Spring is almost here, and you know what that means... time to clean! If you've been looking for some tips to help you get both your home and your life in order this spring, the following tips are a great place to get started.
Tip #1: If You Don't Need It, Don't Keep It
How many times have you looked at something and though, "Hey, I might need that." Whether it's those jeans you haven't fit into since you were in high school, that drawer full of cables and plugs, or those three extra sets of sheets you have never once put on an actual bed, chances are good you don't need them.
How can you be sure? Well, a good test is to ask if you've used something in the past five years. If half a decade has gone by and you haven't worn that coat, watched that movie, or used that old piece of stereo equipment, you're probably safe in getting rid of it. Not only that, but you can take old clothes to resale shops like Plato's Closet, and donate stuff that's still usable to charity. You could even put it up on Freecycle. That way someone who does need your old stuff can find it, and put it to good use.
Tip #2: Organize Your Documents
When it comes to important documents, a lot of us can turn into hoarders. This is particularly true when it comes to the receipts we hang onto. That's why, according to Redbook you should take a day (or a weekend) and sit down with all your documents. Lay out several folders, and organize your documents into the following categories:
- Capital Expenses
- Possessions-Value (this is mostly for insurance purposes)
If the documents you have don't fit any of those categories, shred them, and recycle them. There's no point in keeping a stack of receipts for the pancakes you got on a road trip three years ago, so stop hanging onto them.
Tip #3: Downsize Your Kitchen
Take a look around your kitchen, and ask how much of the stuff in it you actually need. For example, is the bottom of your pantry taken up by bottles of water? Well instead of going through all that plastic every year, buy a filtered pitcher, and keep it in your fridge. This saves you money and space, while ensuring that you always have chilled water on-hand.
Look around for any other things you can do that will save you money, time, and energy in this room. Do you have a big, bulky toaster you got as a gift but which is really too much for what you need? Replace it with something smaller that doesn't take up much room. Frustrated trying to get at all your spices in the cabinet? Put them on a lazy Susan so you can turn it in order to get access to the entire contents with zero digging. Also a good tip for condiments in your fridge.
Tip #4: Revamp Your Budget
While cleaning out your closets, vacuuming the floors, and airing out the linen closet are all important things, what you should also do is sit down and re-evaluate your budget. Because sometimes a financial spring cleaning can have a lasting impact throughout the rest of the year.
Take a pad, a pen, a calculator, and your bank statements, and figure out how things have changed for you since last year, and where you're spending your money. Make sure that you allocate the proper amounts to the proper categories, and approach your spending habits with an eye toward trimming off unnecessary expenditures.
Sometimes you need to take a step back, and look at your habits with a critical eye. Once you have, you'll know what you need to change.