Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pinching a Pretty Penny

As I sat down to post this morning, I heard a little voice in my head ask, "are you really going to evangelize more about spring cleaning?  Won't people think that's lame?"

And the answers: yes...and perhaps, yes.  Lame or not, I just can't help but sharing insight gleaned from simple and yet overlooked activities.  I mean, I recognize that in today's culture, with all of our fancy gadgets and important careers and highly developed parenting methods, that spring cleaning seems quite antiquated.  But as with all things domestic, I'm learning that sometimes rewarding solutions can be found in unlikely places.

So it is with the financial rewards of spring cleaning.  I already highlighted one possible financial benefit of clearing away your clutter yesterday, which is donation.  Not only do you get a little tax relief (and who couldn't use that!?), but you can invest in good causes in your local area too.  It's a win-win.

Beyond donation, there are other financial benefits I have discovered along my scrubbing path.  I wrote last week about "Make Do and Mend," where I testified about the convicting impact of seeing all my "stuff" piled up.  My well-developed affection for buying pretty things has been seriously challenged under the light of Windex sparkle, reminding me of just how often I purchase new things when the old ones will satisfy.  Why do I need new books when I've never even made it through my copy of Jane Eyre?  And can I really justify a new quilt for my bed when I have enough fabric stashed around to make my own?

Can you see how asking these questions can have a positive effect on my wallet?  As in I am persuaded to spend less?  Spring cleaning has unexpectedly refined my "do I really need this?" litmus test.

Finally, while rummaging through my medicine cabinets and pantry, I discovered that my disorderliness has lead me to buy a lot of stuff I already have.  Case in point, I counted 4 bottles of heartburn medicine and three boxes of butterfly bandaids while sorting--evidence that I've purchased these things from the store under the false impression that I had run out.  I wondered, how often do I do this?  How many times do I pick up things from the store because I'm not familiar with what I have at home?"  Can I honestly feel good about the stewardship of my resources when I don't even know when I've run out of something?

Getting clean and organized has reacquainted me with the contents of my cabinets and cubbies, and just in time!

Now, call me crazy, but I don't know of any personal accounting and/or tax software that will locate donation items, prevent me from purchasing duplicates, and improve my consumer conscience for the cost of some rags and a bottle of Windex.

Spring cleaning wins again!

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