Make Time for Memories and Traditions


Less Clutter = Less to Manage.

Making time for memories and traditions can seem like a daunting task in the middle of our chaotic lives. For example, we have a lot to manage in our homes. Consequently, it leaves too little time for what is truly important. Several years ago, I realized that my house was so full of stuff. Too much to manage and deal with, leaving little time to spend with my family.

I spent the better part of two years purging our stuff with a much-needed de-clutter. During that time, we put our house on the market and ended up with two storage units. I thought I had de-cluttered everything. Until the night we had to be out of our home. 


Movers came to load the truck that morning. There was a reasonable amount left to pack. We had two vehicles to fill. One was a minivan, and it still didn’t all fit! I called my sister in a panic and asked if we could use her empty guest room just for the night. So there I was at 11 pm that night, taking a minivan full to her house. Then I came back and filled the van up again!

Where was it all hiding?!

We were a ridiculous sight at the lawyer’s office when we went to close on our new house the next day. Two vehicles loaded down with two dogs hiding in there somewhere. Try as I might, I can’t remember where the cat was! 

I can laugh about it now. But it was not funny that day.

Take Time to Make a Change

When we moved into our new home, a significant purge was necessary. My husband and I made countless trips to donate items to local thrift stores. 

It feels amazing!!!!! 

Keeping things clean is no longer a problem because we have less stuff. I spend time making memories with my family instead. During one of our vacations, our pet sitter and her family stopped by to take care of my cat. They looked around and noticed that there wasn’t any stuff lying around. Later they told me that they asked each other where all of our stuff was. 

They went home and started an immediate de-cluttering job of their own. My post on How to Clean in 15 Minutes will help you get ready to make memories and traditions with your family.

Time to De-clutter

I highly recommend a de-clutter. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. Sometimes it is a process. I am a perfect example of that. Fall is an excellent time to do a little here and there. Less clutter equals less overwhelm and more joy. 

Your family needs all three!

Whatever it is that you might be holding onto, let it go. Take a step towards a simpler life. You won’t regret it. More clothes, more gadgets, more décor, more furniture are all distractions. None of it will make you happy. It just makes you busier, taking care of all of your stuff. 

What can you eliminate to give you more time to make memories and traditions with your family? You could even get the family involved.

Have a Plan

The next step is forming a plan. My pastor talked a lot last year on deciding in advance how we will respond in certain circumstances. 

Planning is key

Decide now how you want the holidays to be. Talk to your family and find out their thoughts. Make a plan for what traditions need to stay and what might have run its course. 

And by all means, use the fancy dishes. Pull out the table cloth along with a centerpiece or candles. I did this last fall to surprise my family. It wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet, but the table was decked out as if for a party. 

No party, though. Just the five of us. 

Seek Special Occasions

We often save things for special occasions and, in the process, many times never end up using fancy dishes or festive candles. Your family, your lives together, and the memories you make, those are special occasions! 

Use fancy dishes for a special meal with your family.

Don’t wait for special occasions. Most importantly, make special occasions every week. Once you start to look for them, you will see opportunities everywhere! Have fun surprising your family! I highly recommend the book Memory Making Mom by Jessica Smartt. It helped me in my quest for more memories and traditions with my family.

An acquaintance of mine lost her 18-year-old daughter in a tragic car accident last August. Anna was on her way to her first day of college classes and was hit head-on by another driver. In the blink of an eye, the time with Anna here on earth was over. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. Tomorrow may not come.

Celebrate the Small Things

Make memories today.

Use the fancy dishes. 

Celebrate that it’s Friday with pizza and a movie. 

Or something I started this school year is a bacon, egg, and pancake breakfast on Saturday. I used to take Saturdays off and let the kids do their own thing. But my husband lost his best friend from college to a sudden heart attack. Suddenly, I needed to cook breakfast for my family every Saturday. 

I needed them to know that even though the weeks are long and often crazy busy, they still matter. 

They are loved. Immensely.

I’m not just cooking breakfast. Above all, I’m raising kids while making memories and traditions for them.

Let Go of Perfection

Do you ever get paralyzed by the fact that things won’t be perfect? So instead of imperfection, you do nothing? We all know life is not perfect, and yet we spend a great deal of time striving for just that. 

One perfect Christmas. 

A perfect birthday party. 

That perfect vacation. 

The perfect family photo. 

Nothing in life is perfect. But there are plenty of extraordinary memories and traditions to be made in the middle of our imperfect lives.

Don’t miss the time in between!!! It is SO important! I used to say, “when fall break comes, we can finally spend some time together. When Thanksgiving comes, we can relax. Well, Christmas is right around the corner, and we will have two weeks off together. Then we can make memories.” Another favorite was, “just three more months, and school will be out.” 

Just two more months. 

Just one more month.

Make Memories in the Middle of the Mundane

God convicted my heart on this. We had a busy year in 2019. As a result, we missed the closeness of family time. The temptation was there to will the time away, waiting for the holidays. 

I was waiting for all of the coming events where I could count on rest and reconnecting with my family. But I was wasting all of that time in between. The times in between important events or holidays are essential. Those days we wish away can be filled with simple memories and traditions with our family. 

There are small moments to be had even amid chaos if we are willing to look for them.

Mom and dad make memories with baby.

Sweet Memories are Where We Choose to Make Them

I stopped counting the days until holidays or other school breaks came. I stopped counting the days until summer vacation, too. What I found was that I enjoyed my son’s senior year so much more. We have memories from those times in between. We even took a break and went to the mountains in January. 

Our family made memories in the in-between time. It was a trip we will never forget.

A few ways to make memories and traditions with your family are to cook together, take a walk, read a book, or play a game. Another great way to connect is by sharing your favorite memories and traditions with each other.

Do you have a favorite family tradition? Let me know in the comments! I love to see how families spend time together.

Savvy tips for cooking, organizing and cleaning

Your savvy tip for today is to start your holiday preparation now! There is no time like the present, so de-clutter and clean all the things. I wrote a helpful post on How to Get Your House Ready for Thanksgiving. The great news is that once you do the work for Thanksgiving, you will be ready for Christmas, too!