So now that the Times Square ball has dropped and we're all settled into the new year, there are a few easy ideas I want to share about the things I do to make my home ready for a new year and a fresh start. These are simple ways to get your home ready for the new year that will ensure your family life (and routine) is off to a smooth start.
- Organize, purge, and replenish writing instruments. At the beginning of the year, I go through the pencil cup we keep next to the fridge in our kitchen, and through the supplies box I keep in the kids' craft area and check it for things that need to be thrown out or replaced. I go through old pens and pencils to toss out the ones that no longer work or have erasers. If I find pencils that just need to be sharpened, I take all of them down for a visit with my trusty electric pencil sharpener, then put them back. We're also known to hoard mechanical pencils in this house so I will also replace lead and erasers at this time. I also do a cleanup of our Sharpies and washable markers, pitching old ones and replenshing them with new.
- Inventory and replace household sponges. I forget more times than not, to clean or throw away kitchen sponges after so many weeks of use. So, at the start of a new year, I make it a habit to go through what new sponges I have under my sink and replenish my inventory and/or replace ones if I need to. This includes the sponges we use at the sink for dishwashing, sponges for bathroom cleaning, and general purpose sponges like this awesome Scrub Daddy I've found I just can't live without! When I do remember to clean my sponge dishwands, it's nice that I can put them into the dishwasher with a load of dishes and have it cleaned and disinfected that way.
- Replace air and furnace filters. It seems like I am always forgetting when was the last time I replaced our air filter, but I've found a new way to keep track of it. In January of each year, I buy several at one time (we use these air filters by Filtrete) and put in a new one. Then, I set a reminder on my iPhone that will alert me every 60 or 90 days (depending on what I set it for), to swap our filter. Super easy and helpful. And, I try to be diligent about this task since it only takes a few minutes to do and saves money on our energy bills.
- Change the batteries in smoke detectors. This is likely something you do already, but a little reminder never hurts. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to swap out your smoke detector batteries. This is especially true if you've just reloated or moved into a new house since you may not know exactly when the batteries were last changed. It's also the perfect time to review your family's fire escape plan and meeting spot outside your home. Although we've lived in our home for nearly 12 years now, we still talk to our kids about the meeting spot outside our house should we ever need to get out in case of fire. It never hurts to go over things like this, especially when kids are involved.
- Throw out those old toothbrushes. I always buy toothbrushes when they are on sale and store them in a container along with extra toothpaste, underneath our bathroom counter. The beginning of the year is a good time to go through your bathrooms and replace all the toothbrushes. Ideally, they should be replaced every 3 months, so set a reminder for yourself to do it again in the spring. I also like to give my kids new toothbrushes after they've gotten over colds or illnesses just to be on the safe side.
- Clean out, purge, and replace kitchen spices. If you're like me, you tend to use some of the same spices over and over again. Those that you use most often may not need replacing, but the ones that you use seasonally or not as much, may have already expired. It's a good idea to go through the space rack/holder and throw out any old ones. You can then add those to your grocery list and replace them on your next trip out. Trust me, it feels good knowing that all of your spices are up-to-date and fresh when you're in the kitchen cooking for your family. The bonus is that your food will taste better with fresher spices, too.
- Replace bath and body sponges and mitts. In addition to the sponges you may use for cleaning around the house, you may also have bath and body sponges for shower use. Or, maybe your kids have bath mitts or sponges in their tubs. It's a good idea to replace these now, too, since they can harbor germs. Plus, who really wants to be bathing with last year's sponge?! Note to self: these also would make great stocking stuffers for next year's Christmas holiday! You'll already be one step ahead for NEXT year!
Do you have any other great ideas for getting your home ready and in order for the new year? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments.
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CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.