6 Ways Spring Cleaning Can Save You Money
As we inch closer to spring, the inevitable task of spring cleaning looms over us all. Let’s be real, finding the time and energy to tackle this annual chore can be, to put it mildly, difficult. But don’t worry too hard! There’s some good news that might just give you the extra push you need to get started on that daunting to-do list. And that good news? Saving cash!
That’s right. Spring cleaning doesn’t just have to be about decluttering and scrubbing every nook and cranny of your house. It can also be an opportunity to discover some new ways to save money. Believe it or not, there are some areas that often get overlooked during spring cleaning that could actually be hiding some potential savings.
So, before you dive into the standard routine, why not take a moment to consider some of these often-neglected ideas? You just might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!
1. Better Gas Mileage
Over the months of driving, a vehicle has a way of accumulating stuff, especially for those who spend a lot of time in their car. Whether you’re a parent wrestling a tide of sippy cups and soccer cleats or a commuter hauling around a gym bag that includes a complete set of weights, you could be driving around a lot of unneeded junk.
According to the EPA, removing 100 pounds from a vehicle results in a 1-2% increase in fuel efficiency. Take the time to clean out your vehicle, reassessing which items to keep and removing the ones you don’t use at least once a week.
Removing roof racks or bike racks when they’re not in use will also make a car more fuel-efficient, as it both lowers the weight and makes the car more aerodynamic. These efforts can go a long way toward saving money.
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2. Find Forgotten Cash and Gift Cards
There’s the old cliche of scrounging under couch cushions for loose change, and almost everyone’s experienced the joy of finding a forgotten $20 in a jacket they haven’t worn in a while. But keep an eye out for unused gift cards, too — they might provide a greater windfall than nickels and dimes, and you’re as likely to run across them; In July 2021, Consumer Reports conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,184 U.S. adults and found that 51% of Americans possess at least one unredeemed gift card.
With a thorough spring cleaning of your home, check under couch cushions and furniture; in drawers, jackets and purses; and glove compartments. You could easily scrape up enough in change or cash to fund your next trip to the laundromat, or get a free trip to your favorite coffeehouse with a long-lost gift card.
If you find an old gift card that you are pretty sure you used, you can still double-check the balance on most merchants’ sites to see if there’s a bit of money left on it. Lastly, check your digital accounts and inboxes to see if there are any online gift certificates, promotions or Groupon online deals you never got around to redeeming.
3. Stop Paying for a Storage Unit
There’s no doubt storage units are costly. Storage units are expensive, and all you’re getting is somewhere to put your stuff. Chances are, if you don’t need that stuff enough to keep it in your home, you probably don’t use it enough to justify owning it, anyway.
“Many people rent storage elsewhere because they have too much stuff in their house,” shares Joel Comino of Next Modular. “Getting rid of items by donating or selling them can free up space and money that could be going towards storage fees.”
Take the time to head to your storage unit and go through everything that’s in it, and ask yourself, “Which is greater — the value of this item or the cost of storing it?” Sure, you might use that box of as-seen-on-TV kitchen utensils again someday, but chances are it would be more economical to get rid of it for now and replace it later when you have the space.
Decide what to keep, what to trash and what to sell, whether it’s online or by hosting a successful yard sale. And in the process of spring cleaning your home or apartment, make space for whatever you choose to keep.
4. Get Organized and Stop Buying Duplicates
An organized and decluttered home can make all the difference in saving money and time. Toni Anderson of TheHappyHousewife.com learned this lesson when, in the process of decluttering her garage, she found eight different hammers. “I guess when you can’t find a hammer, you buy a new one!” Anderson joked.
By cleaning out and organizing your home, your closets or your garage, she said, “You save money by knowing where your tools are so you don’t have to buy a new one every time you need one.”
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5. Make Appliances More Energy-Efficient
Behind the fridge, under the stove, or in the air conditioner lurks a layer of filth that would make even the most stout-hearted housekeeper tremble. But grab some rubber gloves and be brave: Your household appliances need you. With the dust, dirt and grime that build up over time, appliances often lose their ability to function optimally.
“Spring cleaning can reveal areas in your home that need repairs. Instead of hiring a professional, try DIY repairs to save money,” shares Zak Fleming of Express Handyman. Energy-saving tasks to add to your spring cleaning regimen include replacing cleaning the dust off the coils in the back of your refrigerator, washing air conditioner filters, cleaning the inside of the dishwasher, and dusting off light bulbs and light fixtures.
“Consider installing energy-efficient light bulbs, unplugging appliances when not in use, and adjusting your thermostat a few degrees to save money on heating and cooling costs,” shares Laura Avila of Cleaning Fan.
6. Enjoy a Clean Home
When my apartment is a mess, it’s the last place I want to be, especially when I’m in the mood relax and unwind. Sometimes I’ll find myself dragging my husband to the movie theater when we’d planned to watch a flick at home, simply to avoid the mess. A night that would’ve cost maybe $2 between my Netflix subscription and microwave popcorn quickly adds up to $50 or more for movie tickets, gas and snacks.
When your environment is clean and organized, you’ll want to spend more time in your home, saving money on all kinds of potential costs — gas, parking, dining out, entertainment, tips and more. You get the perfect spring-cleaned setting to plan your next get-together on the cheap, whether it be a romantic dinner date or a game night with booze and buddies. A clean home or apartment will allow you to invite people over without feeling self-conscious.
Spring cleaning is a lot like saving money: Start small and do what you can, and soon enough you’ll see results. By spending a little time getting your living spaces in order, you can add to your savings account and improve your mindset.
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Elyssa Kirkham contributed to the reporting for this article.