New Year Necessities

If you have been a faithful reader of North On Harper then you know what’s coming next.  WOOOHOOOO!!!! The STEELERS are going to the Super Bowl!!!!!!  To say I am ecstatic does not do justice to my current emotional state.  I am thrilled!!!!! WOOOHOOOOO!!!!

Steelers Win AFC

image from flickr user tmichaelmurdock.

Alright, all that is wonderful, but I know not everyone is a Steelers fan, so I will get to my post. (Like my husband, who is still tending his broken NY heart…)

It’s January, and beyond being the NFL playoffs, it is also a time to get your life in order- especially now that you’ve broken all of your silly resolutions and you can begin to focus on much more attainable goals.  So, instead of crawling back under the covers for a few more months of hibernation (I am giving myself a pep talk here), why don’t you take advantage of the perfect time to set up for a fruitful year ahead??!

To be honest I didn’t get this kick in the productivity rear without help.  I was inspired by some of our friends who started their herb garden today.  And it got me thinking. “They are going to have lovely fresh chives, basil and mint for the rest of the year!”  And I realized, I too want the fresh herbs- or atleast the payoff of addressing the year’s task before it gets too late.  From the small projects to the big ones, tackling assignments now means you don’t spend the year trying to catch up.

Personal organizer with metallic ring binder

photo by Flickr user Horia Varlan.

So, I put together a list of things that should be tackled before the close of January:

Rotate Your Mattress: Seems simple, but it is important if you want the mattress to last.  This is something you should do twice a year.  Once it’s the spin (where the head becomes the foot and vice versa) and the second time (assuming you mattress doesn’t have an attached pillow top) is the flip.  Now is also a great time to make sure that your sheets, mattress pads, etc are in good condition.  If you need to replace them take advantage of the season’s many white sales.

Clean Out Your Pantry: The process is similar to the closet clean I discussed a few month back (Closet Case).  You start by taking everything out of the closet.  Next, check the date on everything.  It’s easy to forget those packets of yeast at the back of the pantry.  And if the next time you go to make pizza your dough doesn’t rise, you are going to be pretty frustrated (can you tell I am speaking from personal experience?!).  Toss item that have expired.  Then you can return items to your pantry.  Make sure to do this in an organized fashion.  Canned goods with canned goods, cereal with cereal, etc.  My two favorite elements for an organized pantry?  Oxo containers and a label maker.  Lifesavers.

Set Financial Goals: Start the year off with a clear financial plan for 2011.  Give yourself goals and stick to them.  Make sure you create a budget for yourself.  A great (FREE) tool is, it will help you generate a spending plan and lets you see where your money is going.  Another important financial step is to get your 2010 taxes done early.  Don’t wait until 13 April!  The sooner you do the paperwork the sooner you get to put 2010 behind you.  So make sure you collect those 1099s, W-2 and all other paperwork right away.

Check Your Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors are on the list of things you forget about until you really need them.  The reality is we are supposed to check that they are operational once a month.  I am going to be honest, this is one of the things I need to be more conscious of this year.  I have a feeling I am not the only one.  So start off the year on the right foot.  Make sure you have a detector on every level of your homes as well as outside all bedroom doors.  Typically the batteries only have to be replaced once a year, so planning the task for a date in January is a great way to start the year of safely!

Get A New Calendar: If you haven’t already, go buy your 2011 calendar.  Right Now!  Don’t be the person who waits for it to go on sale in May.  Keep yourself scheduled from the onset.  And before you throw out 2010’s version, make sure to transcribe all of the important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) into your new calendar.  This way you won’t have to spend a month calling mom and scrolling through Facebook trying to remember whether your cousin’s birthday is on the 7th or the 17th of March.

Hope these suggestions are helpful!  What other examples of how to start the year off on the right foot?


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