9 things on my new year’s checklist

New Year's Checklist

There’s nothing scary or imposing about a checklist. Checklists are short, easy to follow, and you get immediate feedback (checkmarks! crossed out tasks!) when you finish something on your list.

Instead of writing idealistic new year’s resolutions, and then feeling guilty because you start to break them far too quickly, let’s make new year’s checklists instead.

Here’s a list of 9 easy things we can do to start off the new year right. Most of them are quick, practical, and easy to finish, and I’ve divided them into home, work, and money reminders.

Home
* Update your first aid kit. The American Red Cross offers a checklist for your first aid kit. Just remember to replace expired contents and flashlight batteries.
* Clean out your medicine cabinet. Throw out expired medicine. Do not give them to anyone else! In Hawaii, wait for a Prescription Drug Take-Back event or check your local CVS/pharmacy. If there are no medicine take-back programs in your area, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests mixing expired medicine with unpalatable trash like used coffee grinds, scraping the prescription label off the bottle, and throwing it in the household trash.
* Purge your pantry. Group similar items together (canned meats, fruits and vegetables, baking supplies, paper goods). Throw out damaged or expired food. If there are unexpired foods that you know you won’t eat, donate them to the Hawaii Food Bank.

Work
* Unclutter your inbox. Unsubscribe from unnecessary email newsletters, alerts, and news feeds.
* Make sure that you receive a W-2 from your employer or a 1099-MISC if you are an independent contractor by January 1, 2014. It’s also a good idea to review your tax withholding if there has been a change in your family situation.
* Do your own job performance review, especially if your boss doesn’t give you one – or if you are your boss. What do you like about your job? If you like your job, what can you do to challenge yourself? If you don’t like your job, what can you do to make your job more enjoyable? Do you have ideas to save time or money for your company?

Money
* Create a bill-paying calendar to remind you when utility bills, loan payments, taxes, estimated taxes, and tax forms are due. If you have them, don’t forget to add homeowners fees, semi-annual property taxes, car and home insurance, auto loan, student loan, and mortgage payments. If you’re ambitious, you can budget birthday, special occasion, and holiday gifts too.
* Fund your retirement. If your company offers a 401k plan, make adjust your contributions to maximize the company matching, if available. If you have an IRA, you can make 2013 contributions through April 15, 2014.
* Check your credit report.  You can get a free annual credit report from each of the major credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.

For more checklists to help you simplify your life, Real Simple Magazine offers checklists for everything from food and beauty to household, and holidays. The Simplify 101 blog offers a year of organizing checklists. For photography enthusiasts, the Simple as That blog even offers inspiring photo checklists to help you capture amazing pictures.

What is on your checklist for January? How do you set the tone for the whole year?

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