January: To-Do List

Illustration by Kailey Whitman

Illustration by Kailey Whitman

1. Recycle your tree and wreaths
There’s no reason to send holiday decorations to the landfill. Drop off trees at city sanitation centers from Jan. 2 through Jan. 14, or find a neighborhood program like Greenlimbs.

2. Program the thermostat
In addition to saving energy, using a programmable thermostat can help you sleep better: Choosing to sleep in a cooler room at night can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

3. Wrap up the water heater
It’s not just your bed that needs a blanket. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends wrapping even newer, energy efficient heaters in an insulating blanket.

4. Check out the local wildlife
According to the Natural Lands Trust, winter is an excellent time to go birding—it’s time to find out the difference between a winter wren and a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Northern cardinals, red-bellied woodpeckers and black-capped chickadees are some of the species who stay during the winter; you’ll also see birds that only show up in our region when cold weather hits.

5. Shovel a neighbor’s walk
We all have people on our block who could use a little help. Take a moment to talk with neighbors and make plans to assist them when the snow hits.

6. Reread ‘I Have a Dream’
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Jan. 16, and his iconic 1963 speech is worth exploring. It may give solace to remember that every generation struggles to persevere: “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.” The National Constitution Center at 525 Arch St. will host a daylong remembrance.

7. Clean (really clean) the kitchen
Since you don’t see the sides of your stove or the tops of your kitchen cabinets often, it may be time to give them a true scrub down. Grease and grime have been collecting throughout the year, so take an hour to get rid of the muck. Hot water and citrus-based cleaner will do the trick, but be sure to wear gloves.

8. Experience some art
While the weather may be frightful, the city’s creative class hasn’t slowed down on mounting shows. Make a commitment to visit a venue you haven’t yet explored.

9. Commit to a social media break
While January is usually the time we recommit to our bodies and go back to the gym, we propose reclaiming your mind: Try to give up social media outlets for a week—or even a few days.

10. Host an inauguration party
On Jan. 20, we swear in a new president. There’s no better way to get through a challenging time than to huddle up with your circle. Host an inauguration party with a twist: Have your guests come prepared to share a concrete commitment to giving time or money to causes that are important to them.