After a few months of winter hibernation, I think most of us look forward to the arrival of spring. In DC, we are surrounded by beautiful blooms, including the famous cherry blossoms, and now we see many more people out and about along the hiking trails or dining outdoors, while enjoying the milder climates.  And with each spring, there’s always the added joy of celebrating Easter and/or Passover with family and friends.  But for some of us, there is the added bonus of taking the opportunity to do some spring cleaning.  Here are just a few suggestions for those seeking guidance on this front:

  1. Finances– Despite the annoyance of gathering documents and filing our taxes by mid-April, the upside is that it is the perfect time to organize our financial lives.  Shred old documents that are no longer needed, and meanwhile create a system for finding the key information you do need, especially pertaining to your income, assets and liabilities.  Take the time to reflect on your obligations, and whether you are working with a balanced budget.  Are there financial goals you would like to meet?  Develop a plan for reaching those goals and ridding yourself of debt.
  2. Personal items– Now is the time to purge the winter clothes you either did not use at all or know you won’t use again.  Only store the items you really want, and then as you pull out the spring clothes go through the same analysis: will I really use this or is it time to retire this outfit?  Make yourself finish this purge process before you reward yourself with anything new, and encourage other members of your household to do the same.
  3. Digital files– Like it or not, we all are leaving digital fingerprints these days.  Try to clean out old files and photos stored not just on your computer, but out there on the cloud.  While you’re at it, make sure you are not still connected to people you don’t want as contacts in your social media accounts.  Finally, consider going through your credit reports and making sure the data they have is correct.
  4. Relationships– I don’t mean to be harsh, but we’re now over 100 days into the new year.  It is time to get rid of dead weight– seriously, set limits on those around you that are dragging you down.   There are unfortunately some incredibly needy and/or selfish people out there, and they will zap you of your energy with their own stuff rather than allow you to thrive and focus your energy on pursuing your own goals.   You need to think about the ROI with each significant relationship you have, and set boundaries where necessary to preserve your most precious resources (time, money, and energy) so they can be put to the best possible use for matters of greatest importance to you.

Most of you hate spring cleaning, I know, so pace yourself.  Don’t tackle all these chores at once, and build in little rewards for yourself each step of the way.  Purging is emotionally draining, and can be quite time consuming.  But in the end, there is an incredible sense of satisfaction that should make it all worth while– especially because the sooner you rid yourself of the crap in your life (that includes debt, junk, and poor influences in your personal life), the sooner you can make room for quality experiences to fill that void.

By Regina A. DeMeo