13 Fresh Starts For The New Year

Scheduling this post is becoming something of a yearly tradition. I first wrote it in 2010, reposted it on New Year’s day of 2011 and, well, here we are again. But it’s one of my favorite posts and – I don’t know about you – but I could certainly use a yearly reminder to freshen up.
1. Get rid of the clothes you don’t love and don’t wear
Now, you should know that getting rid of things? It’s, like, my second favorite hobby. But cleaning out your closet and getting rid of the things that don’t fit you, suit you or please you anymore – it’s a great thing. I promise you’ll feel so much better once your closet is pared down to things that look great on you and bring a smile to your face. You can even make a few bucks off your old clothes at a consignment shop!
2. Clean out your car
Goodbye empty Cheetos bags, two extra ice scrapers and orphaned mitten. Vacuum out the sand left over from this summer, splash out on the $8 automated car wash that includes a wax and switch to a new air freshener.
3. Organize your email/photos/online profiles
Do you have email folders? Dude, you need to. Even if those folders just consist of ‘friends,’ ‘work,’ ‘misc. important’ and ‘funny pictures of cats’ I promise you will feel so clean and smug when your inbox is not 254 emails deep with spam and emails about Christmas presents.
Spend a bit of time organizing your various online haunts. Maybe weed out a few Facebook friends, adjust your privacy settings, delete your Myspace account, print out your favorite photos. Again, you’ll feel all clean and smug, I promise.
4. Change up your fitness routine
I’m talking to you, self. Sure, 30 minutes on the stair climber listening to Ke$ha is awesome – and better than nothing – but how about a ballet class? Or aqua aerobics? kettle balls? hot yoga? You’ll work different muscles, meet new people and probably have heaps of fun wearing that awesome flowered swimming cap.
5. Reevaluate the relationships in your life
This is something that I don’t think we do enough. Are you happy with your partner? Are you headed in the same direction? When you look at them, do you think “How’d I get the best one?” Is everything pretty good, but a bit boring? Take stock of what’s working and what’s not. Think about ways that you can spice things up and re-connect. Have adventures. Try something new together. Have Big Important conversations.
And what about your friends? Do they inspire you and support you? Are they full of life and fun? Do you look up to them and respect them? We all know people that drain us and suck the joy out of any interaction. Maybe it’s time to let those friendships go? I’m not suggesting some epic break-up conversation, but maybe limit yourself to hanging out with them in groups, or allow them to initiate plans for once.
How about those people that you’ve met and would like to be better friends with? Make it happen! I’m totally the girl who will meet a person once, recognize a kindred spirit, and announce to them that we will now commence being friends. Really. And you’d be amazed how often this works! If you meet someone you like – tell them! Friend them on Facebook and suggest an adventure! The worse they could do is ignore you.
6. Clean out your cupboards and fridge
Not unlike your closet, you surely have things wallowing in the depths of your fridge and cupboards that are never going to see the light of day. Canned beets, anyone? Commit to eating them up, toss them or donate them to a food shelf. Give everything a good wipe down and then stock up on yummy, nutritious food that you love – feta! nutella! mandarins!
7. Update your resume
When you have a job, it’s easy to let your resume rot in the depths of your hard drive, but why not spend a few hours spicing it up? Update it with new skills you’ve learned at your current job, experiment with different fonts and layouts, make sure that all the dates, emails and phone numbers are current. You never know when you’ll need it!
8. Clean out your bathroom cabinet
I won’t bore you with those statistics about how makeup’s shelf life is supposedly 3 weeks or some such, but why not toss those old prescriptions, the frosted lipstick and that shampoo that makes your hair weird. Give everything a wipe down, wash out your makeup brushes and buy yourself a few new products you’ve been meaning to try.
10. Change out your ringtone/alarm/screen saver
Yes. Download something new and fun. Wade through the gillions of gorgeous photos on Flickr and find something new for your screen saver.
11. Try a new scent
Aroma therapy is for real. Why not try a completely new scent for your home? Or a perfume that’s completely outside of what you normally go for? I’m usually all over what I call ‘cougar scents’ – musky, spicy things that make me smell like a 50 year old woman who flies first class, drinks too many martinis and pinches the bums of stewards. But I’m going to give something light and floral a try!
12. Switch up your surroundings
You don’t need to engage in an extreme home makeover to get the feeling of a new space. Switch out the shams on your pillow cases, put some different pictures in those frames, put something different in that decorative bowl, replace theย Venetianย blinds with some thrifted curtains, paint an accent wall a color you love. You don’t need to break the bank to see a huge difference.
13. Make a list of new things you want to try
I’m in the process of trying 34 new things before I turn 34, but you can try any number of new things. And they don’t need to be epic, expensive, life changing things. ‘Cook something with lemongrass,’ ‘Watch Citizen Kane,’ and ‘Try Hip Hop Karaoke’ are all equally valid. It’s just important to try new things!
What fresh starts are you making this year? Leave your ideas in the comments!
original image (without text on top) by maybe sparrow’s place, for sale here.


Alicia @ Humble Foodie

I LOVE getting rid of things and have gone through several hurricane-style declutterings of my room…but why not use 2013 as an excuse for even more? Great reminders for the new year. Happy 2013!

Savvy Aggarwal

Amazing tips that will definitely freshen up anyone's life!!! and what could be a better start to a new year. Thanks for sharing. Keep writing and keep sharing ๐Ÿ™‚


What a great list! I thinks all of these have crossed my mind at least once, it's great to see it all in one place. My car, closet, and cupboards will be thanking you ๐Ÿ™‚


This is a fabulous list that I'm going to pin to my Inspired board ๐Ÿ™‚ Great ideas! Once I get back home this week, I'll be implementing quite a few of these. Thank you for this!

– Valerie


Those are some great ideas, a few of which I've been contemplating doing myself as soon as the weekend rolls around.

Great post that clearly stands the test of time!

Zoe xoxo

Confused Twenty-Something

I love this post! It is good for every year. I feel like my 2013 is off to a good start because I traded in my car yesterday for a different one. Some might think it was a silly thing to do because my old car was only a year and a half old, but I hated driving it. It was too big and used a lot of gas. So now I'm driving a smaller car with less gas and it is BLUE! And I love it, I'm so happy. I will feel so much better driving around my area.

I hope you have a great new year!


Great checklist, I'm saving this in my evernote. I can't wait to purge and clean. Year end is the busiest time for me at work so I have to wait a month or so to satisfy those new year cleanout urges. Although I did cleanout my pantry Christmas weekend (my friends thought I was nuts to say to the least).

Creole Wisdom

Sarah, I love this, so much good here. There is nothing better for a commute than cleaning out your car. I do this from time to time and thank you for the reminder, makes me feel so great!

January has been my favorite month for a few years now because of how quiet it is after the chaos of December (and I love Christmas very much!) and the beautiful, calm light after so much darkness and the winter solstice.

Happy 2013, I hope it brings you some wonderful blessings

Katie, thisloveblog.com

I've been doing a few of these a week for the past 2 weeks. I didn't even notice I'd been freshening up my life, but so I was! Thanks for reminding me to update my resume. I've been wanting to make it fancier for ages, even if I'm set with my current posting for a while.

Lauren Michelle

I pretty much have all of these on my list, but you've added more things I need to do. Lol! I'm going to have to pin this to one of my Pinterest boards so I can remember everything. I know I definitely need to clean out my car, clean up and organize my room, organize my Facebook photo albums a little better, and actually GET a fitness routine, and clean out my closet and dresser again. You can just keep reposting this every year, Sarah! ๐Ÿ˜‰

melina bee

aw, what a sweet list, I love that you included changing up scents. I'm the opposite of you, floral and fresh scents all the way!


Love your list — what good advice to organise photos/emails and so forth.

One fun thing to do with the clothes that don't get sold at the consignment shop (or instead of lugging them all the way there), is to hold a clothing swap with your girlfriends. I do it every few months, and it's sooooo beneficial. Not only am I much less attached to my clothes and find it easier to give them away if I don't like them, but I've bought less than 12 items in the past four years. Kid you not. (And here's my blog post on how to throw one: http://existimatio.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/clothing-swap/)


Cleaning out my room is almost a semi-monthly practice for me. I swear I'm not compulsive but I like to make sure that there aren't more in the nook and crannies than the nook and crannies. I reorganized my room yesterday, and it doesn't look different at all to my family, but it feels like a whole new room for a whole new year. Great post! ๐Ÿ˜€


Just came across your blog and was amused to find I did a very similar post on the 1st with some of the same tips (that I thought were really clever–turns out, we both are!). I'm totally with you on trying new things and starting fresh. Love the idea of changing the pictures in your picture frames. I think I'll take your advice and recognize that we're kindred spirits and tell you we're now going to be blog friends. k? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here's my post on what you should do in 2013: http://christineincolor.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/what-you-should-be-doing-this-year/



Mommy from Scratch

Love this! #13 is my fave, a perfect time of the year to come up with new ideas! If you haven't yet read "The Happiness Project" By G.Rubin, you''ll love it! She also inspires to do these types of things throughout the year.


I've spent the past week being cynical about the whole 'new year fresh start' thing, but this has inspired me to at least clean out my car (it's a start, ok?!). I was actually surprised at how many of these things I do on a regular basis – maybe I don't procrastinate as much as I thought! Bookmarked this post for those days when I need a boost. ๐Ÿ™‚


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