As the sun shines a little longer and the chill of winter begins to fade, many find that spring is the perfect time to re-organize their lives. Whether re-arranging your closet, tossing out unwanted household items or filing away important financial documents, now is the time to reset and declutter your life!
The desire to clean when the seasons change is not new. In fact, spring cleaning has been going on for centuries and dates back to the early 19th century, when there was inadequate heating in homes and certain types of cleaning had to wait until the spring.
Today, this common practice shows no signs of slowing down. According to a recent survey, 72 percent of households annually participate in spring cleaning. According to Organized Industry, while the focus of our forefathers was to remove soot and grime that wood and coal left behind after a harsh winter, today people focus their spring cleaning on everything from traditional cleaning to re-organizing their lives.
Before you grab your broom and dustpan, consider which projects you want to work on this spring. Carefully select the tasks you want to accomplish to ensure you check off all the items on your to-do list.
Below are some easy projects that will keep your home, assets and life decluttered this spring:
• The Six-Month Rule: One of the biggest reasons people end up with clutter in their homes is because they have old items they haven't used in years. There are a variety of reasons for keeping these items, including fond memories or a feeling of needing them someday. However, holding onto these unnecessary things can interfere with your everyday life, including making it more difficult to find items you need daily, like your car keys or your remote controls. An easy way to remedy this is to get rid of anything you haven't used in six months. If it is hard for you to simply toss these things out, consider giving them to your children or grandchildren. Passing down treasures is a great way to keep them in the family and bring joy to your loved ones. Best of all, every time they use these items, they will think of you.
• Out with the Old: For most of us, it is easy to add to our closet, but hard to take away. The result is a mountain of clothes rarely worn. In fact, the average American only wears 10 to 20 percent of their clothes. According to HGTV, if you want to declutter your wardrobe, consider starting from scratch. Take everything out of your closet and separate newer clothes from older and more worn outfits. Donate the more worn outfits and organize the new outfits by style! Keep all of your clothes in one part of the closet and shoes in another part. As you buy new items, follow the "put one in and take one out" rule. Don't forget to donate your old clothes to a local charity. Remember, what is old to you is new to someone else.
• Set Up a Home Office: If you're looking for a place to file away your old tax returns or paid bills, why not set up a home office? A home office is the perfect location to organize all of your important documents and boost your productivity! If space is an issue, consider setting up a desk in a guest room. If you don't have the space for a bookcase or file cabinet, turn an extra closet into a shelving area. Pinterest has some great examples of how you can easily and affordably do this.
• Create an Orderly Kitchen: Kitchens are probably one of the busiest and most cluttered rooms in a home. Whether your fridge is full of condiments you haven't used in months or you have mismatched food storage containers, organizing your kitchen will bring you peace of mind. The first step in organizing your kitchen is to empty all of the cabinets. Discard or donate items you never use, have duplicates of or are broken. Then group all like items and store them together. Consider investing in a rack to hang your pots and pans, as this will give you more storage and counter space. Finally, clean out your fridge at least once a week. If your trash is collected the same time each week, try to schedule time to clean it out that day. Store food in clear containers so you can easily see what is in your fridge. Reusable containers are very affordable and can be purchased at places like Walgreens and Family Dollar.
• Make Sure Your Car is Road Ready, Inside and Out: With the busy lives most of us lead, it is easy to simply throw junk into our car and forget about it. The result is a messy car that is a distraction when you're on the road. However, organizing your car can quickly and easily be done. The first step is to always have a trash receptacle in your automobile. One easy way to do this is to turn a cereal dispenser into a trash can. These light-weight plastic containers are small enough to store in your car, and the covered lids keep the trash from falling out as you drive. Also, purchase a coupon organizer and store all your important car-related documents in it. Once you are finished declutter-ing your car, don't forget to use this time to take care of necessary maintenance. Spring is the perfect time to get an oil change, tire rotation and repair any other items before you hit the road for summer vacation. Places like RepairPal and Monro Muffler Brake & Service offer great upkeep deals at an affordable price.
• Organize your Digital Life: In today's society, people store their whole lives on their computers, on their smartphones and in their emails. However, if not properly maintained, it can be hard to find important items. As you do your annual spring cleaning, don't forget about your digital life! Start by upgrading any software, programs and apps. Also, go through your email and do a serious purge. Create subfolders and file away important emails, delete unneeded emails and unsubscribe to e-blasts you never read. A few websites that can help you do this include unroll.me, sanebox.com and mailstrom.co. Finally, clear your desktop by deleting unwanted documents, creating folders and getting rid of shortcuts you never use. Your smartphone could use a good cleaning, too; any apps you haven't used in three months should be deleted.
• Don't Forget About Yourself: When people strive to declutter their lives, one of the things they often forget about is themselves. Reducing your commitments and re-evaluating how you spend your time are great ways to bring peace to your everyday life. Write down all of your commitments and evaluate how important they are. While there are some commitments we can't escape, such as work and kids, others we can. If it isn't bringing you happiness, cut it out of your life. Also, reconsider your routines as many of us lack structure in our daily lives. Create a list of what you want to achieve each week. Then assign these goals to different days and cross them off as you accomplish them. For example, instead of doing laundry every few days, consider doing all your loads in one day. Also, plan out what you are going to cook for dinner each night a week in advance. Having a routine of what you will accomplish each day will give you a sense of order and make your life feel less chaotic.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place