The start of the spring is often associated with ‘Spring Cleaning’. In following suit, I recently did what I would refer to as the start of “The Big Purge” at my home. This brought my thoughts back to what I have previously read about minimalism all of the benefits of it. We wrote an earlier blog post on minimalism which can be viewed here.
Over the years you find that you slowly (or very fast!) accumulate a number of items that you no longer use.
Everything from old college papers, notes, textbooks, unused kitchen supplies, old tax forms, decor, seasonal items, and everything else under the sun. Maybe you throw all this stuff in a closet. Maybe it all goes into your basement. Your attic. A shed. (or if you have a real problem – a storage unit!)
But at some point you need to go through it to take what is important, take back your life (and space!) and move on from the rest.
When performing your spring cleaning it is likely than you cannot just load your car up and dump it all. The problem you have is you need to go through the items in case there are things of value like family photos or that Rolex watch you stuffed in a sock in the bottom of a box. Or maybe even that grade-school drawing you made that you just can’t let go of.
After going through box after box it can put in perspective and make you consider when you buy something – “does it have a place?” This is the same thought you want to have when going through existing items to decide if you are going to keep it.
Start by going through everything and ask yourself: “what value does this provide in my life” and “does it have a place.”
The best way to ‘begin’ this is to begin a downsizing of your current life. And our guide here is some advice to help you get started.
To start your entire spring cleaning endeavor – create piles/boxes of what you are going through to quickly get this completed. The piles can be:
- Throw away
- Think about (for things you just cannot make the snap judgement on)
The trick is to make snap judgements very quickly originally about everything. This will allow you to maximize your time and get through it all very quickly. Speed is a consideration. You do not want to spend your valuable free weekend time cleaning or your “after work free time” on this when you could instead focus on building your business and professional life.
For stuff that you have to “think about“:
- Broken (and unrepairable) – just toss
- Not of any value – just toss
- You have a project planned but never got around to it – ask yourself seriously if you will ever find the time (And retirement shouldn’t be the planned time!)
- Needs repair – ask yourself if you have the skill to repair, the time to repair, or will ever actually repair
For stuff that your grandmother or someone else gave you, you can take the following considerations:
- Ask if you are keeping it only because they made it
- Ask if you will wear it ever? If not, it is best to dump it.
- Can this be useful to someone else can that you know? No? Dump it?
- You have no emotional attachment to the item. Dump it?
- There is no obligations (i.e. do they expect to see it present at your house on on your shelf every time they come over?)
During your spring cleaning you may find that you have accumulated boxes, bookshelves, and lockers full of papers and paperwork. Everything from bills, tax forms, old birthday cards, receipts, and other miscellaneous.
For how to handle papers, photos/pictures, important/large amount receipts – we suggest a few things:
- Scan them
- Take a photo of it
- Throw away old bills
- Keep 7 years of personal tax information (always consult your tax professional for advice)
- Anything that you could easily just Google the information on – just toss
- If it is “informational” (ie like anything you can just google about) – just toss
- After scanning of photo – put the copies on USB pen drives.
And if you really want to get crafty after that, put an extra copy of that:
- in your safety deposit box
- or in a fire proof safe in your home
- or like my father does – store an extra copy at my house and a copy at his house
- For papers that are common and being kept put them all together in one place in a manila folder. This will make future need of these documents significantly easier.
With your spring cleaning in full swing, you need to ask yourself some important questions. Particularly in that you are putting the winter garments away and taking out new season clothing.
The questions include:
- Have i worn this in the last year?
- Is it damaged?
- Does it still fit?
- Is it of enough value that it is worth the time to spend to list it on Craigslist, eBay, or put in a yard sale? If yes, then set it aside. Or call a clean-out or estate sale company.
Donations are a great way to get tax write-offs with clothing or any other items. Be sure to get receipts for the donations. Do note, that you will likely have to claim itemized deductions for any tax benefit. And discuss with your CPA how much you are able to claim. If you hit any maximum’s, consider storing some of the items for the next calendar year taxes.
The takeaway here is to not let your stuff take over your life. Organize. Get back to living your life. Clean quickly and efficiently. Chase more waterfalls and sunsets and focus less on ‘things’. Spend your time experiencing and making memories.
Hopefully this Gentleman’s guide to Spring Cleaning will help you get your life organized, keep you focused on your goals, and lead you on towards further success! Stay focused. Stay organized. And begin with a plan at the start to ensure that every purchase you make aligns with your future vision.
We believe and support you in your vision.
~The Genuine Gentleman~
Tom Morgan & Blake Douglas
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