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Things to do for January

Inside: Make the next holiday season easy by organizing your Christmas gear as you pack it away. Start first with getting rid of damaged items, then sort and label boxes.

Change over calendars. Spend a few minutes marking birthdays, anniversaries, doctor appointments (or reminders) and other appointments of importance.

Update address book, contact lists and email addresses.

Stock up on cards for various occasions, Organize wrapping papers and ribbons and bows.

Start organizing household paperwork. Start getting tax and financial information together for the tax man.

Clean the refrigerator and freezer. Soak removable pieces in warm soapy water. Don’t use bleach or ammonia as these can damage some newer materials. To eliminate odors, wipe down all internal surfaces with a baking soda-warm water solution (one or two tablespoons per quart of water).

Take an afternoon and organize baking items. Replenish spices and basics like flour and sugar.

Fertilize your houseplants.

Plant an indoor herb garden. A sunny kitchen window is the perfect place to grow culinary herbs in winter.

Outside: Be a good neighbor and take down those Christmas lights.

Recycle your Christmas tree. Use cut branches as ground cover for the next few months.

Examine your winter garden. What would make it look better next year?

Use your broom to sweep off the entrance areas into your home. A good doormat inside and outside will save some time down the road.

Winter garden chores: Spend a warm afternoon washing out your flower pots and trays. Organize your stuff and get those tools in good shape. Remember to water newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials on a warm winter day, allowing enough time so the water can be absorbed before nightfall. This is a simple way of preventing those new roots from dehydrating to the point of real damage. Make winter watering a part of your routine.

Keep your compost pile cooking by feeding it, turning it, and keeping it moist. Add green stuff that contains nitrogen-veggie scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells-or toss some blood meal onto the pile. Turn the pile frequently to ensure necessary oxygen content.

Survey and discard lawn chemicals that have lost their effectiveness, such as bacterial insecticides that have frozen and items past their expiration dates. Get rid of any unmarked containers. Check with the city on where to dispose of chemicals you no longer need.

 

Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.

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