Clean up, save some money

Can we agree that this winter has lasted way too long? My heart is aching for sweet spring sunshine, the smell of freshly cut grass, and the warmth of a gentle breeze. Bring on the Easter celebrations, kites flying in the sky and green buds poking up from the ground.

At this point, I even welcome the season of spring-cleaning. I can’t even believe I’d admit it, but if it means warmer temps and a fresh start, I’m all about a good deep clean. However, before we run down the cleaning supply aisle at the nearest big box, shoving everything into the cart, let’s pause and consider a few ways to save money on spring cleaning.


Is there anything worse than purchasing duplicate products? It drives me bananas (because, yes, it can still happen to me, too). Begin your spring cleaning by taking a detailed inventory of the supplies you already have and making a list of those items you’ll need to purchase. More than likely, you store your tools of the clean up trade in multiple locations. If you can, bring everything together in one unified spot –- mops, brooms, spray bottles, sponges and deep cleaners. You might realize you don’t really need to purchase anything at all.

Start big

One of the most distracting temptations of big cleaning projects is getting bogged down in minutia. Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself organizing a box of teeny hair bows while a giant pile of clothes sits in the corner? Please, tell me I’m not the only one. Think big when you begin to clean. Get all of the larger items out of the way and sorted before you tackle the tinier jobs. You’ll be able to see your progress more clearly and momentum of success will motivate you further. Beginning with smaller, non-visible tasks might end up frustrating you to the point of giving up.

Write it down

Especially if you itemize your taxes, you’ll want to write down your specific donations before dropping them off at your local Salvation Army or Goodwill. More than likely, you’re undervaluing what you give away. Log on to to access a free tool that will help you assign a dollar amount to each item you donate. Don’t forget to also ask for a receipt when you drop off your items. Store both the list and receipt in a box for tax documents so you have everything you need when you file the next year.

Make cleaners

It’s rare that I purchase traditional cleaning products. Making your own cleaners is more economical, better for the environment and even more convenient once you get the hang of things. A simple Internet search will yield a host of recipes but the bulk of the formulas call for white vinegar, baking soda, washing soda and Borax. I’m convinced you can clean almost anything with these four simple ingredients. Boiling water can also make a great cleaner for slow drains or set in stains. Just be careful not to burn your hands.

Soon we will be able to throw open the windows and toss aside the clutter that winter brings. Good news! You don’t need a new steam mop or a cart full of chemicals to shine your home from top to bottom. Armed with a plan, you can save money and your sanity while spring-cleaning.