I love the New Year. It means starting afresh to me. Everyone is so busy making resolutions at this time. I gave up on making those years ago. Starting off the year feeling like a failure is not a good way to start. I do try to make changes though. Changes for the better.
The new year always puts me in the mood for spring cleaning. Getting rid of the old and bringing in the new to the house is such a good feeling. It is also good busy work for the cold winter months here in Michigan. If you are going to be stuck in the house, why not freshen it up a bit?!
The first of the year is always a good time to schedule things. By that, I mean it is a good time to replace those neglected items. The ones that you take for granted and may forget to check.
- Batteries - Don't forget to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors! They are an important part of your house and often forgotten. Now is a good time to swap out the old batteries with new ones. Double check after replacing the batteries to make sure they work also. The detector itself may need to be replaced. Check with your local fire department to see if they have an exchange program for them. Some will exchange a broken detector for a new one. This is also a good time to replace the batteries in alarm clocks (used during a power failure) and programmable entry doors, including garage doors. Nothing like being late for work AND locked out when you least expect it.
- Filters - I used to change out the furnace filter in the spring and fall. I found that it was hard to remember to do this 3 minute task though. My solution was to do it in January and June. I found that this helped me to remember! It is quite simple to do. Simply pull out the old filter, which is usually located in an accessible spot and slip in the new filter. Choosing a filter for your family needs is essential, ie allergies, pets, etc. If you choose to go green, there are filters out there that you simply wash out and reinstall. They are a little bit of an investment though and pricier than the throw away filters. If you are on a well system for water, this is also a good time to replace your water filters also. Don't forget those vacuum cleaner filters either! I find my indicator light goes on on mine about twice a year and it is more convenient for me to rinse it out when I have time instead of when I am in a rush getting ready for company. Washers and dryers also need to have their filters cleaned and checked. Even though you may clean the dryer vent with each use, make sure there is not another harder to get to spot that can collect a build up of lint. A shop vac and/or a toothbrush is good for these spots.
- Linens - Once a year, I replace all the pillows and sheets. Washing takes a toll on sheets and they tend to get a bit dingy after all the weekly washings. Once every 3 months, I do pack up all the pillows, blankets and comforters and head to the laundromat to wash them.
- Carpets - Businesses are usually slow after the bustle of Christmas. Usually you can find good deals on whole house carpet cleaning. If this wasn't done for guests during the Christmas season, now is a good time to get it done. I have found that it is cheaper and, believe it or not, easier to roll up area rugs and take them to be cleaned. Even with occasional home cleaning, a good thorough cleaning will make your house feel and smell fresher.
- Curtains - Once a year it is good to take down curtains and drapes and have them cleaned. Don't forget about blinds either. Even if they get a weekly/monthly dusting, now is a good time to give them a thorough cleaning. Since the curtains are down, now is perfect to also clean windows and sills. You would be surprised at the dust that can collect on them.
- Junk Drawers - The dreaded junk drawer. I think everyone has one in there house. It is where all the little trinkets, found screws, extra pens and whatnot goes for lack of a better place. Purging this spot once a year is not really all that bad though.
- Cupboards - Canned foods and medications have expiration dates on them. I know when I go to grab them, rarely do I check the expiration dates. Anything that has expired, pitch it and make a list of things that need to be replaced.
- Calendars and address books - This one is kind of a no-brainer. Who doesn't change out their calendar at the 1st of the year? Remember though, before you throw it out, to mark any important yearly dates, ie anniversaries, birthdays, etc... Saving the envelopes from Christmas cards received is a great way to update your address book. If you find alot of outdated entries, it might be time to replace your book with a new one. The binder type of books are great as you can add and replace pages as needed.
It really feels good to get some tasks accomplished at the first of the year. Who needs resolutions when you have a "To Do List"?
Have a great New Year!