I always love the New Year! There’s something exciting about a fresh, new start. I also love the days I have between Christmas and New Year’s to get ready. For fun, I thought I’d share some of the tasks I will be tackling to get my mind and home ready for the new year. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it may help get you started in considering your own to-do list.
Task #1: Order the Family Photos for the Year
Back in January, I shared how I successfully completed my 2016 resolution of organizing all our family photos! It was a lot of work and a project I’m incredibly proud of. To build on that, my goal is going to be to print out and update our family albums once at the end of each year. In my computer’s files, I create a folder for the year, with subfolders for important events (such as school events, kids sports, and vacations). Over the past few days, I’ve been uploading these to Shutterfly in a single album I’m labeling “2017.”
If you are behind in dealing with your family’s photos, I encourage you to simply start with this past year. It will be easier to work backwards than say, starting at 2002 and trying to work forwards! You might want to read more about how I organized my family’s photos if this is a task on your list, too.
Task #2: Organizing the Home Files and Office
The end of the year is a good time to clean up your home office and files! Finish sorting any outstanding mail, purge and shred older documents, and create files for the year ahead. You’ll head into the New Year feeling on top of your finances and important paperwork.
Incidentally, several years ago my friend Kelly helped design some wonderful home files for me (pictured above) and this system still works! If your important papers aren’t in order, I’d really encourage you to make it a goal now. We recently had to apply for a loan and it only took minutes for me to gather all the important documents I needed because everything was in order. There have been other times it’s been extremely beneficial to be able to put my hands quickly on home owner’s documents, paystubs, or past car repair invoices.
Task #3: Buying and Filling out a New Family Calendar
Quite a few years ago now, my husband and I started this end-of-year tradition that’s just “stuck.” We buy a large laminated wall calendar and tape it up to the back of our pantry door. He gathers up some colored dry erase markers and begins plotting out important dates including: his work schedule (which varies), kids’ sports games and tournaments, birthdays & anniversaries, and vacations.
While many people use their phones for appointments (we do as well), it’s nice to have a big colorful calendar to eyeball the year at a glance. We tend to go to a local office supply store to get ours, but I noticed that there’s a similar one selling on Amazon for less money than we usually pay.
Task #4: Putting Away the Decorations and Doing a Thorough House Clean
I like to start the new year fresh and for me that means a clean, clutter-free house! I personally like taking the Christmas stuff down almost as soon as Christmas is over (I’ve been known to do this frequently on December 26th!). I understand that many people enjoy having their décor up past New Year’s, and that’s fine. But the decorations seem to create a cluttered look and I find I can only tolerate them through Christmas. (Sorry if that makes me a Grinch!)
Either way, because I’m less busy during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I find I tend to have more time and energy to clean. This is a good thing, because there’s always stuff to clean and declutter!
Task #5: Update your Addresses
Before you file away those Christmas cards: take the time to update your address book! I manage mine on a simple Excel spreadsheet. It will take you mere minutes to do it right now, and you’ll be so glad you took the time next year!
Task #6: Starting Taxes
I know, I know. Taxes might seem like the last thing you’d like to tackle before the end of the year. But I think there is good reason to start them now! With a few days left before 12/31, you still have time to evaluate your finances to see if there are any last-minute deductions you can sneak in for your home or business. Make a charitable contribution, get a final project done to the house, make an additional deposit to your retirement account.
I actually like getting a jump start on my taxes because it’s one of those dreaded annual chores for me. My future self is always grateful to find things in good order.
I’d love to hear what tasks you like to do to get ready for the New Year! Do you do any of the ones I’ve mentioned above? Or maybe, something else? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below!