5 simple tasks to help get a jump on another new year

The Christmas presents sit unwrapped under the tree, the decorations begin to find their way back into boxes, and the cookies quickly disappear from the kitchen. You’ve packed as much merry and bright into the season as possible. In the midst of your post holiday glow, it begins to dawn on you.

There’s a whole lot of mess to clean up. Lights need packed away for another year. Your kitchen needs some serious attention after preparing all of those holiday meals. Duplicate and ill-fitting gifts need returned. And new toys need assembled then placed in new homes. The mere thought of the task at hand can paralyze us into inaction. However, these five simple tasks will give you a jump on 2016, tying your holiday season up in a neatly wrapped bow.

Clean out your fridge

Spend 20 minutes examining and emptying your refrigerator. Eventually, leftovers migrate to the back of your fridge where they grow colonies of unwelcome mold. A quick clean out will help you use up items about to expire and ditch those already past their prime. This act will also help you manage your resources well, seeing where you need to stock up in the new year.

Reconcile checkbook

It’s easy for your purse and wallet to become cluttered with an endless supply of register receipts. Now is the time to clear through those teeny pieces of paper, keeping those that are necessary and ditching (or shredding) those that are not. Be sure you keep excellent records, reconciling your expenditures in your checkbook. Don’t begin January without a careful report of how much money you have.

Take account of Xmas cash

Score a gift card to your favorite restaurant from Grandma? Did you mom sneak some cold, hard cash in your stocking? Be sure to gather your holiday blessings into one place and formulate a plan. Avoid the temptation of squandering your gifts. Instead, use gift cards for practical needs or formulate a plan to use restaurant gift cards for date nights or special occasions. Put cash gifts first and foremost toward paying off any debt you may have. Use any additional funds to purchase items you need. It’s OK to splurge a little but when you can, leverage your dollars to make the best impact on your finances.

Declutter and donate

As you put away the gifts you and your family received this holiday season, be sure to declutter and donate an equal or greater or number of items. If you received a new sweater, find one in your wardrobe to give away. As you stow away new toys in the closet, select a few lesser played with items to pass along to someone else. You may even choose to sell larger items online. If you don’t exercise restraint, you’ll end up with a home stuffed to the gills. Out with the old and in with the new (year).

Set 3 attainable goals

I’ll be honest. I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Studies show most Americans barely make it through the first two weeks of January before breaking theirs. You don’t need a new calendar year to begin living the life you long to have. Most resolutions focus on deprivation – losing weight, drinking less, spending less. Instead, set some goals that focus on something you want to do in 2016. Be sure the goals are specific, measurable, and attainable. Start small, setting only three goals. Once you achieve those (because I know you can!), set three more goals.

Your new year is ripe with potential. Pause to clear away any post holiday clutter, organizing to maximize the days ahead. You’ll be better prepared to achieve your goals with only a bit of forethought and really a mere afternoon’s worth of action.