By Jessica Tomes, TMD Social Media Director

We’ve all heard the saying, “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I readily admit I have taken this mantra to heart—sometimes to the detriment of my own sanity (and sleep). Have you ever vacuumed your entire house four times in one week, each time after 10 p.m.? I have. Of course I was also eight months pregnant, and had gone a little nesting crazy. But that is beside the point.

In honor of the New Year I am modifying this maxim just a bit; my new mantra for 2014 is “organization is next to Godliness.” With another baby on the way, meaning I will have two little girls under two for an exciting but sure to be exhausting six months, this comes in part out of sheer necessity. Regardless of my own individual situation (and my rapidly growing family), I would chance to guess we could all use a little more organization in our everyday lives. Am I right?

First things first, buy a planner.

Step one on this journey to a more organized 2014 is to purchase a good planner, and then to write down all of your important dates—think birthdays, anniversaries, Bible studies, workout regiments, vacation dates, and on and on. Map out your year in this manner and (hopefully) never forget an important date again!

Buying a new planner every New Year is similar to the excitement I felt about buying new school supplies in my adolescent years. I love the empty pages, just waiting to be filled with appointments and social engagements. But you don’t have to be an organizational freak like me to realize that an agenda book of some sort is a near necessity in our overscheduled modern times.

While on the hunt for this year’s perfect planner, I was delighted to discover the company May Designs. Beautiful and completely customizable, May Books are made from green-e certified canvas covers, stitched together by a sewing machine. You get to choose your pattern, font style and text, as well as the format of the 80 pages inside your book. Choose from a monthly and weekly agenda, a meal planner, a calorie and exercise journal, or a baby bump diary, just to name a few. These books are as practical as they are cute—virtually indestructible the custom book covers are even water-resilient! How cool is that? I’ll take one in every color, please! Just kidding, but I am totally addicted.

Even cooler, the beautifully creative people behind May Designs have agreed to do a GIVEAWAY just for our TMD readers! Okay that’s it, we are officially in LOVE! Read on to find out how to enter to win our giveaway with May Designs…


Make a list of reasonable organizational plans and resolutions.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to overhaul your entire household in the first month of the New Year. You will not be successful. Instead, assign yourself one manageable task or project per month and hold yourself accountable. Ask your spouse or best friend to follow up with you, post it on Facebook or your blog, whatever it takes. You can even implement a monthly or yearly reward system for achieving your organizational goals! These can be small (maybe a favorite dessert) or large rewards (that new Tory Burch handbag you have been eyeing).

Here are a few sample organizational project ideas to get you started.

  • Create and implement a weekly meal planning binder.
  • Re-organize your closet and give old, unwanted items to charity.
  • Make a Spring Cleaning Checklist for all of the areas of your home you probably forgot, or chose not to clean in 2013 (tasks like scrubbing your oven, cleaning your baseboards, washing your windows).
  • Make virtual copies of all important documents (like birth certificates and insurance policies) and then organize hard copies into binders for each individual family member. Here is a tutorial from blogger Mique of Thirty Handmade Days to help you get started with this project.
  • Print all of your family photos from 2013 and organize them a photo album. Or you could create photo books from any of the popular online vendors if that is more your speed.

Be creative, and see what you can come up with. Sometimes I like to walk from room to room of my home, notebook in hand, writing down all of the projects and tasks I spot that need to be done. Remember, these should be attainable projects!

Read and research for inspiration.

When in doubt, I always turn to experts on whatever subject I am trying to learn more about. Having a more excellent New Year is no exception. Here are a few books that are on my personal reading list for 2014. Feel free to adopt any (or none) for your own New Year reading list.

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel and Max Lucado
  • Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
  • Unlgued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lisa TerKeurst
  • What I know Now: Letters to my Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins

We are always looking for a good read! What are you planning to read in the New Year? Feel free to share with us in the comments section below!

A TMD and May Designs Giveaway

How would you like to win one of the beautiful May Designs books we shared about earlier in this post? Well here is your chance! To enter to win a FREE May Book of your choice, answer the following question on our TMD Facebook page: “Which May Book patterns and/or colors are you most excited about for spring?” See? Super easy! Make sure and enter soon, the contest closes on…! We can’t wait to see who wins!

Here’s to making 2014 the best year yet! Cheers!

Born and raised in Southeast Texas, Jessica currently lives in Billings, Montana with her husband Tyler, and her one year old daughter Savannah. Jessica graduated from Texas Christian University where she studied Broadcast Journalism. (Go Frogs!) A writer, blogger, and fashion enthusiast, Jessica also owns her own business: Jessica Morgan Photography and Events. She loves everything about weddings, and is so excited to have joined the team at Tamara Menges Designs! She is expecting her second baby girl, Emma Kate, in March of 2014.