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Happy New Year!

Whew. The holidays are done. The new year has rung in. Time to do small tasks for a bright (and money-saving) new year.

Clean Light Bulbs and Fixtures

Two great reasons to clean your light bulbs: You want as much light in your house as you can get as the days grow shorter, and, you’ll save money.

Dirty bulbs apparently shed 30% less light than clean ones, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Wipe bulbs with a cloth dampened by a mix of 1 oz. dish soap, ¼ cup white vinegar, and 3 cups of water.

Evaluate Homeowner’s Insurance

The holidays. You love them, but they do seem to eat up more cash than other times of year. Sure, you can scrounge around for change under your couch cushions, but that’s not going to offset much.

Why not get a home insurance checkup? Call your agent to go over the type of coverage you have, how much you really need, and how you can lower your premiums before your next monthly installment.

Buy Holiday Lights

It’s tough to think about next Christmas when you’re still stuffed from a holiday dinner with all the trimmings. But think you must if you want to save on next year’s holiday.

Decking the halls is good fun and all, but shuffling through piles of wreaths, lights, ornaments, wrapping paper, and stockings is nothing to fa la la about. Cut back on the holiday overwhelm with these organization ideas for your festive gear.

Use Clear Bins

Everything’s packed in tidy boxes. Good. But how will you find the stockings if you use a bunch of identical, opaque tubs? Even if you label each bin (which takes more energy than most of us have post-holiday), you can’t possibly list everything inside. A better idea: clear bins. Hey look, the stockings.

Square bins make better use of the space than tall or odd-shaped ones. Measure your storage area so you buy exactly the right size and number of bins to maximize the space.

Hang Your Wreaths

Nothing takes the holly jolly out of the holiday like crushed wreaths. If you put them in a bin or on lay them on a shelf, they may not survive till next season. Instead, hang them from a clothing rod in a closet. You can use pot hanger hooks to suspend them or make your own.

You don’t need to dedicate an entire closet to wreaths. Just add a second bar to a coat closet.

Wrap It Up With a Wrapping Station

Rolls of wrapping paper are awkward to store and constantly in the way. And if the rolls get dinged, the darn paper tears. You can store your paper and use up dead space, too, with a wall-mount storage system. Hang it in a closet on a blank wall, put your paper in it, and you have a wrapper’s delight

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