After a long winter inside, most of us are eager to spruce up our homes. In fact, according to the American Cleaning Institute’s National Cleaning Survey, 77% of Americans spend time spring cleaning every year, taking an average of six days to get their homes in order.
The survey is focused on actual cleaning — washing windows, dusting ceiling fans and taking care of carpets and hardwood floors. And while cleaning up a home is important, so is cleaning out — and that’s where spring cleaning can save you money.
Look through your closets, cabinets, drawers, and surfaces to clean out items that you haven’t touched in a year or more. Are there clothes that no longer fit you or your children? Are there boxes of home furnishings and decor that you never opened after a move? What about toys and children’s gear that your kids have grown out of?
As you clean out those unused items, set aside the gently used pieces to sell at a garage sale, consign at a consignment shop or sell on any number of resale sites online.
Have you ever purchased a package of AA batteries only to find a warehouse store-sized package shoved into a drawer a couple of months later? Or how about school supplies? Do you rush out to the big box store to buy loads of crayons, pencils and paper, only to find that your child already had everything they need tucked away in their rooms?
As you clean out closets and other spaces, organize what you have, so when you need batteries or pencils, you can find your entire supply in one area of the house. That will save you money months from now when you realize you don’t need to make a mad dash to the store to stock up.
Spring cleaning might also come with the desire to refresh your living spaces too. Maybe the newly dusted and organized living room now calls for new curtains and throw pillows. Or the uncluttered bedroom could really use some new art on the walls. Before you head to the store, look around to uncover what you already own inside your house. Could you switch the curtains and throw pillows from one room to another for a new look? Does that unopened box of home decor from your last move include some picture frames that would look perfect on your bedroom wall with updated photographs? Instead of spending money on new items, find ways to reuse what you already have.
Especially for bargain shoppers who love nabbing the best deals with coupons, it’s easy to fill up cupboards, pantries, refrigerators and freezers when prices are rock bottom. While it can be a smart way to save money, bargain shoppers also can be prone to overbuying. And that leads to an oversupply of baked beans, frozen peas and window cleaner.
As you spring clean your home, get creative on your meal prep if your pantry and refrigerator are fully stocked. Look for recipes that call for nothing more than the pantry staples you already have on hand. Tasty, Food Network and Real Simple have all kinds of recipes for easy-to-make meals with ingredients you probably have now. Commit to cooking with items already in your pantry or refrigerator at least a few nights a week. That practice can cut down on your food costs for the immediate future.
And while you’re at it, consider your toiletries and cleaning supplies. Do you have a collection of half-used shampoo bottles in the shower? Did you forget you bought that six-pack of toilet bowl cleaner when you picked up two more because you had a coupon? Take note of what you have now and use it up before you buy it again. One key to saving money is being smart about the way you spend your money. Cleaning out your house offers up an opportunity to inventory what you already own, so you can earn money on the things you’re ready to part with and don’t spend money on items you really don’t need.
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