Five areas of your life to spring clean
There’s certainly something very satisfying about spring cleaning. To roll up your sleeves, pile up all the clutter and channel your inner Marie Kondo to decide which items ‘spark joy’.
Current trends focus on minimalism: cutting back and leaving only things that truly serve you. This is a concept that can be applied to many areas of life and the traditional spring clean can act as a great opportunity to declutter across the board.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
It’s too easy for your digital life to run away with itself sometimes, emails piling up and mailboxes bursting under the weight of files and photos.
The fortunate thing about this all being digital is that there are many apps and websites out there to help you, for example if you’re a bit of a photographer, the Google Photos app automatically backs up your snaps and categorises them by time, place and objects they feature.
It’s also a great opportunity to go through your phone and delete any apps you don’t use anymore. Be sure to also close your account with that company so they can no longer keep your data or send you communications.
Clearing out your work calendar can be a huge relief too – it’s likely you’ll find a high volume of recurring meetings that last happened a year ago which you can delete. Once these are gone, you’ll see how much free time you actually have in a day.
Nothing feels quite as satisfying as a cleared-out wardrobe, with lots of free coat hangers.
To spring clean your wardrobe, first bring everything out, including garments from your drawers. Start dividing into piles. Inevitably, you’ll start creating a “not sure” pile. When assessing these, ask yourself “Have I worn this in the past year?” and “Does this make me feel like ‘me’?” If the answer is “No” and “Not really” consider throwing it out, leaving only pieces you love to wear and make you feel true to yourself.
There are lots of options for your unwanted clothes and shoes, from charity shops to local buying and selling apps like Depop.
Typically, New Year is the time to evaluate where you’re going in life, whether your current path is serving you well and to take stock of your options.
Spring cleaning time therefore offers an opportunity to see what progress you’ve made on your goals and whether you need to reassess.
Take a look both five years into the past and five years into the future – it’s often a pleasant surprise to see how far you’ve come and can also be a bit of a reality check if you struggle to envision how you’d progress.
From here, you can set a career goal; whatever it is, be sure to write your intentions down. This provides a key outlook on what you are working towards, making you more likely to stick to it.
With our busy lives, health can be something that falls to the bottom of the pile.
However, it’s deceptively easy to fit healthy habits into your routine, if you are determined to make changes in your life. For example, could you make more time for yourself in the morning, even if it’s setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier to do some yoga? Could you swap your morning tea for a cup of green tea? Could you walk or cycle some of your commute?
Write down your daily routine so you can see where there are gaps, wasted time or swaps you can make – or indeed time you can take for self care. Once it’s written down, it’s so much easier to stick to – and, over time, repeated actions become good habits that aren’t as easy to break.
As with almost any money matter, the best place to start is with your budget; what’s going in, what’s going out and where it’s going. Once you have a good overview of your situation, you can decide where you could cut back or reprioritise, potentially freeing up funds. There are many budgeting apps which present your spending habits in easy-to-understand graphs.
Specifically, look at your savings. Could you set up a standing order to your savings account, just after payday, so you’re saving “by default” each month? Could you be saving more, or getting a higher interest rate for your hard-earned money?
If you have borrowing on different credit cards and loans with various lenders, it can be difficult to keep track of. Some people may find consolidation useful, which involves paying off all your borrowings with a new loan or credit card. You would then have one payment per month to think about which could make your finances easier to manage. Bear in mind though that if you spread your payments over a longer period, you could end up paying more overall, even if the interest rate on your new loan is lower.