Clean Your House of Clutter and Reevaluate Your Spending

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Spring cleaning does more than spruce up the house after a long winter. It allows people to take stock of their belongings and hopefully reevaluate their spending. By forcing yourself to look at where your money is spent, you become aware of where it can be saved.

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In the Kitchen

It's easy to overspend at the grocery store, and food shopping is draining on a person's finances to begin. Yet, a quick spring cleaning of the pantry will allow your family to see where those food dollars actually go.

Start counting. Count the boxes of cereal and bags of snacks that are opened. Are there more than two of each product? Mom's old rule of finishing one box before opening another is valuable. There is an illusion that by opening two or more boxes of cereal or bags of chips more variety offered. Yet, all it does is allow taste buds to choose their favorite snack and then leave the other to go stale. Count how many pantry items have expired or gone stale. You're spending money to replace these items. Instead, purchase some bag clips to keep things fresh, or save even more money by using clothespins to hold bags tightly.

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Into the Closet

Inventorying the clothes closet and setting up rules will help to save money in the long run. First, eliminate clothes that haven't been worn in the past six months or season. Eliminate clothes that aren't loved or don't fit regardless of the weight you're planning to lose. Your closet should be filled with clothes that you love and make you feel good. Anything else needs to go.

Once the closet is cleared of excess, it's easy to see where there are "holes" in the wardrobe. Focus on purchasing to fill these holes rather than to build upon areas that are already overstocked. Shop for interchangeable outfits that mix-and-match. Not only will it save money, but it will save space as well. Also, avoid the current fashion trends that will disappear in a season and opt for more practical items with "in-the-now" accessories.

Make Room for the Car

Does the car actually fit in the garage? Garages tend to be the areas which accumulate the most unneeded items. Follow this steadfast rule and your car will have its home again: use it or toss it. If an item hasn't been used in the past year, it doesn't need to stay. Keep this rule in mind while shopping as well to avoid the impractical gadgets that take up time and space.

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Build shelving upwards in any storage area and organize like items together. Storage works best in totes such as Rubbermaid which protect and organize items. Label each tote with a permanent black marker, and label all four sides. This type of organization will eliminate purchasing doubles or replacements for seemingly lost items.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at Englishteach@rcn.com or visit her website at http://users.rcn.com/wesavedamutt/Writer

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