Winter is a good time to do small chores around the house. A sampling:
• Clean one closet. Pick one that’s manageable and decide to do it in one day. Throw away everything that’s irreparably stained or torn (unless, cut up, the item will make good cleaning rags); give away anything you haven’t used in the past year. Just do it.
• Flip, spin and vacuum. Your mattress will last longer and you’ll sleep better, too. While you’re at it: Is the pad still in good shape, or should you buy a new one during this month’s white sales?
• Go easy on houseplants. Don’t start feeding again until longer days of stronger light, and really watch the water. Overwatering is the most common cause of death for houseplants, especially in winter.
• Freezer hunt. Did you store leftover soup from a dinner party or berries you picked during the harvest season? Don’t forget these goodies. Take a quick inventory of freezer contents and post the list on the freezer door. Then enjoy the unexpected treats!
• Year-end accounting. Sort strategically, and create folders for the key categories of information that you will need, such as mortgage interest, real-estate taxes, health-care costs, charitable donations and work expenses.
• Clean the kitchen. After the holidays, your kitchen will appreciate an extra-thorough cleanup. Working from the top down, wash walls with a grease-cutting solution. Then use dish soap and water on windows. Finally, mop the floor, clean appliances, wipe counters and cabinets and scour the sink.
• Tend to small fixes. Do a quick sweep of your house, making a list of any broken electrical plates, locks that need lubrication, sinks or tubs that need caulk — the nagging things that have piled up and feel overwhelming. Buy everything you need at the home-improvement store and get all of these little jobs done in one concerted campaign.
(For thousands of other ideas visit www.hgtv.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)