Every year, right after Christmas I always feel a little energized. I know it is the perfect time to get some things done. It's time to put away the Christmas decorations and put on a pot of soup. It is not time to slave over a stove when you can fill a pot and let it simmer -- there is too much to do for that!
I like to "get a head start" on the new year because later, I feel it leaves me behind -- as soon as we get started on our garden. If I don't organize, clean and get ready for the year, I probably won't get it done for quite awhile.
I still recommend Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook if you need "advice" with cleaning and organizing. It is still the most complete and useful book of its kind to me. It helps you make a cleaning plan and some provides useful tips, including what kinds of supplies you need to do a great cleaning job.
I think one of the best tips from the book would be to start with safer cleaning products and if that doesn't work, go to harsher ones. I used to use bleaches and harsh chemicals every day until I found that mild soaps like Dr. Bonner's classic liquid soaps, vinegar, baking soda, essential oils and sometimes grapefruit seed extract work better and are cheaper than the more expensive store brands. It only takes a small amounts of natural products and in my opinion, they clean better than most prepared products.
If you prefer to use brand name products, make sure they are mild and not harsh. Start with wood soaps and then move on. There are many recommendations in the book I mentioned above. I also like Seventh Generation products, available in most grocery stores -- but they are very expensive.
I also still like my Roomba. It is great for an area you can't get to immediately, and I think it does a very good job -- maybe not as good as a high powered canister vacuum, but as good as any upright.
When I am finished cleaning, I will be sure to have a good cup of tea -- a welcome reward for jobs I hate to do but feel kind of proud of myself when they are completed.