The New Year is upon us! Each new year brings about many changes, and helps us let go of the burdens of the previous year. Take a look at these easy projects that can assist you in starting the year fresh and prepared!
Get Rid of your Old Junk
We’ve all got clutter. Those shoes you wore once, that sweater your aunt gave you that just isn’t flattering, they can all go. Chances are that you can find many things you will likely never use again lurking in closets or on shelves. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t thought to use the item in the last two years, you probably will not use or wear it ever again. Libraries will often gladly take donations of old books and movies. Your local thrift stores will gleefully take your lightly-loved clothing items, kitchen gadgets, children’s toys, or knickknacks.
If you are particularly attached to some of these items, consider packing them for storage. You don’t have to say goodbye to these items forever, but maybe you can eventually find a home for the items you can’t bear to part with. Moving.com’s Storage Finder is a great resource to find affordable off-site storage in your area and budget! You can always revisit these things later and decide if they still fit into your life.
Prepare your Yard for Spring
We still have a couple chilly months left before Spring brings more light and warmth into our lives. Your yard and gardens may look brown and dreary now, but this is the perfect time to get things ready for the growing season! Take advantage of a dry day to get out there. Make sure to take care of any dead growth from flowers, pull any departed annuals from beds and pots. Take a look at your shrubs and trees and decide now which branches to cull after the frost is gone. Start plotting out new places to add plants, bulbs, or flowers now – you can even use little garden markers to remind you of your design choices later. By thinking ahead, you will be able to spend more time adding things to your yard!
This is also a great time for bigger yard projects that don’t involve digging. Above-ground planter boxes can be built and prepared with fresh soil. Stepping stones or cute weather-resistant decorations can be added into areas that you usually have to fight vegetation for during the warmer months. If you feel really ambitious, installing ground cover like wood mulch or gravel can be done now while skipping the task of struggling against constantly-growing grass!
Get those Home-Improvement Tasks Done
If the weather isn’t so great, you can take advantage of your inside time by knocking out bigger home-improvement projects. New paint can liven up any drab looking room, while replacing outdated lighting fixtures can create a lovely focal point. Your worn out carpet can be replaced with new cushy piling, or even long lasting hardwood flooring (which can be installed yourself if you are crafty!). Take a look at your window coverings; old blinds or drapes can be replaced with beautiful accents to bring new life to your home.
We know dusting isn’t the most invigorating chore, but now is a great time to get dirty. Once you finish dusting a shelf or entertainment center, you will step back and feel so much better. Don’t neglect your ceiling fans and vents either – cleaning these will also help decrease dust that deposits around your home! Your window coverings also likely need some attention (just be sure to check out recommended cleaning tips so they aren’t damaged). Taking care of these little finicky cleaning tasks now will give you a sense of achievement and you won’t need to worry about getting them done later.
Restructure your Budget
Many of us just recovered after the season of gifting and are cringing over our bank accounts. With the new year, it’s a great time to look over your finances and determine where changes can be made. Break down your monthly expenses and try to find places you can save. If you don’t use a streaming service often (or only log in to binge new seasons of your favorite show yearly), consider dropping it and only subscribe for the months you will use it. Consider opening a savings account for smaller weekly or monthly deposits that you can use for fun things or holiday spending ($15 bucks a week will go a long way), you can skip your morning Starbucks if it means having more money for fun!
Building a budget around healthy spending habits will go a long way throughout the year. There are several budget tools online that can help you get started toward a brighter financial year. It only takes three months to make new practices a habit.