How spring cleaning can save you money

May 1, 2014

By Sheryl Smolkin


Cleaning closets and taking out the garage are not my idea of a good time. In fact some years I realize it’s July and our collection of snow boots is still sitting in the front hall.

But this year the clutter really started to get to me. And the fact that my son is moving from Vancouver to Toronto and will be living with us for several months was added incentive for finding ways to free up storage space.

If you need a good reason for overcoming inertia and getting your spring cleaning done, think about how many ways you can save money by doing a complete purge.

  1. Time is money: How much time have you spent lately looking for your favourite pair of black pants or the warranty on the TV that suddenly stopped working? Going through drawers and cupboards and reorganizing them will jog your memory and save you hours looking for things when time is at a premium.
  2. Space: Filing space in my office is limited. I thought about getting another filing cabinet but that could cost me over $100 and I’d have to get rid of the comfy couch to make room. By cleaning out my work files I was able to free up enough space for another year.
  3. Find stuff: This winter has been interminable. At the end of February my black purse clearly needed to be replaced. When I was rooting through my bedroom closet I found that at the same time I bought the black Sportsac that is in tatters, I also bought a silver grey one. Therefore I didn’t need to spend time and money shopping for a new bag.
  4. Preserve what you have: Winter coats and boots that sit in the closet from one season to the next without being cleaned may look so shabby by the next fall that the only option is to go shopping for new stuff. By washing or dry cleaning winter gear and polishing winter boots before storing them, you will extend their wear and avoid having to replace them as often.
  5. Charitable donations: You hire people to shovel snow or cut the grass because you are too busy or you are no longer physically able to do these chores. Yet you have a snow blower and a lawn mower taking up space in your garage. Some organizations will issue an official tax receipt for the fair market value of a non-cash “gift in kind.”
  6. Sell stuff: One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. You can sell everything from children’s toys to gently worn clothes to the yogurt maker you never use at a garage sale or online. Few of us will unearth a Van Gogh and make millions but every little bit helps.
  7. Anticipate costly repairs: A minor crack inthe foundation this year could result in a flooded basement next year. Dead batteries in smoke or carbon monoxide detectors could put your family’s health and safety at risk. A good spring cleaning can uncover inexpensive fixes you can do now to save big bucks down the road.
  8. Increase house value: If you are trying to sell your home you have the ultimate incentive to de-clutter and do repairs. Everyone knows someone who had their house “staged” and sold it in a few days for more than the asking price. Your house will sell faster and prospective buyers will pay more if it appears to be spacious, well-kept and move-in ready.

Do you have any ideas for saving money? Share your money saving tips with us at and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.


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