This is a repost from the archives; it was originally published on January 27, 2016. It’s been slightly updated!
I’m going to begin this post with the most cliché, expected question: Can you believe that it’s October? (I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I had to! This year is already flying by!) I’m a big fan of fresh starts. I like to celebrate them with the new year, on the first of every month, and on Sunday mornings.
Anyway, today I’m going to share ideas of some things that you can do at the beginning of every month to reset and begin fresh again.
// Upload photos and delete them off your phone
The beginning of the month is a great time for you to upload the photos on your phone to the cloud (like iCloud, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, Dropbox, etc.) or download them onto your computer. Then, you can delete those photos from your phone to save space and rest assured that your memories are safely stored.
// Discuss finances and budget for the month ahead
If you’re married, the beginning of the month is a great time to discuss your family’s finances and budget for the month ahead. If you’re single, the beginning of the month is also a great time to review your budget and make a plan for the next month. Make sure you’ve paid off all of your bills and credit cards from the month before and decide what you’ll spend money on in the new month.
// Review calendar and make arrangements if necessary
Look over your calendar (here’s mine) at the beginning of the month and make note of what’s coming up. If you’re heading to a dinner party and will need to bring a dessert, add that to your meal plan. If you’re heading out of town, make sure to ask your neighbor to pick up your mail and call your dog-sitter to schedule a drop-off time (I use Rover). If you have a formal event, make a note to find an appropriate outfit ahead of time. People ask me all the time how I’m “so organized.” The answer is always the same: I plan ahead.
// Make plans with friends or family
Get-togethers aren’t usually spontaneous and random. If you’re interested in getting dinner with some friends, going on a walk with your co-worker, or hosting a family birthday dinner for your toddler, the beginning of the month is a good time to make those plans. Go ahead and call/text/email your family and friends so that you can nail down a date and time to get together. This will help avoid the frantic last-minute shuffle and will give you something to look forward to all month! (Don’t forget the family you live with–schedule time together, even if you’ll just stay at home!)
// Schedule appointments
If you need to visit your dentist or doctor, if you need to book a haircut or massage, if you need to make a chiropractor appointment, if your dog needs to get groomed, if you need to get your carpets cleaned–book those appointments at the beginning of the month. Because if you’re anything like me, you’ll get halfway through the month, remember that you need to book a particular appointment, and then let yourself off the hook because you’ll think, I’ll just wait ’till next month.
// Buy birthday cards for the month’s birthdays
While you’re reviewing your calendar, make a note of how many birthday cards you need to buy. (Alternatively, you can buy birthday cards in bulk here.) Then, the next time you’re out shopping, pick up those cards so that you have them to sign and mail out throughout the month. (If you’re buying gifts, make note of that, too!)
// Choose a day (or two) to take off work/rest
Have you seen those MasterCard vacation commercials? (No? You can watch one here.) My message echoes the commercial’s: TAKE OFF OF WORK. The beginning of the month is the perfect time to choose a day that you’ll take off–to sleep, to shop, to get together with friends or family, to spend time with your spouse or children, to clean your house–whatever makes sense for you. If you can’t take off, choose a Saturday or Sunday that you’ll keep free and clear. Plan nothing that day. Rest! Busyness is not a badge of honor.
// Wash your car and clean it out
Cars are not storage units or trash cans. They are not closets or dressers or pantries. If your car has somehow morphed into something other than a car, it’s time to get it together! At the beginning of the month, drive through a local car wash, pull into one of the free vacuum spots, and clean out your car.
// Change your bed sheets
Sometimes it’s hard to remember when you last changed your bedsheets until you crawl into bed one night and your sheets feel particularly grimy. *Shudder* Make a point to strip and wash your sheets at the beginning of every month (at least!) and you’ll never get that “heebie jeebie” feeling again! (I strip and wash my sheets every Saturday morning as a part of my weekly cleaning routine.)
// Do a staples shopping trip
I meal plan and grocery shop weekly, but I’m sometimes so focused on the ingredients on my list that I forget to pick up staples. Take time at the beginning of the month to look through your pantry, refrigerator, and bathroom and make note of what you’re running low on. That way, you can head to the store and pick up more shampoo, another bag of flour, or a few sticks of butter if you need them.
// Deep clean your home
Something about the calendar flipping to the next month makes me want to refresh my environment. Tidy your house, clean every room, donate what you don’t need. (Think about hiring a maid service if you don’t have the time to do it yourself and can afford it!) You will be so much more at peace while you’re at home and significantly more productive if your environment is neat and clean. For more on how I clean my home, read this post.
// Write down broad goals and to-dos
While I think it would be a bit tedious (and a waste of time) to write down every goal and every to-do for the entire month, I think it’s extremely helpful to write down some of the big picture ideas. Things like “plan winter vacation” will eventually be broken down into many steps, but it’s a good idea to write down the broad goal so that you can begin to brainstorm its execution.
There are 12 ideas for starting each month with a clean, prepared slate!
// What do you do at the beginning of each month?
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