Monday, December 23, 2019

100 Things to Do Before the End of the Year

If you have a lot of down time before the end of the year and want to get everything in order so you can start the new year (new decade too!) with a clean slate, consider doing these tasks...

  1. Put away Christmas stuff (recycle the tree, take down lights, etc) before the new year.
  2. Deep clean your house from top to bottom (wash bedding, clean carpets, dust everything, etc).
  3. Make a list of all home improvement tasks that need to be done in the new year.
  4. If you didn't change the batteries in your smoke detector in the fall, do this now.  Also check to make sure your fire extinguishers are still fully charged.
  5. Change the furnace filters (this helps extend the life of your furnace).
  6. If your smoke/CO detectors are more than seven years old, consider replacing them with new ones.
  7. Determine if you should contact your local utility company to schedule an energy audit.  These tests are best done in the winter when your home may be actively losing heat due to air leaks and lack of insulation.
  8. Clean out your closet and get rid of all clothes that you don't love and which don't fit you (yes, even those pants you are still trying to get back into...years later).
  9. Clean out your linen closet and replace any linen (towels, sheets) that are frayed, stained, etc).
  10. Clean out your medicine cabinet and get ride of old/expired meds, medications you no longer need, old make up, etc.
  11. Clean out the pantry and get rid of food that is expired/you no longer want/don't fit with your healthy eating resolution.
  12. Clean out the refrigerator/freezer and do the same.  Restock with healthy, nutritious food.
  13. Clean out your spice and herb rack and toss/replace spices and herbs you have had for years.
  14. Clean out the garage and get rid of the junk that has accumulated there.
  15. Clean out all of the cupboards and drawers in your kitchen; get rid of duplicate items or things you never use.
  16. Donate any things you don't need to a non-profit and get a receipt for your taxes.
  17. Clean up your yard (if it isn't buried under feet of snow!).
  18. Get a calendar for 2020 (paper or digital) and write down birth dates, anniversaries, holidays, and other important info.
  19. Check your important documents and see if any of them will expire in the coming year (passport, driver's license, credit cards, library card, etc).  Put a reminder on your calendar to renew any of these that will expire.
  20. Clean out your paper files and get rid of any papers you no longer need (info here).
  21. Clean out your digital files and get rid of any files you no longer need; be sure to back up all of your digital files (documents, photos, videos, etc) on a thumb drive or external hard drive and put this back up in a safe place.
  22. Review your Will, Living Will, Medical and Legal Power of Attorney forms, etc. and schedule an appointment with your attorney if you need to make any changes to these.
  23. Get your tax information ready for your tax preparer and make an appointment with them in February or March (info here).
  24. Check out this list, or ask your financial adviser, about last minutes things you can do by the end of the year to positively impact your taxes.
  25. Make appointments with your doctor, dentist, vision clinic, etc. for the new year.
  26. Make sure you (and your family's) vaccinations are up to date.
  27. Make medical/dental appointments for your kids, pets, and anyone else you are responsible for.
  28. Renew your prescriptions, if possible, before the end of the year; use up any HSA funds if possible.
  29. Update your list of prescriptions/medical history/list of surgeries/allergies/etc.  Take this list to review with your doctor each time you see them.
  30. Make a budget for 2020 and vow to stick to it (go cash-only if needed).
  31. Consider setting an auto-withdraw from your paycheck that goes directly into savings.
  32. Review all of your bills and determine if there are any that can be stopped (like an unused gym membership) or reduced (like your cell phone bill).
  33. Put a list of your debts up in a place where you will see the paper everyday (like your bathroom mirror) then begin a "debt snowball" to get rid of them.
  34. Calculate your net worth; endeavor to increase this number by the end of the year.
  35. If you don't intend to use credit in the following year, consider freezing your credit for added safety.
  36. Work with your investment adviser to rebalance your investment portfolio.
  37. Review all of your insurance coverages to ensure they still meet your needs.
  38. If you don't have an emergency fund, put aside $1000 as quickly as possible for this purpose (take a side job, have a garage sale, use money from your tax return, etc).  If you already have a small emergency fund, work on making this bigger (to cover at least six to nine months worth of expenses).
  39. Pre-pay any annual bills that you can (property tax, HOA, car insurance, etc).
  40. Plan for your retirement (no matter how young you are or how much money you don't have at this point in your life).
  41. Choose one physical activity to do daily/weekly next year and sign up (walking club, yoga class, etc).
  42. Choose one hobby activity to do next year and sign up (genealogy club, community theater, etc.).
  43. Choose one skills you want to learn next year (knit, play piano, code, etc) and figure out how you will learn this (online, a local college class, etc).
  44. Determine what your "theme" for the year will be (minimalism, zero waste, positivity, etc).
  45. Consider how you will give back to your community in the new year (volunteer at a homeless shelter, pick up trash on your daily walk, using Charity Miles, volunteering at your kid's school, etc).
  46. Update your resume and consider ways to increase your income in the new year.
  47. Use the video camera on your phone to make a video inventory of all of your possessions/rooms of your home to use for insurance purposes if needed (be sure to save this video on your backup hard drive).
  48. Make a "When I Die" file or list.
  49. Plan a weekly "date night" or weekly family activity and add these activities to your calendar.
  50. Clean your vehicle inside and outside.
  51. Review all of the items in your vehicle's emergency kit and make sure things still work (like batteries in flashlights) or aren't expired (like food and water).
  52. Make an appointment with your car mechanic if you need maintenance done (like an oil change, 50k mile service, tires rotated, etc).
  53. Start planning any vacations you will take in the coming year.
  54. Update and clean up your cell phone (update software, add or delete apps, transfer photos and videos to your computer, etc.).  Be sure you have a list of your medications/health history information on your phone to use in an emergency.
  55. Update your phone's lock screen to include: emergency contact name/number, allergies, pertinent health info, etc.
  56. Update and clean up your tablet (update software, add or delete apps, transfer photos and videos to your computer, etc.).
  57. Update and clean up your laptop/desktop (update software, add or delete programs, organize files, defrag the hard drive, etc).
  58. Clean up your email (try for inbox zero).
  59. Update your blogs/websites/social media accounts; make a social media plan for 2020.
  60. Change all of your passwords (or use a password manager service).
  61. Consider getting a VPN service if you often access the internet outside of your home.
  62. Pull your free credit reports and correct any wrong information on them.
  63. Plan you spring and summer gardens and order seeds.
  64. Review and update (or make) each family member an emergency evacuation bag.
  65. Review your EDC (everyday carry) bag (purse, briefcase, daypack, messenger bag) and update/add/remove contents as needed.
  66. Scan/digitize all important papers (wills, birth certificates, marriage/adoption/deeds/etc) and photos.
  67. Make a small "home office are" area in your home.  Use this place to keep all mail, bills, stamps, spare birthday/blank/thank you cards, gift cards for last minute gifts, etc.
  68. Review your home security plan and make improvements.
  69. Create a family emergency plan.
  70. Sign up for a Community Emergency Response Team class in your community.
  71. Hit up after-Christmas sales to replace linens, clothing, and other items you need for your home.  Also use the after-Christmas sales to buy a couple of small treats for yourself (bath bombs, nice journal, warm booties or socks, etc).
  72. Set your new year's resolutions (make them simple, measurable, and not too many).
  73. Set one huge (specific) challenge for yourself for the coming year.
  74. Try batch cooking.  This way you can cook an entire's month's worth of breakfasts/lunches/dinners at once and save a lot of time throughout the month.
  75. Fix a problem you have been putting off (relationship problem, problem at work or school, etc).
  76. Check your financial accounts and see if there are ways to improve these (moving a bank account that charges a monthly fee to a free credit union account, moving high interest credit card balances to lower interest cards, etc).
  77. Sign up for all of the free things you can get for your birthday.
  78. Repair small things in your home that need it (hem pants, fix the broken light switch, fix the squeaky stair, etc).
  79. Make a list of self improvement books you will read this year (one for each month).
  80. Consider starting a daily gratitude journal.
  81. Create a morning routine that you will do every day to start your day off on the right foot.
  82. Keep a "to do" and "to buy" list which you update at least weekly.
  83. Clean up and reorganize your office/desk at work/work files to make your time at work more productive.
  84. Try to break one bad habit at a time.  Instead of quitting smoking, drinking, coffee, and sugar all at the same time, pick one bad habit and go all out to quit--up to and including joining AA if you can't stop drinking on your own, for example.
  85. Reward yourself for setting good habits.  For example, if you like to watch TV but need to exercise, put the treadmill or exercise bike in front of the TV.  If you want to cut down on social media, take the apps off your phone and only access your social media accounts when you are home in the evening; replace these apps with useful apps like Duolingo, Calm, etc. 
  86. If you have decided to start taking your lunch to school/work in order to save money and eat healthier, get the tools you need to make this work including: an insulated lunch bag, insulated soup container, sandwich container, plastic container for fruit, zip lock bags, spork, etc.
  87. Consider doing the weekly money challenge in the new year; this would be a great way to save up and pay cash for next year's Christmas gifts!
  88. Consider starting a "gift box" in your home.  When you find nice gifts on sale for super cheap, pick them up and keep them in your gift box until you need them for a birthday or special occasion.  Also stock up on gift wrap, ribbons, and tape at the local dollar store.
  89. Instead of setting a year-long "resolution", consider doing shorter, more intensive monthly challenges like these.
  90. Start the new year looking beautiful, with a mani, pedi, haircut, hair color, facial, new make up, etc.  Many of these things you can do on your own instead of going to an expensive salon.
  91. Find an "accountability partner" to work with on your new year's resolutions like a neighbor who you can walk with each morning or a friend who is also struggling to get out of debt that you can check in and share ideas with regularly.
  92. Put together a system to save money on food in the new year.  Use store apps, clip and organize coupons, check deal sites, buy in bulk...aim to reduce your grocery bill by at least 25% over this year.
  93. Look at ways to reduce stress in your life.  Reduce the amount of news you watch, be organized so you aren't running around like a maniac in the morning, take a deep breath and count to ten before you react to a stressful situation, cut out Facebook if you find it more stressful than useful, etc.
  94. Sign up for things that will help you in the new year and in the future including a library card if you don't already have one, apply for a passport if you plan to travel in the future, apply for tax abatements/exemptions offered by your city/county, etc.
  95. If your kids came home for the holidays (like driving a long way to visit or returning from college for a few weeks), send them home with gift cards for gas/Starbucks/Subway/etc. which will save them money and provide them treats on their way back.
  96. If you bought lots of extra school supplies back when they were on sale last summer, set your kids up with all new schools supplies when they head back to school after the holidays.
  97. Take some time during the busy holidays to spend some time by yourself.  Go to a quiet coffee shop and people watch, go to a movie by yourself, get a massage, etc.
  98. Make some new family traditions by planning to celebrate holidays both usual and unusual in the coming year (add these to your calendar of course). 
  99. If you need to be less sedentary in the new year, consider getting a fitness tracker which not only records your fitness activity but reminds you to get up and move if you have been sitting too long.
  100. Do something unique for New Year's Eve.  Go on a night hike with the local hiking club, offer to babysit your friend's or relative's kids while they go out and party, throw a potluck for friends instead of going out, etc.


  1. That list took my breath away! Or, was this the list to complete before the end of 2020. Merry Christmas!

  2. That is some kind of list! I think it covers about everything!