Spring Cleaning for Less

Spring is here, and with it comes, for some, an innate desire to clean and organize everything in sight. It must be the “starting over” feeling that spring gives us. That brighter, warmer sun peers into our windows like a spotlight on dust bunnies and carpet stains, and we know it’s time for the inevitable: Spring Cleaning.

For some, “spring cleaning” is up there with those little four-letter words, but we have some tips to help it go smoothly and affordably.

  • Purchase dollar store cleaning supplies or make your own. Though everything at the dollar store isn’t a good deal, cleaning supplies are typically a great purchase. They are just as effective as name brand cleaners and often have exactly the same ingredients. And before you purchase expensive cloths and dusting equipment, consider cutting up old T-shirts or using the dryer sheet that just came out of the dryer. You can also make your own cleaning supplies (http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/diycleaningrecipes/), with items you probably already have around the house.
  • Make some money on all your clutter. While going through all of your clothing, consider giving some gently used items to consignment shops for cash. It’s fine to keep some for next winter, but, if you haven’t worn it this season, will you really wear it next year? Why not make some money off it to possibly buy clothes you will want to wear? Some stuff might be destined for Goodwill, but check out this blog post from NWGACU (http://unbankingunbelievable.org/2012/02/27/cash-in-on-spring-cleaning/) for more information on donating to consignment shops.
  • Repurpose before trashing. We probably all have too much stuff. If you haven’t used something in at least a year, that’s probably a good sign you can live without it. A good rule of thumb is to set out three big boxes: one for trash, one for Goodwill/yard sale, and one for repurposing. You might have an old lamp that just needs some sprucing up. Before chunking it in the trash, consider giving it a makeover (this could help you make more money on it at a yard sale or you might decide it’s now perfect to put on your bedside table!). I’m not condoning hoarding, but consider what you could do with the item before going out and buying all new stuff–that might, inevitably, end up right back in your “junk room.”
  • Spring clean your finances. Another great thing to do while in the cleaning spirit is to look over your finances. They often need a spring cleaning all their own! Go over your budget and make sure it is still working for you, and don’t forget you can get a free credit report once a year. (www.annualcreditreport.com). Check out this great blog post all about spring cleaning your finances here (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/03/14/8-tips-for-spring-cleaning-your-finances).