Ah, January. The start of a fresh, new year. A time for resolutions, a time to make new goals and a time to do all that stuff that you put off last year. (Also – put your Holiday decorations away already, would ya?)
Here are some of the things you should try to accomplish in January, which should get you set up and ready to embrace the rest of the year. After all, it’s freezing cold outside so what better time to stay indoors?
In Your Kitchen:
Sharpen your knives and clean your knife block. This is something that most of us don’t think to do on even a semi-regular basis, but should be done. And cleaning your knife block is simple – just use the hose on your vacuum and suck the crumbs out. (You could also use a pipe cleaner to get down into those crevices and clean them out.)
Organize/clean out your junk drawer. We all have one – don’t pretend like you’re the one person who doesn’t. Pare down the items you don’t use on a weekly basis and find another spot for those things. But the things you do use often (batteries, pens, notepads, scissors, letter opener, etc.)? Get a small bin made for a drawer (or more than one, depending on how much junk you have) and organize that stuff.
De-gunk your dishwasher. Seriously – if it stinks, it needs to be deep cleaned. A common trick of the trade for this is to start with an empty dishwasher and put a dishwasher-safe container filled with two cups of white vinegar on the top rack and then run the machine through a hot water cycle (without any detergent). Once the cycle is over, put a bit of baking powder on the bottom of the machine and run a short cycle. Goodbye, stink.
In Your Closet:
Invest in new hangers (think wooden or flocked – no wire hangers!) to organize your clothes. You can really up the ante and go for a color-coded hanger system – think red for sleeveless tops, blue for short sleeved tops, purple for pants, etc. But even if you pick plain old tan hangers, trust me – your clothes will thank you (and won’t fall onto the floor).
In Your Bathroom:
Get rid of any old, expired travel products. You’ll create more space in your bathroom/hall closet and will be able to better tell what you DO need to stock up on for that next vacation.
Change out that old, nasty shower liner. I like to do this once a year. And hey – if your bathroom is looking tired or you just don’t like the look of it anymore, get a new shower curtain while you’re at it. It’s an easy way to change the look of a room you spend quite a bit of time in.
In Your Living Room:
Launder or dry-clean throw blankets. Febreze only goes so far, trust me. And if your pillows are more sunken in than fluffy, get new ones. You can always get the pillow covers and the inserts separately – that way you can change them out throughout the year and not have to store a bunch of fluffy pillows in that hall closet, only the covers.
Dust your baseboards. If this isn’t something you do on a regular basis (and if it is, I’m impressed), you’ll want to get on this now and stay on top of it throughout the year. It’s amazing how much dust can accumulate on these bad boys.
In Your Bedroom:
Declutter your nightstands. This makes a world of difference. I recently did this and it’s much more peaceful looking. Only keep the essentials there – for me, it’s lavender pillow spray, hand lotion, a bowl full of hair ties/bobby pins/earrings/whatever I forgot to remove in the bathroom before bed, and a good book. Granted things will build up over time, but try to declutter this area at least once a week.
Buy new pillows! If you fold your pillows in half and they don’t spring right back into shape, it’s time to upgrade. Nothing puts a nasty crick in your neck like sleeping on sagging pillows. Indulge here – you’ll be happy you did (and so will your neck).
Clean out your closet. If it’s more than a size too big or too small, get rid of it. If you haven’t worn it in more than a year, get rid of it. If those shoes only match that one dress and nothing else in your wardrobe, get rid…ok, ok. Let’s not get crazy here. But anything else, give it to a friend, a family member or donate it. If it’s a piece that holds sentimental value or you just really adore those black sequin pants from the 90's, then get a Tupperware container and put those items in there. Then, store that container somewhere out of the way (in the back of the closet, the basement, etc.).
Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. With more heater use and wood fires in the fireplace during this time of the year, it’s especially important to make sure those smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Use the test button on each device, and change the batteries as needed. (You should technically do this once every three months, so start the new year off right and get on it.)
Change your furnace filters. You should do this every three months as well, so do this when you check your smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors. You can buy a pack of filters at any local hardware store so you’ll be stocked up for the year.
Make a list of all the birthday and anniversary cards to send for the year. Mark them on the calendar and stock up on your next shopping trip. This might seem trivial, but it’s a life saver when you realize you need a birthday card for little cousin Jimmy’s 5th birthday and you’re already running late and there aren’t any stores on the way. Trust me.
These are just a few of the things you can do to get your new year off to a good start. Remember, clearing out clutter and clever organization is key. Now go wipe down your baseboards and have a great 2018!
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