20 Things To Do Before 2020

I know what you’re thinking: 2020 is only a few days away! You want to add more to my to-do list? Well yes. But not really. This list of 20 Things To Do Before 2020 is meant to serve as a bit of a checklist of quick little things you can get done to make sure you and your family have a great start to the year. If you’re like me, you’re looking for actionable items and a sense of clearing the decks. (Or a professional closet organizer, but this will have to do.)

The tasks might seem small, but they can make a world of difference.

And here’s a little secret: you don’t really have to get them done before 2020. You can get them done throughout 2020. Your secret is safe with me.

Let’s get going.

1. Clean up your email. Spend one hour going through those pesky emails, archiving anything that doesn’t need to be there, quickly responding to anything that needs responding, unsubscribing from annoying newsletters, and start the year with a fresh(er) email inbox. Activate any helpful inbox features (like auto-advance in Gmail) or sign up for services like Unroll.me to make tackling this easier next year.

2. Have the kids pick out a couple of toys to donate. Use the holiday spirit to encourage your kids to donate some of their older, unused toys to children in need. This way, you declutter in the process and make some space for the shiny new toys that the’ll actually play with.

3. Bulk schedule all necessary appointments for upcoming months. Haven’t been to the dentist in over a year? Kid’s check-ups coming up? Work meeting you’ve been putting off? Take an hour to bulk schedule all of these tasks so that you can take them off your mind next year. Don’t forget to set reminders on your phone.

4. Replace that one thing that needs replacing. Maybe it’s the batteries in your remote, the light bulb in your bathroom, or the kids shoes that are a tad too small. Whatever it is, it’s on your mind right now. Why not tackle it?

5. Stock up your first-aid kit. Or, get one if you don’t have one in the first place. We should all have a little kit with disinfectant, band-aids, Acetaminophen, etc. You can get already prepped kits, like this one. Or take some time to go through it, throw out anything that has expired, and replace anything that might be missing.

6. Sort through your junk drawer. You know the one.

7. Check the sock drawer. Quickly go through everyone’s socks and toss any socks without a pair/too small/too old. It the situation is grim, order yourself (and your family) a multi-pack of new ones, like these ones here.

8. Have the kids clean out their school backpacks. Kids are pros at accumulating loose pens, papers, knick knacks, and cracker crumbs at the bottom of their backpacks. Have them dump it all out (preferably somewhere easy to vacuum or, um, over a trash bin) and sort through it.

9. Clean out your purse and wallet. Sit with the kids as inspiration and take care of your own purse and wallet. I’m quite good at accumulating receipts and broken lip-balms, too.

10. Plan at least one exciting outing. Since not everything on this list has to be a chore or boring task, sit down with your partner (or yourself) and plan a little escape for 2020. It can be as simple as a day-long walk in the forrest or as sophisticated as an overseas trip. Completely up to you. Aron and I usually get a babysitter for a calendar-and-coffee date around this time, and we plan out requests for time off—like a late-winter ski date—as far out as possible.

11. Resolve an item of unfinished business. Is there a new baby card you forgot to send? A coworker/friend/parent-in-law you’ve been meaning to talk to? Try your best to get any burdens (or conflicts) resolved so that you can start 2020 with a clean slate.

12. Establish your daily 20 minutes of peace. I can’t claim success on this, but I’ve been told we all need to form the habit of taking 20 minutes to yourself everyday to just relax. Maybe it is a 20 minute walk with your dog, your morning get-ready routine, your nightly TV-show binge, or just sitting with coffee, uninterrupted. The idea is to establish what that is before 2020, and start implementing it as soon as possible.

13. Ask someone who matters to you: “what can I improve next year?” Sit down with someone who’s opinion you value and get their feedback on what you could do better next year. Reflect on it and if you feel like you agree with it, try to apply it. Does your habit of leaving socks on the floor drive your partner crazy? Are your patience levels taking a dip? See what they have to say and remember; it is up to you whether or not you agree with it.

14. Clean out the fridge. Self-explanatory. That three-year-old jam can go. Go ahead and stock it up with essentials while you’re at it. Or, at least make the list.

15. Clean out the car. Again, a bit boring but simple.

16. Find two pieces of clothing to donate. Just two. That’s all. If you find more, great! If not, well done anyway!

17. Lighten the social load. Set alerts for when you’ve spent your max time on Instagram, for example. Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad or aren’t serving you.

18. Write out everyone’s birthdays on a calendar. Be it your computer/phone calendar or a physical one, take 30 minutes to write down the birthday of anyone who means a lot to you. If you’re doing it electronically, consider setting reminders. Don’t just rely on Facebook to do it for you.

19. Let go of expectations. We could all be kinder to ourselves. Which expectation would it help to let go of? That you’ll always have a clean house? That you’ll lose 10lbs? That’s you’ll be the perfect mom, partner, coworker, human being…? Focus instead on doing your best, and try to accept that your best is all you can do.

20. Thank and say goodbye to 2019. Whether it’s been the best year or the worst year of your life, Kondo it and thank it for all it has taught you and let it go. 2020 is a fresh start. I’d like to take full advantage of it!

What would you add? Which item are you most looking forward to/dreading?

P.S. One of my favorite cleaning hacks, the basket trick, and my pantry organization goals (which got waylaid after we got our IRS bill last year, bah humbug.)


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