Spring Cleaning: How to Clear Up Space and Save Money
Spring is known as the time to declutter so we can have a fresh start to the season that brings us longer and warmer days! Throughout the year we can tend to accumulate a lot of things (and possibly debt). This season could be a good time to become more cognizant of what we bring into our house and what we spend our money on. Find out how to declutter your house and your debt below!
How to Clear Up Space Through Spring Cleaning
1. Declutter by Category
You might have heard of Marie Kondo from her books or her show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Part of her teaching is to tidy one category at a time and break the decluttering down to a schedule of what you want to go through - such as, tonight I'll go through my closet and clothing drawers, tomorrow I’ll go through by book case(s), etc. Kondo also suggests decluttering in this order: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and finally, sentimental items. Getting rid of someone’s gift can be difficult, but she recommends that if someone gave you a gift you didn’t really like, it’s okay to let it go. It has already served its purpose of them giving it to you.
A way to decide what clothing you’re getting rid of and what you’re keeping is to place it all on your bed and make a keep, donate and maybe pile. Do this with the other items you go through as well. If it doesn’t “spark joy” and you haven't worn or used something in the last 1-2 years, get rid of it.
One approach to figuring out if you haven’t worn certain clothing in a while is to start the year with all of your hangers facing the opposite way. As you use clothes, hang them back the normal way. At the end of the year, see which clothes you haven't touched and get rid of them!
2. Make Money Off of Your Unwanted Clutter
Now that you’ve gone through your spaces and have sorted out the items that no longer serve a purpose to you, you can try and sell it! Facebook Marketplace is a go-to for selling unnecessary clutter. You'd be surprised as to how many people are interested in buying your old stuff! It's super easy - you just snap a picture, price it and post it. Most people are willing to pick the items up from your house, which is convenient. However, if you don’t feel safe having the buyer go to your house, you can meet them in public and have someone with you. There is also a safe-exchange site at the Lafayette Police Station’s public parking lot on University Avenue.
Secondhand consignment stores provide a way for you to make some cash off of your used clothes. There are a few secondhand stores in the Lafayette area such as Plato’s Closet, Clothes Mentor, Lilou and Once Upon A Child. You can also try online stores such as thredUP and Poshmark.
For electronics, you can sell your unused mobile device or tablet through your nearest ecoATM. The letgo/OfferUp app allows you to sell a large selection of categories. And of course, there’s always a good ol’ garage sale!
Doing a combination of these tactics will most likely provide you with the most return. The money you make can go towards paying off debt, savings or wherever else you might need some extra cash.
Your clutter could be someone else’s treasure. For the items that didn’t sell, give them away! A few places where you can donate items in the Lafayette area are The Salvation Army, ReStore, The Arc and Goodwill. You can also schedule a free donation pickup through Donation Town.
For the more used items that you don’t feel are worthy of donating, but you also don’t want to throw away, Retold Recycling could be the answer. You order bags from them, drop off the bags at your local Post Office (pre-paid shipping) and they send your items to thrift stores, charity stores, recycling companies or to places that take scraps. Their process prevents clothing and other materials from ending up in the landfill sites.
4. Get Organized
Now that you have gotten rid of your unwanted items, it’s time to get organized! This will be the deciding factor of where you want the items that you’re keeping to live. There is another show on Netflix that might give you organizational inspiration; Get Organized with The Home Edit. They have created a system to make sense of how to manage and store your possessions.
How to Save Money Through Spring Cleaning
The Minimalistic Approach
The steps above can help you achieve a more minimalistic lifestyle, if that’s what you desire. The minimalistic approach can help you save money because you end up spending less. There tends to be more focus on buying what is needed rather than on “frivolous purchases.” The Good Trade suggests if you get a new item, you have to toss out an old one. Having less clutter and being organized will make it much easier to find what you’re looking for and help you avoid repurchasing something you already have.
Consolidate vs. Refinance
Your house may not be the only area that needs decluttering. This could also be a good time to clean up your debt. Consolidating and refinancing are two ways that can help you pay off your debt quicker and possibly give you a smaller note each month, thus saving money.
Consolidation should be considered if you have many debts, such as a few credit cards, car notes, student loans, etc. National Debt Relief mentions that it could help you in the long run if you’re finding yourself unable to stay on top of the bills. After consolidating, you would have one (possibly lower than all combined) payment to keep up with instead of several. Check out this calculator to determine if debt consolidation is the right move.
Refinancing could be the right choice if you have “higher-than-average interest rates” and if there are opportunities to reduce your term, rate or monthly note. During the refinancing process, we essentially pay off your current loan and replace it with an entirely new loan. For more information on our refinancing process, visit our blog post “Is it Time to Refinance Your Loan?”
Getting decluttered and organized may not happen overnight, but with chipping away at the practices above, you are sure to get there sooner than later. Start by working on one category at a time and evaluating your finances. The rest will start to fall into place with determination and patience!