Tips for organizing on a budget and cleaning out your closets. Spring cleaning helps organize your home and it can also help you save money.
As we enter March, Spring and the promise of warmer weather are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. There is something about this time of year that also has most people itching to do some Spring cleaning. Spring cleaning helps you enter the warmer months with a house that feels fresh and organized. Plus, it can also help you save money. And organizing on a budget means not spending money on organizing things that you have too much of. Often times we have an over-consumption issue and not an organizational issue.
Spring cleaning and organizing on a budget gives you the opportunity to take stock of your belongings, food, and even cleaning supplies. Cleaning out and organizing helps you know what you need in the upcoming months, and what you don’t. This helps you make more meaningful purchases. And stop spending money on things you don’t need, or that you may have forgotten you already have.
Spring Cleaning and Organizing on a Budget
The Closet Cleanout
A great place to start cleaning and organizing on a budget is the closet! I start by organizing my clothes by category, like skirts, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, etc. As I’m sorting the clothes I take a few seconds to “Marie Kondo” my closet. I think about what outfits I could create with each piece. Then I consider how I look in them, and whether or not I even like them anymore. Items that don’t fit or aren’t flattering go into a pile. So do clothes that I don’t like anymore.
By going through my closet piece by piece I’m able to touch and think about each item of clothing. I consider why I bought the clothes and how often I wear them. If I don’t wear it very often, why? After a good closet clean, I’m more creative with my clothing because I’ve had time to think about each piece. It can be fun to shop your own closet and put together “new” outfits without spending any money.
Toss, Donate or Sell Clothes Your Old Clothes
Once I’m finished sorting my entire closet, I go through my pile of discarded clothes. Clothes with stains or holes get thrown out or cut into cleaning rags. Anything in good condition either gets donated or sold. Selling clothes is a great example of how you can save, or in this case make, money from Spring Cleaning. It doesn’t take long to snap a few pictures of the clothes and list them on Poshmark. I just make sure that I take clear photos, in good lighting, because quality photos usually result in more sales. Selling clothes also helps alleviate any guilt about buying certain items that you no longer want or need. Those items served their purpose with you and now it’s moving on to someone else that will enjoy it. And you get a few bucks out of the deal!
An organized closet also helps cut down on unnecessary spending. When I can see all of my clothes in an organized manner, I’m less likely to make impulse purchases of clothes that I don’t really need. I’m also less likely to forget that I already own something. I’m not a huge impulse shopper, but when I do online shop I always take a quick peek around my closet to be sure that I don’t already own something similar to what’s in my cart. Doing this has saved me SO much money!
Create your own household budget using this detailed tutorial!
Organizing on a Budget: Spring Cleaning the Refrigerator and Pantry
Cleaning out the fridge and giving it a good scrub is probably already part of your Spring cleaning routine. But what about organization? I often buy things from the grocery store that I don’t need because my fridge is a mess. An organized refrigerator helps save time and money on groceries. Saving a few dollars here and there on condiments and dressings may not seem very important. But those unnecessary purchases can add up over time.
Like my closet, I clean out the fridge every few months and toss any old or expired food. I also reorganize to make my weekly grocery order easier. All I have to do is take a quick scan of the condiments, open the cheese drawer and the crisper. Then, I know exactly what we need. I also do this with the freezer and pantry. We have a chest freezer in our garage as well, so I have to inventory both. If we are out of something in one freezer, I check the garage before ordering the groceries.
Remember, organizing on a budget means not purchasing a bunch of bins or cute containers to corral the mess. It means cleaning out what you have. Then arrange it all so you can easily take stock and not waste money.
Our pantry is organized by category, so all of the baking things are together, breakfast items are on the same shelf, etc. This helps me not spend money on things we already have. I also only grocery shop once a week. I don’t buy groceries on impulse because I usually end up buying things we already have, or things that we don’t need. If you haven’t cleaned and organized your fridge and pantry in a while, Spring cleaning is a great time to do so! And because I organize on a budget, my pantry isn’t full of cute containers for cereal or snacks. I can see everything just fine without the fancy bins.
Organizing Cleaning Supplies
I follow a similar method for my cleaning supplies. All of the cleaning supplies that I need for cleaning the downstairs are together either under the kitchen sink or in a bin in the pantry. I also have a bin upstairs, so I’m not carrying supplies up and down the stairs. When I make my grocery list, I just take a quick peek at both of my bins. Then I know exactly which supplies I need for cleaning. This keeps me from running out of something and forgetting about it or buying more supplies unnecessarily. Organizing my cleaning supplies, and ordering them once a week with my groceries, keeps me from impulse buying or running out of things I need.
Spring Cleaning and Organizing on a Budget: Toys
Sort Toys Into Piles
My favorite thing to Spring clean and to organize in general are my kids’ toys. Toys just get more and more out of control as time passes. Every few months my patience runs out and I HAVE to clean everything. I follow a similar method to how I clean out my closet when I organize the toys. I make piles of toys sorted into four categories. The categories are: Frequently Played With, Toys Played With Less Often, I Broken Toys, and Toys Never Played With. The Never Played With pile goes right into a box to be donated. There’s no point in keeping toys that never get played with. Especially when another kid somewhere may enjoy it. Broken toys go in the trash. I find that it’s best to wait until my kids are either not home or napping before throwing toys away.
Wash All the Toys
All of the toys that I plan on keeping get a good washing. I fill a large pot with soap and water and dip the toys in. I wipe them with a paper towel or washcloth. Then I rinse them and lay them on a towel to dry. Toys with holes that may trap water and grow mold don’t get submerged in water. I will just wipe the outside with a soapy cloth, then rinse with a clean, wet cloth. Toys that have batteries or shouldn’t get wet usually get wiped off with a disinfectant wipe. The wipes should be food-safe, like these wipes from Seventh Generation.
Usually, I wash toys at night after the kids are in bed to give everything time to dry overnight. I don’t always wash toys when I’m doing my Spring cleaning. It usually depends on the last time I washed them. I always wash everything after the girls have been sick. So if that has happened recently I skip the Spring cleaning wash.
Organize Toys By Category
Once all of the toys are clean, then I start organizing. I make sure that all similar toys are grouped together. For example dolls, action figures, and stuffies go together, all the kitchen stuff is together, and dress-up clothes are together. Toys like blocks, Magnatiles, and Duplos are in plastic bins with lids to keep them together. My girls have a lot of LEGO and Duplos, so I sort those by sets. They never stay like this for long, but the girls do appreciate it for a few weeks.
Start a Toy Rotation to Keep Play Fresh
My girls are very fortunate to have a lot of really great toys. I don’t put any sort of cap on how many toys they have. However, I notice they sometimes get overwhelmed with options, so I rotate their toys every few months. The kids have two play spaces for their toys, one downstairs and another upstairs. The upstairs space is our loft, so it’s right outside of their bedrooms and my office. Each play space has a set of blocks, a few bins of LEGO, puzzles, and dress-up clothes. Downstairs has their kitchen toys and cars, upstairs is for Little People and character playsets. I also keep certain playsets, LEGO bins, and blocks in the linen closet.
When they are unfocused in their play I swap out the toy bins and give them something new. This is (finally) where we get into organizing saving us money on toys! Since all of the toys are organized by similarity into bins, I know exactly what toys we have. I also know if we have too much of something. I can also easily discern which toys get played with the most often. So when someone wants to buy them something, I know immediately if they will enjoy it. We rarely need to buy the girls new toys because the toy rotation keeps things fresh.
Spring cleaning is a great way to have a tidy home and helps save money in the long term. Whether it be from selling things you no longer need, or just being more mindful about shopping habits.
If you liked this post, check out my hack for cleaning my house quickly by using a timer and my series on creating a household budget!