Well, it’s a cliche, but the end of the year brings a rush of organizing and swearing you’re going to abide by a few new systems. You probably won’t, but you should ride the wave of new year’s motivation and use it to get stuff done. Here are five ideas for putting that resolute energy to good use.
1) Finally get those ornaments and other holiday decorations properly organized. This can mean designated ornament boxes (try the Container Store or use egg cartons), new labels, a better spot to store them and purging those popsicle stick God’s eyes your kid made thirty years ago that have completely unraveled. Along with this resolution is tossing the potentially hazardous Christmas lights. This is a great source for recycling them and benefiting a charity at the same time.
2) While you’re in deep evergreen needle vacuuming mode, go to town with the attachments. Really get into those corners, clear the cobwebs from the moldings on the walls, flip up the sofa cushions and suck up that old piece of popcorn and pet hair.
3) Clean up your finances. Hurry up and make those last minute write-off-able donations for 2014, and contribute to your Roth IRA and other savings if possible. If you have debt, make a plan for how you are going to take care of it in 2015. Research consolidation loans, take a long hard look at your budget and figure out what you need to cut to get the debt monkey off your back. Watch a few episodes of Extreme Couponing and get inspired. Every little bit will help.
While you’re at it, gather up your tax documents. While you’re doing that, figure out how to get rid of all this paper clutter and switch to digital bills and e-statements wherever you can.
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4) Speaking of a digital cleanup, here is one that is much more fun — sorting through your digital photos. Figure out what is a waste of space and ditch it. Upload photos you’d like your family to see to photo sharing services. Label your events so you can find things in the future, and be sure to use keywords. For example “soccer” or “Maine” or “costume” will help you find things in the future with ease. Send images to the cloud so you can save storage space on your devices.
Illustration by George Hughes for The Saturday Evening Post
5) Clean a closet. This is a big one but I promise, it is SO satisfying. Take everything out and thoroughly clean from the cobwebs on the ceiling and light fixture to the corners of the floor. Do not let anything back in that 1) doesn’t fit 2) doesn’t look good 3) you cannot remember the last time your wore. There are people who need these items more than you do. Donate these things to them and give your newly cleaned closet some breathing room.