Make New Year’s Resolutions. Take stock of what you have accomplished over the past year and make a new list of goals.

Clean wood floors. Vacuum first to remove dust and dirt, then clean with a damp mop and a mild cleanser or specialty wood product. Let dry, then buff. (Do this once a year). Stone floors need a once-a-year cleaning too. Seal with an appropriate product made for them — follow directions.

Update calendars and planners. Schedule appointments for annual physicals, dental exams and so on. Mark birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.

Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. (Do this twice a year).

Clean out your closets. Start the year with an orderly wardrobe.

Stow away Christmas gear and make next year easier by getting organized and labeling every container as to contents.

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 interior surfaces with a baking soda and warm water solution (one or two tablespoons per quart of water).

Take an afternoon and organize baking items. Clean and dry cookie cutters and baking sheets. Replenish spices and basics like flour and sugar.

Fertilize your houseplants. Remind yourself by using a calendar.

Plant an indoor herb garden. A sunny kitchen window is the perfect spot to grow culinary herbs in winter. Start plants from seeds or pick up plants from a garden center.

Start a wish list for spring planting time. Garden catalogs are about to start their big push; make a list of new plants for which to look or order. Take an inventory of seeds you have left over from last year; browse the catalogs and place an order early.


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 to give plants an extra blanket.

Order more firewood if needed.

After a heavy snowfall, keep bushes and shrubs clear of snow, which can weigh down and break limbs. Brush snow away with a broom.

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

Spring feels a long way off, but now is the time to start planning. 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 for the water to be absorbed before nightfall.

This is a simple way of preventing the new roots on those costly plants from dehydrating to the point of real damage. Make winter watering a part of your routine.

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

Keep feeding neighborhood birds. Try putting up a thistle seed feeder for the smaller birds to use. This keeps them out of the way of larger birds like doves and jays and allows them to feed safely.

Keep your compost pile cooking by feeding it, turning it and keeping it moist. Turn the pile frequently and consider placing a large sheet of plastic over it to help heat the compost and prevent rain and snow from leaching the nutrients out of the pile.

Now is the ideal time to get power equipment serviced. Equipment taken in now will be ready in a few days instead of a few weeks.

Have a happy and healthy 2018!


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