Toronto, ON (CLN) – It’s that time again: spring cleaning. Although it still might not feel like it, spring has arrived and this is the period where households conduct their annual cleaning in the living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. It could seem to be a meaningless and useless endeavor, but it could create additional cash and savings.
Over the past year, we may have accumulated stuff that we completely forgot about. Whether it’s a book we haven’t read in the past several months, a piece of clothing that has only been worn once or jewellery that looked nice at first but now is hideous, we have a lot of stuff that can generate much needed funds.
Spring is the season of rebirth, which means we can replenish our homes, our health and our bank accounts. During this year’s spring cleaning, don’t dread doing the chores but rather embrace it and consider it as a treasure hunt. It’s simple: clean, organize and take inventory. By the end of it all, your wallet will be bigger.
Remember the quote from Henry David Thoreau: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”
Here are some tips on how to turn your spring cleaning into a time of savings.
Organize Your Inventory
In each room, take all of the stuff out of your closets, boxes and storage containers and place the items in a neat pile. Take an inventory and produce a detailed list of everything you have. This way you can create an itemized account of everything you own and what you will want to do with it later on.
Once the inventory is complete, examine each article and determine if you want to keep it, sell it or donate it to a charity. Indeed, you accumulate a tremendous amount of stuff over the years and sometimes your clothes, jewellery, books and other items can be worth something to somebody else.
If you’re unsure what to keep, the general rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn or used it for the past six months then get rid of it. Or, use these four categories and see if any of the articles fit in any of them:
“We tend to hang on to old clothes thinking that 'some day' we'll fit back into them, or they'll come back in style,” said Tracy DiNunzio, founder of Tradesy.com, an online resale marketplace, in an interview with AARP. “But those are the very things that contribute to closet clutter — and mental clutter, too."
Holding a yard sale is a great event to host, not only for making money but to meet people in the neighborhood. With that being said, if you have a lot of unused kitchen appliances, books, clothing, jewellery, DVDs and other things then consider establishing a spring yard sale; remembering the old adage: someone else’s junk is someone else’s treasure.
Donations, Tax Deduction
If you didn’t sell any of the good stuff at your yard sale then drop it off at a local charity because it’s likely that they’ll give you a tax deductible receipt. This way, you can claim the donations on your tax return and lower your overall tax bill.
Barter or Re-gifting
Does your friend have something you want and vice versa? Well, think about holding a swap and save party, where your friends, family and colleagues convene and exchange all kinds of things. Be sure to remember that when you receive them not to add it to a pile of clutter and instead organize it properly.
If bartering or a swap party is out of the question then consider re-gifting, but only if the item is in 100 percent condition.
Learn From Spring Cleaning
At the end of it all, you should be able to learn a valuable lesson: simplification. If you purchase the same black pants over and over again or you have three copies of the same movie on DVD then it’s a sign that you’re not managing your finances correctly.
Instead of an annual spring cleaning, do a quarterly cleaning and take an inventory on a regular basis to avoid cluttering and wasteful spending on things that you might have already had in your closet, shelf or drawer. Once you have the money do any of the following:
- Deposit it into a savings account
- Put it into a change jar
- Buy something for the house that needs to be replaced
- Treat yourself or your family to a nice dinner at a restaurant
- Pay down your credit card debt, student loans or mortgage
Performing your spring cleaning soon? Share your ideas, suggestions and concerns in the comment section.