Seasons come and seasons go, but they are not totally defined by holidays or weather. The holiday season of 2012-13 is now history, and we've already moved on to the next one. And no, it is not the ski season, or the season of frigid weather. Well, of course there is that too. But what is a big determinant of our behavior right now is what traditionally happens at this time of year. And we need only look as far as newspapers and magazines to figure that out.

This is the time of year known for good sales, time to shop the "January white sales," and to respond to the great bargains in the furniture stores. So we could call it the sales season. But in addition, the January issues of magazines tout articles about how to get everything organized, and the newspaper ads reinforce that by being filled with good deals on anything you might conceivably need that would help us get our houses in order.

I happen to love containers, maybe because I would love to be really organized. I live in the hope that owning a lot of attractive containers will motivate me along with that process. So I do scrutinize those January ads in search of anything new that might be helpful. The only problem is that they don't organize themselves, so I still have several things that would certainly serve the purpose, if someone would just fill them and find the right place for them.

And every year, right on schedule, I vow to not spend another year wishing it would happen. I am a little pleased to report that since the start of this season, both of us at this house have been working on the seeming mountains of stuff we have stashed away. I think we finally are admitting that we no longer need to save much at all.

One of the tasks I have undertaken is cleaning out the office storage closet. And it is likely a good example of why I don't make rapid progress. I go through my greeting card files and have to read every card in them. One of my favorites is rather poignant, given my thoughts this morning: on the outside is someone working with stacks of boxes, some open, some not, but obviously she's packing the holiday stuff to save for another year. Inside the caption reads "May the spirit of this most glorious month find you and yours reorganizing your closets. Merry January." I love that card, and cannot bear to part with it.

Another one that I had to stop and laugh about was in the "anniversary" section. On the outside is a photograph of an old, and old-fashioned, couple. Below the photo it says "You know, the secret to a happy marriage is how often you say those three little words..." and inside it continues "...let's eat out!" I remember buying that one for someone specifically, but for an unknown reason it did not get sent. I guess I am saving it now for someone else.

Many of those cards are very old. One on the outside says "80 calls to return, 80 letters to answer, 80 bills to pay, 80 errands to run, 80 things to fix, 80 dishes to do, 80 projects to finish, 80 clothes to wash, 80 problems to solve." The drawing is a frustrated woman buried up to her neck in "stuff." On the inside it says "Greetings from a woman of the '80s." I guess it was too good to send then, and if I changed it to this decade, it somehow wouldn't send much of a message: "13 calls to return....."?

Another even older one is from the '70s. Blank inside, on the front is a drawing of a woman who has just slain a huge dragon. She is standing by it with her sword and Viking helmet, one hand on her hip and one leg on the head of the dragon. Looking on is a man in similar Viking attire, holding his tiny little prize up by its tale. The caption: "A woman has to do twice as much as a man in order to be considered half as good. Fortunately, that isn't too difficult." Hmmmm, I think that card is still timely, even if it is an old one.

Going through those old cards has not entirely been a waste of time. I did find another one that has never been sent that I will use this year for Valentine's Day. That's something that I have to plan early because we will be out of the country then, and so I need to take an appropriate card along with me. On the front of this one is a close-up of a monkey's face. She is grinning, and has on bright red lipstick. Her hair is also red, sticking straight up all around her scalp like a halo. The caption inside is "By now it's safe to assume you love me for more than my cuteness. Happy Valentine's Day."

Finding at least one card to permanently remove from that file sort of - just sort of - justifies spending time to read all of them.

Oh, and I did find another one: a belated birthday card reminded me that I forgot a friend's early January birthday. This one really describes me: "I have an open mind...My memory keeps falling out of it." So true.