Monday, April 10, 2017

The Ultimate Guide To Spring Cleaning

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My husband is a minimalist. If he buys new clothes, he gets rid of clothes that he doesn't like to wear anymore.  I find that I get so emotionally attached to things. Even if I don't use something, I don't want to throw something away because someone gave it to me or if it's still in great condition. With 3 kids in our house, our home is starting to get crowded with too much stuff which mostly consists of toys and clothes that the kids have outgrown. My husband's minimalistic lifestyle has started to rub off on me and we are excited to attack our spring cleaning this year.  This spring, try tackling all or some of these areas to give your home and your wardrobe a fresh start.

Plan ahead. The whole idea of 'spring cleaning' can seem overwhelming especially when you have a lot of tasks you want to tackle.  Plan to work on ONE area at a time to keep yourself focused and make sure you don't feel overwhelmed.  Set aside time on a day off or a day on the weekend.

1.  Bathroom Binge.  We all have little shampoo bottles that we've collected from hotels and samples we've received throughout the years from Sephora or even as stocking stuffers.  Samples are great to let you try a product before you decide to commit and purchase the full size product.  Now's the time to go through all of those little bottles and either use them or toss them.  Also check out the expiration dates on your medications.  If they are past their expiration date, toss them since they lose their potency over time.

2.  Clean out your closet.  This is probably the biggest task but this is where you have to be ruthless.  The perfect time to do this is when you change your clothes for the season.  Take EVERYTHING out of your closet and separate items into toss, keep, sell, or donate piles.
  • Toss - Throw out old underwear, worn socks, sweaters with holes in them, stained clothes, worn out shoes, etc.  Any clothes that look worn and don't look their best should go in the "toss" pile.
  • Keep - Any items that you frequently wear, are in great condition, and are in line with your current style.
  • Sell - Items that you have not worn that much the past year or don't fit with your style anymore but are still in great condition can go in the "sell" pile.  There are great sites where you can sell items in your closet such as Poshmark.  I have sold bags, clothes, and maternity clothes from my closet on Poshmark.  It's so easy to use!  You take pictures of your items, set a price, and it appears in 'your closet'.  Once your item is sold, you print out a label. bring it to your post office and ship it out.  Once the item is accepted from your buyer, the money gets direct deposited in your bank account.  I love it!  You can also sell unwanted clothing on eBay, Craig's List, and Facebook.
  • Donate - Any items that you think someone else would like goes in the 'donate' pile.  You can donate these pieces to friends, family, or a local charity.  
3.  Kitchen purge. Take EVERYTHING out your cabinets, pantry, and fridge.  Similar to what you did with your closet, decide what you want to toss, keep, or donate.  Toss any expired foods or old duplicates.  Items that you will never eat or use including kitchen gadgets, decide if you want to throw them out or if they can be donated to friends, family, or those in need.
Wipe down the interior and exterior of the cabinets.  If you'd like, put down contact paper on the cabinet shelves for easy clean up.  Put away similar items together such as baking supplies, cereals, and kitchen gadgets.

4.  Deep clean - This is a spring cleaning task that will take an extended period of time but it will be easier if you attack one room or area at a time.  In each room or area, take everything out of cabinets or storage unit and move the furniture so you can make sure that every part of the area can be cleaned.  Dust surfaces, vacuum the floor, wash windows, disinfect your countertops, clean your oven, etc.  This is a great task to do once or twice a year.

5.  Financial - Now that your home is clean, it's time to take a serious look at your financial status.  Take a look at your credit card balances and figure out a strategy to pay it off instead of carrying a balance from month to month.  Collect and organize any gift cards you have so you use them and don't let them go to waste.  Do you have a goal that you want to save for such as a vacation or purchasing a home?  Take a look at your income, your spending, and your fixed expenses and see where you can make cuts in order to help reach your goals.  Learnvest and Mint are great sites to help you stay on top of your finances.

If you haven't already heard of it, check out The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.  It focuses on the KonMari method of simplifying and organizing to only focus on keeping the items in your life and in your home that you love.