Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Cleaning Treasures

In the Penniless residence, we're smack in the middle of some intense spring cleaning, and I wanted to share some thoughts on the subject with you.

Spring cleaning- you may ask- what's it got to do with frugality?
Well, aside for the fact that frugal people tend to do the cleaning themselves instead of paying for professional cleaning help, there's still more.

I think every person, at least once a year, should do a thorough cleaning of their house, turning it inside and out, organizing it, and cleaning behind, under, on top of, and inside everything. It doesn't matter what time of year you do it, but spring  is the season of regrowth and renewed energy. During spring, you're not huddled indoors freezing anymore, but its not too hot yet that you would work up a sweat as you would if you'd leave "spring" cleaning for July.

Spring cleaning should be done because its important for mental health, but, more relevant to this blog, it's a money saver.

The other day, I moved my heavy beds (with their built in storage compartments beneath them) for the first time in nearly a year. What did I discover? Fortunately, nothing too scary, but I discovered at least 10 pairs of children's socks.
I had just been about to head to town and pick up some socks for Lee and Ike, because I desperately needed some, but then discovered what had happened to all those socks. For the little amount of fabric actually used for making children's socks, those things can be pretty pricey, and having Spring cleaned (or is it Spung cleaned- just kidding!) I no longer needed to spend that money to replace the items that I thought were missing.

When I was cleaning out my freezer, I discovered just how much chicken and beef I had holed away in there. When I saw good prices for meat, I just kept on buying and buying, even though I was trying to cut back. Sure, I was getting meat at better prices than I could  get otherwise, but meat, no matter how cheap, is still more expensive than plant based protein sources; all that money spent on buying chickens that I didn't even use could have went to debt repayment, so I'd need to pay less interest overall.

When cleaning and organizing, you end up learning what things you actually have, and don't buy repeats of the same thing. I am not so good about staying on top of this organization- I've got more notebooks than I can count, and many more pairs of scissors than I need. I've even got double of certain books, and too many of certain kitchen appliances. Money that I spent on buying things that I already had could have been saved or used for more important purposes. But instead of looking in retrospect, now that I am more aware of what I actually do own, I can be conscious not to buy repeats.

With food that you forget you had, sometimes it sits around too long and ends up being unusable. If you don't take inventory of a stockpile, even things that are non perishable will eventually be unusable, or at least less good. By Spring cleaning and organizing your food stockpile, you can ensure that you keep your food in a good rotation, use up the older things first, so that they don't get ruined before you have a chance to eat them.

And one last aspect- Spring cleaning is a perfect decluttering opportunity. Decluttering is good because when you have too much junk, you feel more stifled in small spaces, and feel like you need to spend money and move to a larger place. When you get rid of things that are just sitting around that you no longer need, you see how  even a small home can be spacious, and it's less likely that you'll be pining away for a larger home.

Spring cleaning- definitely gets thumbs up in my books. Not jut for the organizational aspect, and the emotional good it does, but it also helps save money in all sorts of ways.

Are you Spring cleaning? Do you usually Spring clean? How does Spring cleaning save you money? What discoveries and hidden treasures have you found while cleaning and organizing this year?

1 comment:

  1. Spring cleaning for me happened in July of last year and April this year. Both were inspired by moving. In July I moved from one US coast to the other, and purged so much stuff that I was able to pack my possessions into 4' of truck space. All that cleaning and decluttering saved me hundreds in moving expenses and also made me feel much more comfortable at home since I owned so much less. I was also able to fit into a tiny apartment when I arrived here, saving me money in rent during a period of underemployment.

    I think my favorite find from the latest round was my favorite sunglasses. Had I not found them, I would have been buying more.

    Spring cleaning also turned up some materials for unfinished (or unstarted) projects. Seeing them again reminds me that I should pick up those projects and enjoy them. Hopefully I'll save money by using what I already have instead of starting something new and putting it aside AGAIN.


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