As part of my January "cleaning bug" I'm going through all my old magazines. I loved getting Martha Stewart Living in my mailbox every month, and one of my favorite sections was the Gentle Reminders in the front. But... I have to declutter. Here are some of my favorite (and applicable) reminders from 5 years of January's. Maybe they will inspire you as well.
- Clean up your computer. Organize your electronic documents by making folders for related files, and transfer photos to CDs, DVDs, or an external hard drive to free up memory in your computer.
- Reduce unnecessary clutter. For example, transfer your collection of compact discs to an MP3 player, and give the music CDs to a library or a nursing home.
- Pare down kitchen supplies. Donate items you never use, such as that wok you received last Christmas, and stash infrequently needed supplies in out-of-the-way cabinets and on less-accessible shelves.
- Rank and file. Prepare for tax season. Be on the lookout for end-of-year bank statements, W-2 forms, and other important documents arriving in the mail this month, and set them aside in one folder to bring to your accountant.
- Up to date. Check the expiration dates on your driver's license, passport, car registration, gym membership, and insurance policies, and take care of any necessary renewals.
- Update calendars and planners. Take time to make appointments for annual physicals, biannual dental exams, and so on.
- Freshen your garbage disposal. Make white vinegar ice cubes and run them through your disposal. This will deodorize it and sharpen the blades. Another option is to grind citrus peels while pouring boiling water down the drain.
- Conduct a household inventory and catalog all valuables. This will help you file a claim with your insurance company should any of these items be stolen or damaged in a fire or a natural disaster. Photograph jewelry, electronics, and the like; store the pictures, along with any relevant records (such as receipts, appraisals, or certificates) in a fireproof safe or a safe-deposit box.
- Keep your insurance up to date. Notify your agent of major purchases, such as electronics, appliances, jewelry, and art, as you may need increased coverage. Ask about discounts; your insurer may offer a reduced premium for a new security system or multiple policies.