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The Only New Year's To-Do List You Will Ever Need

Don't just slide into the new year... march in with a bang by checking off some essential to-do's!

Every new year is a chance for a fresh start. We set resolutions and long-term goals for self-improvement in the hopes to live through a year better than the one before.

However, how many of us can admit that by February or March we've already strayed the course? By summer, forget about it: We've forgotten what are resolutions were altogether.

Well, here's a list of essential New Year to-do's that not only will improve your life instantly, but also give you a sense of accomplishment. Knocking these off your list will be as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Hold a Swapping Party-- This practice is an economical, eco-friendly and deliciously fun way to clean out your closet. If you’re like most people, a closet purge usually starts with throwing all of your used or unwanted goods into a black plastic bag and ends with a drop-off at the Goodwill or Salvation Army. Although this is an excellent way to recycle while give back, there’s another way you can recycle while also have a lot of fun: a swapping party!

2. Take down holiday decorations-- For some, letting go of the Christmas lights and holiday decorations in the New Year is one of the hardest thing to do. For one segment, it's difficult, because it is the only time of the year the house twinkles so pretty and certainly the only time you get to smell fresh pine. But for another segment we keep them up long after the expiration date because of one word: procrastination. Go ahead and set aside two hours in January on your day off to re-wrap the delicate ornaments, unstring the lights and chuck the Christmas tree before the dying pine needles become a nuisance. 

3. Shop post-holiday sales-- Forget Black Friday: THIS is the best shopping day of the year. Stores are liquidating their holiday stock and other extraneous inventory they ordered in abundance to prepare for Christmas. Also, although it's only January, department stores will begin making way for their spring inventory. Since winter just started, this is the ideal time to take advantage of sales on the winter wares you will use for at least another three months!

4. Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors-- People often forget about this until the devices begin blinking or beeping -- or worse -- when it's too late. Why not get a jump on it and just change everything in the house that needs batteries.

5. Discard expired foods and medicines-- Take this opportunity to discard any medications that expire in 2013. Throw out old makeup and cosmetic products and make a list of new items to buy. Also, take inventory of the refrigerator and freezer, cleaning out any items that are no longer recognizable or that are past the recommended expiration date.

6. Update/Refresh your social networking pages-- Now here's one for your 21st Century books! If you're on Linked-in, Twitter or Facebook, the New Year is no better time than any to update/refresh your resume information. It's also a good time to go through your "friends" list and trim the fat of those people who communicate only when they need something, are promoting a party or just want binoculars into your life. Update your pages! Trust me, you'll feel better!

7. Make a folder to store your tax paperwork-- Tax season is just around the corner. Use this time to collect relevant paperwork and begin filing away in safe place. Also, if you use an accountant to help file your taxes, call his or her office and book an appointment before his or her schedule fills up.

8. Clean the most-neglected corners of your home-- Only you know where those corners are. But here are some suggestions for a few universal areas we all tend to neglect throughout the year: behind the toilet, between your bathroom tiles, inside the microwave, in the stove, inside the refrigerator, underneath your bed and throughout your kitchen cabinets (meaning you will have to take everything out first and soap the shelves down). Set aside one Saturday or Sunday morning in January to just clean these neglected areas. The energy in your home will thank you for it!

9. Take a bubble bath-- Showers are great. But every now and then, we all need to soak! Go old-school, and treat yourself to a nice, steaming-hot bubble bath (that includes you too, men). Light some candles, pick a playlist on your iPod, dim the lights, step into those bubbles and watch the stress just melt away... Only requirement is that you stay in for at least 20 minutes-- long enough for your fingers to wrinkle!

Happy New Year!

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