing. I've only been here 3 months I don't know how it could need reorganizing but it does.

  • nicole___

    That's a great idea....but....I moved twice last year and decluttered each time. :0)

    I've started flower seeds indoors. Yesterday We shoveled 6" of snow, today we have 6" more. I purchased a new cookbook(Magnolia Table), lots of pictures to browse and catching up on movies from the library. I've also started doing Yoga & stretches with the morning programs on TV. As long as it's "new-to-me" it's entertaining.

  • OutsidePlaying

    Martha, I did the same thing when I retired, a year and a half ago. It does seem like some drawers need it more often than others. So I am getting back to doing it over again too. Started with the bathroom the other day and a couple of kitchen drawers.

    I think my problem is that I will keep more than I should. So I need to be more mindful and just throw more out or donate in the first place.

  • Martha Scott

    Outside -- I've been doing this for at least 25 years now -- some years I just move and clean while other years I really purge and/or rearrange things!

  • 3katz4me

    Well good for you! I think I tend to do that kind of thing when I move - every 15-20 years. I too take advantage of the winter months to organize social activities and do other things that I don't make time for in the summer months or over the holidays. Hosting a neighborhood party tonight that I've had fun getting ready for, out of town friends visiting in a couple weeks, some theater outings over the next few weeks as well.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    No blahs for me :-) But midwinter is my business slack time so I do tend to do a lot of cleaning/organizing at this time of year simply because there is little time to do so the rest of the year! And it is mostly my kitchen and office that I work on - the rest of my tiny abode is pretty well organized and tends to stay that way. It's just me and the dog and he doesn't make much mess except for strewing his toys all over everywhere.......he likes to dump over the toy basket so he can root around easier for what he wants to play with.

  • DawnInCal

    After a long day of burning brush - finished the very large pile today (yay!), this is my reward...

    ...and, it was delish. At that moment in time, it tasted better than many elaborate desserts I've had in fine restaurants. No January blahs here today!

  • whatsayyou18

    No blah's for me either. I always have a plethora of winter projects that I look forward to tackling and we enjoy all snow-related activities as well. Yay, Winter!

  • murraysmom Zone 6a OH

    Not so much to get rid of the blahs, though winter is gloomy here, but I decided to donate my china cabinet and buffet to a consignment shop whose proceeds go to breast cancer research. I've had this set for over 30 years. I'm not exactly sure why, but it seems a good time to part ways with it and I'm happy it will be doing some good. I did try to sell it but there isn't a lot of interest in antiques around here. All this to say I couldn't believe how much stuff was in these pieces! And old stuff at that!! It was a good place to keep the stuff and I knew where things were, but there was a lot of stuff that could be disposed of and I am enjoying that project. The guys are coming on Tuesday to pick up these pieces. They are very happy to be getting them and I am very happy to let them go. I really like to rearrange my furniture every once in awhile and this gives me more options for doing that. I will be glad to get everything sorted out and put away.

  • joyfulguy

    Yes, the sun is low in the sky!

    A couple of days ago, as I was eating lunch, the light coming in the window was shining on me and I could see the shadow of my jaw moving up an down - but it was "back and forth" - as it moved on the corner of the flat table.

    Many houses in Japan are built with a structure built out from the wall overhanging the windows, built to let in the sunlight in winter but block it in summer when the sun is higher in the sky.

    ole joyful

  • matthias_lang

    All these references to light and sun! Yes, get some sun everyday. Even if it is a densely grey day, there is more sun outside than in. If there is no way to get real sun, there are inexpensive lights that can help you get some of the rays human beings need.

    Sometimes I tell myself that I'd rather just stay indoors, but I can tell how much better I feel even to get 20 minutes outside per day. Personally, it even works if that is twenty minutes with sun shining through the car windows.

  • jill302

    Despite living in So Cal there have been years that I have had the January funk, but the last few years I have been so busy in January no funk at all. As Lars mentioned we do get a June gloom here and it does get really old, as it seems like June should be good weather but it is just gloomy and depressing, can last for weeks. Need to plan a trip this year.

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