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January Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

January brings fresh starts and renewed hopes for the year ahead. Of course, with the excitement of the holidays done and months of winter stretching out before us, January can also be a bit of a downer — especially for those in cold climates. Make the most of the first month of new year by taking time to say goodbye to the old year (and the holiday decorations), give your home the TLC it needs to see it through winter storms, and dream up plans for the months ahead. Here are 10 to-dos to get your year off to a good start.

1. Keep your home fresh and cozy post holidays. Once the glow of the holidays has passed and you shift back into your usual routines, the house can suddenly feel a bit empty. Fight the winter blahs by giving your home a good cleaning (those pine needles end up in the strangest places) and boosting comfort with extra candles, cozy throws, hot drinks and good music.

2. Store holiday decorations properly. Yes, it’s sort of a pain, but taking the extra time to sort your Christmas lights, ornaments and decor now will save you loads of frustration next year — you owe it to your future self! Wrap each strand of lights around a stiff piece of cardboard to prevent tangling. (Remember to test them first.) Very delicate ornaments should be individually wrapped in tissue paper and stored in shallow boxes. Sturdier ornaments can be lightly wrapped and stacked in a box with cardboard dividers.

3. Organize warranties and manuals. Get any new gadgets or appliances over the past year? Take a few moments to flip through that stack of old manuals and warranties, tossing out paperwork for stuff you no longer own — and remember to send in forms to activate new warranties as needed. Store everything together in one binder or document box.

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