Four Reasons to Start Spring Cleaning in the Winter
So, how familiar does the following scenario sound? Spring has sprung, and you’re eager to throw open your windows and doors and start to spring clean. However, once you get started, you find that you really want to go for a walk and then you find yourself focusing on yard work instead—and, oh! Is that really a flower starting to bloom? and then—well, and then you don’t ever really get back to spring cleaning.
The reality is that winter is an ideal time to spring clean, as odd as that may sound. And, in this post, we’ll share four reasons that make the coldest season the best one to roll up your sleeves and give your home a good, old-fashioned cleaning, along with a fifth tip that suggests a totally different approach.
Winter is also a perfect time to do some spring cleaning on your personal finances, so we’ll offer some of those winter cleaning tips, as well. And the beauty of that sort of spring cleaning is that it can continue to pay dividends throughout the year—year after year.
Your Home is Where You Are in the Winter
Unless you’re a huge winter sports fanatic, you’re likely to be home more in the wintertime than any other time of the year. When the bitter winds whistle and the roads are slick, you’ll likely decide that, on some days, it’s just not worth venturing outside when you don’t have to.
So, if you’re going to be home anyhow, it makes sense to tackle projects that you just haven’t had time to take on. For example, how much easier would life be if your closets were well organized? To get started, choose one closet. Just one closet! Then, get the necessary boxes or crates, and by touching each item in that closet only once, divide everything into one of three categories:
• Throw away
Now, before you put the items you’ll keep back into the closet, explore the numerous really cool, highly effective closet organization systems you can purchase. When your closets are well organized, you’ll save time, and all will look shiny and new.
Plus, you may very well save money, too. That’s because when you can easily access all of your belongings, you likely won’t be purchasing duplicate items because you can’t find what you need.
After you’ve completed this with one closet, go on to the next!
Disinfecting Helps Fight Against Winter Crud
According to WebMD.com , it’s important to include disinfecting as part of your normal cleaning routine—and not just because someone is or was sick. The article quotes a University of Florida microbiology professor who shares that it’s important to make sure the disinfectant you choose targets the viruses you’re concerned about, such as the cold and flu.
Other tips in the article include that disposable disinfectant wipes are a good choice because paper towels and sponges can spread the germs around. (If you don’t want to use disposable wipes, the article says that paper towels are a better choice than sponges.)
You don’t need to scrub every single thing you own when you’re disinfecting. What’s most important is to disinfect frequently touched surfaces and shared spaces in the home. Remember to disinfect door knobs, light switches, cell phones, landlines, trash cans, sinks, your children’s toys, dishes and other items regularly touched.
Since the flu season dovetails fairly closely to the fall and winter seasons, it makes sense to do your deepest cleaning and disinfecting in the winter. This also helps to boost air quality in your home.
You may find yourself putting off carpet cleaning until the spring, figuring that it makes no sense to clean them when people are tracking in slushy snow. But in the spring, people track in mud, right?
So although it makes sense to try to prevent people from tracking in dirt on your carpets, it isn’t necessarily logical to put off cleaning them. Here are several reasons why winter cleaning can be smart:
Because we’re indoors so much, pollutants in the carpeting can hurt air quality.
With furnaces running, your home is probably drier and so the scrubbed carpeting will dry more quickly.
If you hire someone to clean your carpets, they’re probably less busy in the wintertime. As an extra bonus, carpet cleaning companies may offer discounts in winter.
As you clean your carpets, it may make sense to decide whether it’s time to replace any of it. Again, you may be able to find better prices in the winter if you decide it’s time to get something new and fresh.
Your “Spring” Cleaning Can Be Part of a Year-Round Plan
If you’re somebody with a schedule that makes it hard to put aside time to do heavy-duty cleaning, there’s no rule that says you can’t divide it into four parts. You could tackle part of your spring cleaning in the spring—and then equal parts in the summer, fall, and winter. (Sounds radical, doesn’t it? But if this philosophy speaks to you, go for it!)
If you decide to embrace this plan, you can divide your cleaning by room or by task, as just two strategies to consider. What’s most important is that you divide the tasks appropriately so that everything important gets touched on a reasonably regular basis.
You’ll also want to keep doing some tasks in their most logical seasons. For example, if you can’t stand the smell of paint, don’t paint your walls when it’s too frigid to open your doors, and keep servicing your heating system in the fall, air conditioning in spring and so forth.
Winter Cleaning Tips for Your Wallet
Because you’re spending more time inside your home during this season, this is an ideal time to make yourself a hot drink and settle into reviewing your finances and creating a plan for the upcoming year(s).
Now, gather together your financial information and organize data into categories. How much, for example, is your gross monthly income for your household? What financial assets do you have? For example:
• your checking account balance
• savings account balances
• investment balances
• your 401(k) or other retirement account balances
• Getting all of this information may involve tracking down forgotten passwords and putting paper statements into one central place, but it’s worth the effort.
Now what about your expenses and debts? Include both balances and monthly payments for your mortgage loan or rent, car loans, credit cards, student loans and so forth.
While you’re in the midst of your financial cleanup, it may make sense to shred some old documents; here is a list that shares what the IRS recommends you keep for tax purposes. It may be wise to err on the side of keeping too much since the IRS can audit you for the past seven years’ worth of returns.
As part of this plan, also consider which methods make the most sense for you to boost your cash flow. Here are some key insights:
Take an honest look at how you’re spending money, including but not limited to what payments you’re having taken out automatically each month. If you’re like many people, you’re paying for subscriptions that you rarely, if ever, use any more. Services that can help you locate and cancel subscriptions include Truebill and Trim .
Be real about what you really need. Winter is an ideal time to declutter and otherwise simplify your life. As just one example, if you’re paying for a storage unit, how much could you save if you ultra-organized your home and no longer even needed that extra storage?
Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise! This is one of the quickest, ongoing ways to boost personal cash flow.
Personal Loans at SoFi
Now that you’ve looked at these winter tips for your home and for your overall lifestyle, you may have come up with even more ways to spend this winter decluttering, cleaning, and otherwise improving your house.
Some are low cost, while others may necessitate a small investment—and, for those improvements, a lower interest personal loan from SoFi may be able to help.
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