The new year is the perfect time to reset, refresh and get organised.
A lot of us will have a few extra days to take advantage of. I personally love to take this time to relax and take it easy but, I find it’s the perfect time to get a head start on the year ahead.
There are so many simple yet effective ways to help make you and your family’s lives a little less stressful when starting the new year. I also love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I tick off my new year prep list!
If you’re not the most organised or want to maximise the short time you have to relax and unwind, I’d suggest keeping your list to 2 things. What are the 2 things nagging away at you the most that you really want to get on top of.
So, that’s essentially how I make my prep list. What thing has been annoying me the most. What task/s have I been putting off for months. What are my habitual tasks - things I have been doing at this time of year for years.
The idea is that it isn’t a specific declutter list or cleaning list etc. It’s just a list of random tasks I want to complete that matter most to me at the moment.
So, here’s my new year prep list I’m doing during the Christmas break.
1. Get a better rate on our mortgage
Sorry to be BORING straight up! I’m no financial planner or expert but I do monitor the interest rate on our mortgage like a hawk. Why? Because we have been saving for a while to buy our next home and it’s the quickest way to save some money.
Our rates have started to increase consistently over the last 12 months. So, I’ve already contacted our bank and asked them to match our rate to their current advertised rate. A saving of 0.7% off our current rate in one online enquiry and one email reply to the lender.
Just waiting for the paperwork to come through and make it happen in time for the new year.
2. Filing loose papers and paperwork
I’m talking about the everyday personal papers you accumulate over a few months or the whole year.
I actually put all papers and any paper bills straight into a magazine file in the pantry. I usually go through it every 3 months - bin or file. Since starting Siisti with Hayley, I’ve dropped the ball on some of this filing (and a few other things around the house!). So, I’ve just done a big 6 month catch up session.
This is one of my very good habits and I’m not prepared to let it come unstuck.
3. Sort and cull the toys
Every parent’s biggest pain in the ass. Toys! However, I secretly LOVE toys! I find it nostalgic. Seeing my kids play with my old toys brings back so many fond memories for me. So, I’ve been putting this off since my eldest was born (oops).
It has to be done now because now we have 2 kids and now we are running out of space (in a house that has plenty of storage). Both my kids have their birthdays right before Christmas, so it’s going to be toy overload this year.
Update - we have sorted and tidied the cubes to make some room. We donated 1 washing basket full and threw out two thirds of a washing basket. I also bought a new storage tub for my daughter’s bedroom, and put a shopping tote bag full of toys in the garage as a travel toy bag for when we go away. Some progress…
4. Descale my coffee machine
This morning I made myself a nespresso coffee and it tasted like filth. I added some sugar and drank it anyway. So note to self - I must descale my coffee machine TODAY!
On that note, I’m going to descale the washing machine at the same time. I bought the product to do it 3 months ago and never got around to that!
5. Plan our family holidays for 2019
With school holidays to think about, and family and close friends being interstate we need to think more about how we holiday. Trips anywhere from Canberra are so expensive so we can’t afford to do it on a whim.
Most of our trips are to Victoria to see family and friends, which isn’t very expensive when you drive and stay with family. However, my husband and I really want to be able to give our kids experiences as well make some great family memories of our own as they grow up. We didn’t get many family holidays growing up but think it’s important we make this happen for our kids, and also for our mental health.
We’ve worked out our budget for holidays. This week we will make early decisions about where we want to go each school holidays and for the long weekends. We’ll also start booking accommodation etc. to lock it in. All while we watch netflix and chill. Yaaas!
6. Refresh our school/work wardrobes
Two babies, baby weight and saving like crazy means my work wardrobe is looking extremely sad. A lot is not fitting as well as it used to (I’m sure you can relate). This is also something I’d like to make a yearly habit.
I am a capsule dresser for work attire as I’m not that into clothes and am really time poor. So I buy a few key pieces and some different tops to mix and match. I have 2 pairs of the same wedge heels in two different colours that I wear with every work outfit.
So, I’m going to review each item I own and either bin/donate/keep (and I will be ruthless). Next I’ll make a list of the pieces I need to replace. Then I’ll work through purchasing what’s on the list over a couple of months. Thank goodness for Afterpay!
I’ve already done this for hubby’s work wardrobe as he changed jobs two months ago. My daughter’s new uniform is already on laybuy at Lowes, ready to be picked up just before school goes back. Halfway there already!
7. Cull the baby clothes
In a similar vein to sorting the toys and my wardrobe, I really need to sort through the baby clothes.
We have space bags stuffed in the kids wardrobes and the linen and storage cupboards. I have kept EVERYTHING that wasn’t totally trashed from our eldest. Firstly, because we knew we would have a second child. Secondly, because we didn’t plan the first one I’m scared we might have another oops moment as soon as I get rid of it all.
However, we will be moving house soon and the thought of taking all this extra stuff with us gives me anxiety! I’ve ignored it for long enough and now is the time.
8. Organise my digital photos
It doesn’t matter have much extra storage capacity I get when I upgrade to a newer phone, I always run out of space. It probably wasn’t helped by the fact I had a new baby just over a year ago. So I’ve taken a lot of photos!
My laptop hard drive also died a couple of months ago. It had ALL my digital photos since 2004 on it. Yes, they were backed up on a separate hard drive but I still lost a few months of photos as I don’t back them up all that often.
So firstly, I need to move my photos and videos off my phone onto the laptop. Then I need to back this up to the hard drive STRAIGHT AWAY, no delays.
I used to use Dropbox as an extra backup option but I ran out of free space really quickly. The cost of a hard drive still works out to be much cheaper $ per GB than online cloud storage. Many high capacity hard drives no longer need a power outlet so it’s very easy to plug in and sync. I just recommend you make it a habit to do it at the same time!
9. Decide on a new years resolution
I decided years ago these are silly, vague and meaningless. Despite that, last year I decided to make a silly one for fun because I was going to be on maternity leave and at home with the kids for awhile. My resolution was to make/try 52 cocktails in a year. I have 1 to go.
I surprised myself by sticking with it. I’m also surprised how much of my friends and family have been following my cocktail posts with interest! So I’m going to come up with another fun one for 2019. Stay tuned!
10. Clean the barbecue
Well I’m going to at least try and get my husband to do it for me (fingers crossed!). We bought a new bbq as a present to ourselves last Christmas. I noticed a couple of days ago it’s pretty disgusting. The drip tray is close to overflowing. Now that I can’t unsee that, it needs to be done before Summer well and truly kicks in!
That’s a bit for you to ponder! Seriously though, I highly recommend a new year prep list. There’s no worse a feeling then starting the new year with a bunch of things hanging around from last year.
So, kick the stress, relax and take pleasure in some light duties to organise the things that matter most to you.
Have a great Christmas and New Year!