Spring gets all the credit as the season for cleaning. After being cooped up for months, the ritual makes sense. But fall-cleaning can be just as important as spring-cleaning. Take some time to tidy your home and your finances so you can enter winter with a fresh space and fresh mind. Here are some tips to help guide your fall-cleaning.
Ditch the clutter
Summer can be a busy time, and even if you went through your home in the spring, you might have accumulated more things you don't need. This can also be a good time to re-evaluate summer items that you didn't use all summer long. If you plan to just store them for another year, it might be time to get rid of them.
It's a good idea to evaluate what you have and separate them into categories. There are the items you want to keep, those you want to sell, those you want to give away or donate, and those you want to throw away.
Try doing an exchange with friends if you are looking for new-to-you items to replace the ones you are getting rid of. You could host a garage sale if you have enough stuff and you are looking to make some money. There may even be less competition for buyers than in the spring.
You could also turn to online sales sites such as eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, and others. For the items you want to donate, or those that don't sell, you can look to a local church or community center, the Salvation Army, or Goodwill. Your fall-cleaning can even help you make a profit or receive tax breaks.
Check your finances
Fall can also be a great time to take a closer look at your money situation and get back on track. The first step is getting organized.
Go through all your papers and figure out what you should file and what you can get rid of. Consider separate files for investment statements, insurance documents, tax paperwork, receipts, and credit card, other debt, and personal loan documents.
This is also a great opportunity to evaluate your budget and be sure you have more money coming in than going out. You can even develop a system (if you don't already have one) of tracking your monthly and annual costs and be sure your habits align with your financial goals, whether those include becoming debt-free, buying a home, saving for retirement, expanding your investment portfolio, or just taking a trip. And while you're at it, check your credit to make sure all is in order. You can get two free credit scores on Credit.com, updated every 30 days.
With all the new beginnings of fall, it is easy to get caught up in pumpkin spices and cozy sweaters without properly preparing for the winter. It's a good idea to take the time to clean out your home and prep your finances for the season ahead. There's no rule you have to do it only once a year!
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