Budgeting Expenses Using A Calculator

I looked out the window today and saw a site I could hardly believe. I know it’s late March and that spring technically arrived a week ago. But in years past, I remember spring sort of edging its way into winter, with a warm day here, a warm day there. This year, however, it was cold one day then the next day (and every day after that) it was warm. My lawn went from its typical light brownish-green to vivid green overnight. Flowers are blooming everywhere, and a light film of yellow pollen is already forming on my car, my front stoop and my windows sills. So much for easing into spring.

So this year, as in most years, many people get the itch to redecorate as spring arrives. But hold on just a minute, I have a favor to ask of you: don’t. Yes, the woman who lives to redecorate and encourage others to do the same is asking you to control that urge to decorate your home. But it’s for a very good reason: I want you to clean your home first.

Oh sure, cleaning your space probably isn’t the most fun you can have on a weekend. But if you’re going to redecorate you really need to do this first. If you’re shaking your head saying “nope, not me, my house is just as clean as a whistle, thanks very much for asking,” I urge you to answer the following questions:

  • Is your refrigerator drip pan overflowing? (If your answer is “What’s a drip pan?” then it probably is.)
  • Have you moved your stove, your washing machine and your dryer lately to see what growing villages of crumbs, spare socks and dust bunnies are thriving in those areas?
  • Are your clothing closets neat and organized, with season-appropriate items ready to grab and off-season items stored elsewhere? Have you donated everything that doesn’t fit (or please you) to charity?
  • How are your baseboards and window sills? How about the other woodwork door frames, door frames and crown molding? Is there a layer of dust on them where you could write your name? (Hint: You should not be able to do this.)
  • Have your rugs been vacuumed, shaken out and maybe even shampooed lately? How’s your carpeting?
  • Look up at your ceiling fans-can you see dust on them that will be flung across your room the next time you turn it on?
  • And the one everyone hates to hear: Have you removed and washed your windows screen lately?

Spring cleaning is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. So set aside a weekend and tackle as much as you can. Start by making a list of everything you want to accomplish and assigning duties to family members. If your family is less-than-enthusiastic about the whole idea, throw a Spring Cleaning Extravaganza. Play music all day long and bake goodies such as cookies the night before to help induce the sugar rush you’ll need to get you through the day. And if you think your kids won’t cooperate, get creative. How about a $5 prize to the kid whose room is cleanest at the end of the day, judged by a neutral party such as a neighbor?

Once you’ve completed your massive clean out, then you can think about redecorating for spring. Some easy ways to décorten up your décor for the warmer weather ahead include:

  • Remove heavy curtains and leave windows bare in areas that don’t require privacy.
  • Exchange your duvets comforters and duvets for lighter, airier quilts in spring colors.
  • Inject bright or pastel colors wherever you can using throw pillows, silk flower arrangements and linens. (I just tossed a white chenille bedspread over a dark dreary chair and added a small floral pillow-a totally new spring look for no investment at all.)
  • Pare down your knickknacks and get some air between your furnishings.
  • Switch out your lampshades and bathroom towels to ones with lighter, brighter colors.
  • Add candles and potpourri to every room so the smell of spring can live throughout your home.
  • And of course, fills your vases with live flowers!