Here we are, on the edge of the annual change over, this time from 2022-2023.

If you are susceptible to these sorts of things — and I am — you’re probably identifying a list of productive, “new me” things to do. With the caveat that 1. everyone considering “new me” should perhaps consider “adjusted me” instead, as it’s far more realistic and 2. these things are better done in small stages rather than the whole shebang, I present the following list of things that are approachable, productive, and can be timeboxed:

  1. Charity Review: This time of year, you get entreaties from ALL of the nonprofits you’ve ever given to. Use it to weed and be thoughtful of your beneficiaries, and also remind yourself for upcoming tax season.
  2. Paperwork Cleanup: Speaking of which, unless you have some peculiar tax scenarios and/or routinely get audited, you can probably axe your 2013 and older returns.
  3. Paperwork Cleanup, Part II: And while you’re at it, consider going through your filing cabinets and recycling (or shredding) any documents no longer useful. For example, we had an Owner’s Manual to a Sears Leaf Blower no one has seen for ten years.
  4. Clothing Cleanup (Extended): Weeding isn’t just for papers – flip the hangers on all your clothes so the bulb of the hook is facing *away* from you in the closet. As you wear something, you can set it with the bulb *towards* you. At the end of the year, anything facing away still, was not worn, and can get weeded.
    • Also, no you aren’t going to wear that sweater that you bought on impulse but was too short/too boxy/too long/too deep/etc. Let someone else wear it, or (if you’re feeling adventurous) refashion it into something you would wear.
    • Sunk Cost Fallacy is a thing.
  5. Email Armament: You also probably have an inbox full of emails from everyone you’ve ever transacted with, telling you about their sales.
    • You can unsubscribe (every one of those mails *should* have a link at bottom to do so) – opting out of “marketing emails” is separate from “not getting receipt emails”.
    • Then (if you’ve got the inclination) set up inbox rules to handle inbound email receipts, newsletters, etc.
  6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:
    • Your holiday lights can be recycled at select locations (for example where I live, McClendon’s Hardware lets us do that) – because you and I both know that you of Next Holiday Season is going to be upset with you of This Holiday Season for not getting rid of the lights that have the inexplicable dead zone halfway through the strand.
    • Your unopened toiletries of the scents and types you don’t like anymore but still insist on keeping under the sink can be donated to your local shelters.
    • Your old prescription glasses can be donated at your local Costco Optical.
    • Your local waste service company likely has a listing of where/how to recycle things in your area.
  7. Prepare: Do you plan to have new spending habits in the new year? Or a new approach to food or exercise? If you’re like me and working your way through that box of Lucky Charms just in time to do a sugar detox Jan 1, that’s all good, but:
    • Make sure you’ve downloaded your apps, subscriptions, dusted off the treadmill, etc. *before* Jan 1 — the fewer hitches you have getting started, the more likely you are to get started – and stay started.
    • If you’re fighting habits (Starbucks, McDonalds, Fridge, etc.) you can do things like put strategic sticky notes in places, detach your credit cards from apps, etc. in order to provide a “hitch” to the habits you’re trying to break.
  8. Secure Your Shit. I’m serious.
    • If you have a password manager (NOT Last Pass — BitWarden is good, and there are other good ones) update your passwords. There’ve been a ton of breaches and stuff stays on the dark web for ages. Don’t reuse passwords.
    • If you don’t have a password manager, get one, and then update all your passwords.
    • Get a copy of your credit report while you’re at it:

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, I didn’t for example suggest doing an audit of your flatware to determine if you’re off one or more pieces for your full 12-piece place setting (but if you are, you can get individual pieces here). You don’t have to alphabetically organize your spice drawer/cabinet (I recommend instead filing them according to frequency of use). It isn’t actually required to review and reorganize the contents of your sock drawer, or yarn stash, etc. But sometimes little things can help when getting ready to tackle the big things.

The next big thing: 2023.

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