I had no idea how tough it would be to re-read some of these posts, especially the one in the top spot. 2020 was a difficult year for me... and most of it was before the global pandemic even began!
With the world thrown into chaos, we were all looking for a bit more stability and structure, and a streamlined, simplified schedule and space. It will come as no surprise, then, that the majority of my top 10 blog posts of 2020 focused on habits, routines, and living a more intentional life.
While some were definitely hard lessons to learn, it's time to reinforce the important ones as we start this new year.
The Top 10 HowToGYST blog posts of 2020
Of all the blog posts I published in 2020, these were the 10 that got the most page views. Click on the images to be brought directly to the post in question.
And thank you for reading them throughout the year.
10. 5 Photos: June 2020
This was a pretty personal post and, in re-reading it, I realise how far I've come in the few short months since. It's a welcome reminder that I'm capable of weathering tough storms, and that rainbows will always come after rain.
But boy did it pour that month!
I've considered starting these '5 Photos' posts back up in 2021. Is that something you'd like to see? Let me know in the comments.
9. Don’t Waste 2020! How To Reset Your Life & Get Back On Track With A Mid-Year Life Audit
This one was all about helping you clarify your priorities so that, even in the midst of a tough year, you could still come out swinging and finish strong.
And honestly, even though I've called it a mid-year audit, you can really do it whenever you like. It's particularly helpful if you've been through a rough time.
This post will help you re-group, do a hard reset, and get back on track.
8. Fun Thanksgiving Ideas • 18 Thanksgiving Activities With A Free Thanksgiving 2020 Download
I was honestly surprised to see this one in the top 10. It must have been the free download that drew people in their droves! Or maybe we all just needed a little fun in an otherwise fraught year.
It also taught me that the dangly part of a turkey's beak is called a snood. You learn something new every day!
Anyway, this was full of easy, family-friendly Thanksgiving activities that did NOT require crazy levels of crafting or decorating.
Probably not one you'll be calling on in the immediate future, but now would be a great time to pin it to one of your Pinterest boards for future reference.
7. How To Adult • 9 Essential Life Skills You Need To Know
Welcome to Adulting 101 where I take you through the things you need to know to earn your adulting badge. It's all the things you should have learned in school (but didn't).
Not only are these life skills the hallmark of adulthood, they'll also save you a boatload of money... and may even save your life!
Yup, with these skills you'll be a fully functioning and financially frugal human in no time.
You're welcome. 😉
6. Want To See FAST Decluttering Results? Take the #ClutterFreeIn5 Declutter Challenge
This challenge was insanely popular over the summer/autumn (and still is), racking up thousands of participants. It shows you how to declutter different spaces in your home in just 5 minutes.
Knowing firsthand how overwhelming decluttering can be I wanted to give you a jumpstart decluttering guide to get FAST results with SMALL, manageable steps.
With daily prompts and a workbook, #ClutterFreeIn5 is the next best thing to having a professional organiser come to your home.
And it's all completely free!
You can join in at any time, so click the image to follow along for my top decluttering tips and advice, and learn how to declutter your home in just 5 minutes a day.
5. At-Home Activities To Keep Kids Occupied During Coronavirus
You don't need to be in the middle of a global pandemic to benefit from this one. It's full of great activities to keep the kids amused while you do whatever it is you need to do (even if that's just sitting in silence, staring off into space).
This one's a great sanity saver.
4. 7 Pandemic-Specific Things To Declutter Right Now
Decluttering was a MASSIVE pandemic trend, but you also accumulated a lot of stuff you might never have had in your home before, like masks and jigsaw puzzles.
And it wasn't just physical stuff either, 'cause chances are you subscribed to some form of streaming service during the summer too (*cough* Disney+ *cough*).
You've seen the standard decluttering lists but I wanted to put together a pandemic-specific one for all those new and unusual things that crept into your home in 2020.
And now for the top 3:
3. A Simple Switch For BREAKING Bad Habits
2020 was so long that I don't even remember writing this one. Ha ha.
Sometimes I look back at old posts and am pleasantly surprised by how much I like them and how proud I am that I wrote them. This is one such post.
It's a simple mindset shift that's made all the difference to me when it comes to breaking up with bad habits and embracing a better lifestyle.
I don't always practice it perfectly, of course, but when I do it makes the whole process much easier.
2. 2020 Christmas Gift Ideas • The Ultimate Clutter-Free Christmas Gift Guide
I think 2020 was a year when many of us learned how truly important friends and family are. While we always knew it on some level, it was thrown into sharp relief when Covid kept so many of us apart.
As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this past year we were focused more on the true meaning of gift giving. Many of us wanted to make or remember precious memories.
This post shares a long list of gifts that won't sit around cluttering up someone's home, but will instead create a lasting impression that will show your recipient how much you truly care.
As with the Thanksgiving post, this one's worth pinning for future reference.
And then *drumroll please* we have the 2020 blog post that got the most page views:
1. This Is Why I Disappeared – A Personal Update
I started writing this post on layover in Toronto airport on my way home to Ireland. (I had no idea that it would be the last time I would be home for quite a while. In fact, I still haven't been back to date.)
My 2020 got off to a really bad start, and many of you noticed that I had basically disappeared off the face of the internet. Long story short, my father was very ill and the future looked grim.
My uncle also sadly passed away after battling cancer.
I had a fight on my hands with immigration to let me leave the US, leading me to a bit of an emotional meltdown in a waiting room in downtown Cincinnati. It was a low point.
Thankfully, things aren't quite as bad as we feared in terms of my father's health, but it's still been a tough time for me and my family and, ultimately, not a wonderful diagnosis.
Plus, the potential hereditary nature of the illness means I have to be tested for it annually now too.
All in all, though, I'm just so grateful he's still with us. And while the pandemic has kept me from seeing him for a year (and counting), it also meant he could work from the comfort of home.
I'll be totally honest with you, the pandemic has had very little impact on my daily life. I work from home and enjoy my own company, so my regular routines continued as normal.
But re-reading these old posts makes me realise that I didn't come out of 2020 entirely unscathed. It was a tough year in so many ways, and so much of what happened can't be undone.
Some scars won't heal.
But for the wounds that don't go too deep, I hope 2021 brings healing.
As always, my posts in this new year will revolve around designing a life you love through stripping away all the unimportant stuff and focusing on what's truly meaningful to you.
After 2020, I think we're all ready for that.
What's a lesson from 2020 you're carrying into the new year?
And psst! Click here to see the top 10 HowToGYST videos from 2020. They'll help kickstart your new year so you can get back in the swing of things and smash those goals once and for all.