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While it’s important to maintain our households with cleaning, schedules, routines, and plenty of to-do’s, it’s also beneficial to work on decluttering and tidying up our personal lives too. Luckily, that’s relatively easy to do, and using these 22 highly effective ways and in-depth tips on how to spring clean your life is a perfect place to start.
The great thing is you can do most of these personal spring cleaning chores at your own pace. Who knows—you might even have a little fun along the way. So feel free to move in whatever order works for you, but make sure to bookmark this page so you can pick up where you left off.
Above all, try to have fun and remember who you’re doing it for—yourself, so that you can be more productive and less stressed, not to mention feel more accomplished, better organized, and have better peace of mind.
In this post…
In this post, we cover effective, highly beneficial, and sometimes even entertaining ways to improve, declutter, and spruce up your personal life, such as with one of the following topics (not in order):
Personal Spring Cleaning Tasks
While this might be considered a long list of ways on how to spring clean your life, most steps can be broken down and done at your own pace. We recommend bookmarking this page so that you can come back and continue wherever you’ve left off.
These are merely suggestions but strongly encouraged ones. Again, go at your own pace, but try to stay consistent, too, and try to have fun.
You can expand and contract each task to see more or less information. You’ll also find helpful habits and spring cleaning tips about certain chores and how to work around them or improve the situation under some tasks.
1. Go through and sort any unopened mail.
If you have mail that’s been building up for a while, spend some time working on decluttering and sorting it. We’ve also listed a few helpful habits and tips to help you out, both now and after the fact.
However, make sure not to allow yourself to procrastinate too much; otherwise, the mess will just pile up again and you’ll be starting at Stage One before you know it.
Break things up as you need to and move at a comfortable pace, especially if you have a lot of mail to go through.
Junk and Temp Mail
When you’re ready, pitch the things you don’t need, such as supplements and junk mail. Make a date and schedule a block of time to look through items you plan to throw away but want to look at first. Try to get rid of the temp mail as soon as possible though.
Set aside action mail to process accordingly. This often includes bills that you need to look at, file, pay, and/or enter into your records.
Action mail may also include items that you or someone else in your home may need to fill out, return, and/or need to respond back to, such as government documents or old-school snail mail from a friend or relative.
If you tend to fall behind on processing your mail a lot, try to set a specific day each week where you address processing your mail, whether it’s billing or responding to a loved one’s card.
If there’s a substantial amount to go through and multiple household members to contend with, you can divide things up by placing them in categories, such as by recipient, type of mail (i.e., bills, work, subscriptions, etc.), mail to take action on, and to-be-filed.
You can then place them where they belong or are likely to be processed. If they belong to another person, give it to them to deal with.
Helpful Habit #1: The Great Purgefest
Make it a habit to sort mail while standing next to the trash or recycling bin and as soon as it enters the house. Immediately try to throw away or recycle mail that you know you don’t need or won’t use.
This includes supplements that you may or may not purchase from but want to “look through first.” Take a second or two to at least flip through it to see if there’s genuinely anything of interest. If not, pitch it.
Helpful Habit #2: Opening it is half the battle.
It may also help you to open any action mail while you’re already standing there. You can throw out the envelopes and any unnecessary items that came with it and in the recycling bin, keeping only the items you need, such as items to be filed or paid later and any return envelopes you may need to keep.
Helpful Habit #3: Set yourself up.
It’s also helpful to sort mail on the spot as soon as you enter the house and set it on whatever table or counter you normally use. Set aside mail for others and let them deal with it or put it in their designated spot or room.
If there are bills to pay or look at, put them wherever you pay the bills and catalogs or magazines wherever you look at those.
Helpful Habit #4: Two birds, one spiffy stone.
Place a calendar or to-do list next to wherever you keep your action mail. Try to mark your calendar with any dates where mailed items need to be paid or dealt with accordingly. This might include bills or things that need to be sent by a specific deadline.
You can also add these to your weekly or monthly to-do list, should you happen to have one. Or enter the information onto your phone or home assistant hub as you open the mail.
2. Declutter and organize your purse, wallet, work bag, or backpack.
Wallets, purses, and backpacks are frequently get cluttered up. Yet they’re often the last place people think to clean until things are overflowing or literally weighing them down.
That’s why it’s a good idea to make it a habit to clean out your wallets, purses, backpacks, messenger bags, and whatever things you use to carry items around and to do so regularly.
Common items to clean out:
For large bags with smaller items within, consider using containers and organizing bags to keep the clutter contained.
One popular choice for purses and backpacks, among many other things, includes Ziploc Accessory bags, which you can see our review on here (new tab). You can find the Accessory Bags at your local Costco when available, as well as Walmart and Amazon.
Helpful Habit #4: Two birds, one spiffy stone.
To lighten your cleaning load—not to mention the load you carry around on average—try to make it a habit to clean out your bag, purse, wallet, or backpack each week or, at the very least, once every month. It’s much faster and easier to do when you keep on it consistently, and it will also be a lot easier on your joints.
3. Clean up your email account.
It’s easy to let read and unread emails pile up in our accounts, and even more so with Junk Mail. Yet, over time, those emails start to quickly add up, which can become a monstrous task to deal with later. It can also eat up your email bandwidth, cause you to miss important emails, and become a security issue.
Because of this, try to make sure that you clean it out this Spring and maintain it as much as you can by regularly deleting unnecessary files each week or month, if not once a day or as you come across them.
4. Tidy up your contacts.
Another area of our lives that can pile up over time is where contacts are concerned. Take some time to clear out the contacts that you don’t need anymore, whether if it concerns your email, cell phone, nostalgic landline, or that business-card-turned-coaster or empty-wallet-slot-fillers you never use but keep anyway.
Common places to check for contacts:
Bonus: If you’re really feeling like a showoff, consider checking that you have up-to-date information on any contacts you decided to keep. And if you’re a gold-star overachiever, you may even want to think about clearing out toxic, now-redundant, must’ve-been-drunk-that-night social media feeds you started following but are ready to let go of.
If it’s dragging you down or starting to feel unhealthy, kind of like clutter at times, pitch it.
5. Declutter your photo gallery.
Ah, the glorious photo gallery! It’s another area prone to be a clutterfest hotspot or a hot mess, depending on who or what you take photos of, that can add up over time. It’s also something that can quickly eat up your device’s storage space, be it your phone, digital camera, or computer, cloud server.
So take some time to get rid of what you don’t need and organize what you have. It’s also not a bad idea to save it where you know it will be kept safe, particularly if it’s a favorite.
6. Clean up and declutter your phone.
Just as with your computer and photo gallery, things such as apps and specific files can take up a tremendous amount of space on your phone. Because of this, it’s essential to clean out unnecessary files and unused apps regularly. Otherwise, they’ll just keep multiplying, piling up, and might even become harder to spot or remove later on.
Kind of like Tribbles, only not as cute and less cuddly.
Having many unused apps can also make it hard to spot ones you actually use or might benefit from but forget about. Some files or apps may even become a security issue that you’re unaware of when the time comes.
Another thing that you can do to clean up your phone is to do a health or maintenance check on it and to perform the appropriate security checks as well, typically using whatever security software and phone software you have available. Many security and phone maintenance apps also assist with purging files that may be redundant or unsafe to keep.
7. Spruce up your computer’s desktop.
Try taking a little time to declutter and organize your computer—particularly where your desktop is concerned and if you’ve got a lot on it. This is something you can easily break down into small or timed increments or choose to do all at once. It’s also ideal to run security scans and maintenance to ensure that it’s running correctly.
Keeping your desktop decluttered can reduce stress and help you to maintain better focus. Removing old or unnecessary files from your computer can also clear up some space for things that matter, all while helping to speed up your computer if it’s been bogged down from too much data otherwise.
8. Get rid of redundant paperwork and files.
It’s a good idea to go through your filing, paperwork, and documentation ever so often to make sure that everything is in order.
This is also a great time to consider updating any records or gathering any documentation or records that you might have lost, need to update, or handle otherwise.
Know What to Keep and for How Long
Some records or documentation should be held onto for a certain period of time, if not indefinitely. In contrast, others may only need to be held onto for a year to three years, depending on what it is.
Examples of Permanent Records to Keep:
Examples of Records to Keep for a Certain Period of Time:
Some records, such as certain tax records, may need to be held onto for a specific amount of time, often anywhere from 3 to 7 years, whereas credit card statements are usually kept for up to a year. Items such as warranties can be held onto until they expire and receipts up to 90 days or so, depending on if they’re personal or for business.
It’s Good to Know
Make sure to research what you should or shouldn’t keep, even just for the sake of future reference. You can find plenty of information online, such as with this great article by Huffpost (new tab).
If you run a business, check with your accountant first and research business-related recordkeeping since you may want to consider other things like contracts, invoices, etc. I took a course on this for college, and it was pretty intensive and surprising to see what showed up.
9. Set up health-related checkups and dental visits.
If you haven’t already, consider setting health-related appointments in advance for you and other members of your household.
Doing it in advance will help you plan better and to ensure that you get the best spot, particularly as things open back up and might be a bit busy. You’ll also have one less thing to worry about later and will be less likely to forget.
Consider setting appointments like the following:
Set the date: You can then mark it in your planner or calendar, or set a reminder on your phone.
10. Assess autopay and subscription-based services.
Keep a routine eye on any autopay and subscription-based services that you have going on currently.
Potentially Save Money
Subscription services and autopay signups can quickly add up. Above all, they can also be easily forgotten about in some cases.
By keeping track, you’ll be able to track your finances better and may even wind up saving money by eliminating what you don’t use, need, or may only need on occasion.
For example, if you only need HBO or Showtime to watch your one favorite show on the entire channel lineup, but hardly watch anything else when it’s off-season, then you might as well cancel until you’re ready to watch the show again.
The bonus is you can now put that hard-earned money elsewhere instead of forgetting about it, which many of these subscription channels and subscriptions are betting on. It’s also how they make most of their profits.
Common subscriptions people lose sight of:
Keep Regular Track
Try to keep track of your autopay and subscription services. Either keep a running list going, an up-to-date spreadsheet, follow payment dates in your calendar, or whatever means works best for you.
Moreover, you can also try iOS or Android phone-based apps or website trackers that keep track for you and allow you to manage subscriptions with more ease.
11. Do your taxes.
Many people dread doing their taxes, especially if there are a lot of factors to enter. But getting it over with as soon as possible means that you’ll eliminate the stress involved sooner and will better ensure that you won’t be late.
If you need a little motivation, consider working on your taxes in smaller spurts or setting a timer to work at it for x-amount of time. Using a timer will help you stay committed and better focused, which means your time spent on it will be maximized and more efficient. Set daily reminders or blocks of time if you tend to forget.
12. Check your credit.
It’s important to make sure that you stay aware of your credit rating, score, and history.
Your credit can greatly affect much you might pay to buy things like a house, car, among other things, as well as whether or not you’ll even qualify in the first place.
Credit ratings and scores can affect your chances of getting a loan, bank account, or credit card. And many of those factors can affect whether you can even rent, much buy a place to live, and it may even affect your ability to land a job.
Security and discrepancies.
Checking your credit with all three US bureaus will help you see if your identity has been stolen or even if credit cards and bank information have been compromised. You’ll also be able to see if there are any discrepancies in reporting.
Get ahead of your financial game.
Similarly, you’ll also have a better idea of how and where you might need to improve your overall rating. By working towards improving things, you might be able to reap the benefits of having a much lower interest rate on loans, which means less money out of your pocket and more significant gains in many situations (i.e., qualifying for higher loans).
Get a free credit check.
If you live within the United States, you can get a free credit report every 12 months across all three bureaus at annualcreditreport.com.
13. Create financial goals.
At least once a year or so, it’s good to reassess your financial goals, particularly as you’re about to do any budgeting or want to conduct a financial checkup.
Whether big or small, setting goals for yourself will help you budget so that you can set money aside to reach those goals. Even if it’s 5 years down the road, it all adds up eventually.
Popular Financial Goals:
14. Conduct a financial checkup.
Conducting a checkup on your finances at least once every year, or even after a significant life event, can help you accomplish several things, such as:
Benefits of a financial checkup:
You can find a number of tutorials and resources online or see if your account can offer some advice. Either way, keeping up on it won’t just help you to safeguard your money but may even help you gain even more in the long run.
And if you’ve been performing some of the financial spring cleaning tasks listed above, step-by-step, you’re already part-way there. Was that sneaky, or what? You can find more steps and tips online, such as this post by Clever Girl Finance.
15. Set personal growth goals to help spring clean your life.
It’s never too late to focus on personal or life goals to work on for the year, and spring cleaning season is a great time to get started on personal growth—especially if you’re not too fond of New Year’s Resolutions.
After all, you’ve had some time to shed off the year before while testing the waters and adapting to the changes of the current year.
Try to take some time to reflect on how to spring clean your life by taking note of the things you’ve likely had time to reflect on since the current year started, or perhaps wanted to change or didn’t like about the year prior, and see if you can turn them into goals.
The world is your oyster.
If you find that you often daydream about goals or hope to see positive change in your life, but never fulfill them, take action, or make the necessary changes to get there, you really just have to start by setting the goal and the intent.
Start with that big, meaningful goal and break it down into manageable pieces—particularly something you’ve always wanted to do but never got to it. Then start shoving them into your days, weeks, or months. Once you grow comfortable or make those gains, add to it. Make sure you know why you’ve set the goal and what you’ll gain from it. Use the whys as motivation.
Popular goals to start with:
One of my favorite things about goal setting is you can make it your own thing. If there’s something you don’t like or want in your life, chances are good you can work towards changing it, whether it’s financial, good habits to adopt or bad habits to eliminate, health and fitness goals, overcoming anxiety, stepping out of your comfort zone, learning new hobbies and skills, etc. Listed below are a few popular ones.
Popular life-changing goals:
After many major life changes, several moves, and a very hectic and crazy 2019 and 2020 for me (even aside from COVID), I’m focusing hard on getting myself adjusted to the new lifestyle and living situation. I’m also working on nourishing myself, inside and out.
For me, that means reducing stress, reassessing and readjusting my life goals, trying new things, working on time management, disconnecting from overstimulating digital stuff more often and going more analog with activities (reading, puzzles, etc.), having fun growing the blog, and focusing strongly on health due to large amounts of stress.
So some of the goals I’m working on this year include:
It sounds like a lot, but because I feel the need to nurture myself right now, I just keep a list and dedicate however much time I want to on whatever tasks, be it for fives minute or an entire afternoon. It’s been surprisingly productive and useful.
It’s also how I learned to work this blog, despite not knowing anything about running a website, and learned to be cleaner, despite being one of the messiest people I knew—one step at a time.
16. Declutter the mind and de-stress.
Taking the time to declutter the mind and reduce stress can be extremely important for your overall health and well-being—especially in this day and age.
Unfortunately, it’s also something people tend to neglect or don’t always recognize when it’s creeping up on them.
This is why it can be highly beneficial to incorporate stress-reducing practices and methods to use in a healthy and constructive way and regularly in order to process or deal with whatever might be stressing you out.
In some cases, you might even find things that have been stressing you out that you had no clue were there or an issue.
Popular ways to spring clean the mind and de-stress:
Note: The content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise, making dietary changes, or taking supplements. If you are in crisis or think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a trained counselor. If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately.
17. Practice self-care this Spring and year-round.
Practicing self-care isn’t just important for the sake of maintaining good hygiene. It’s also great for your mental and emotional well-being. It’s a time to de-stress, unwind, do what you love, and really care for your numero uno: you.
What is self-care?
Self-care doesn’t have to just be about good hygiene either. It can be anything you want to be. What it does happen to be is routinely making sure you set some time aside to look out for yourself, and without any guilt.
After all, you can’t take care of others to the best of your ability if you don’t look out for your own needs. Self-care is self-love, not to mention doing a kindness to yourself and those around you.
Popular self-care routines.
Popular self-care routines often include much of what we already listed above under decluttering the mind and working on personal growth. It can be doing a financial checkup or cleaning your home. It can also include the following:
18. Update your reminders and calendar.
If you want to know more ways on how to spring clean your life, then you may want to consider spending a little time updating your reminders, calendar, and planner if you haven’t done so already.
This is also a great time to add any reminders or relevant dates and schedules that might reflect any new personal or financial goals that you might be planning to get into as well.
19. Clean up your DVR and/or Watch List.
If you find yourself sitting on the couch with a little time to spare or a commercial to sit through, consider taking that time to clear out your DVR and make any necessary changes to scheduling. The same can go for DVDs and Watchlists, such as on Prime and Netflix.
This can help you keep your DVR or cloud service DVR data under control. It’s also helpful so you can see what shows or movies you have left to watch. And you may even save a few dollars if you use a cloud-type subscription service that charges extra fees for more storage, such as SlingTV.
20. Declutter digital, analog, and audio-based books.
Just as with the DVR and your DVD collection, cleaning up your books can be a great way to do some personal spring cleaning for your life as well. You can take the time to catch up on the ones you have yet to finish, or even reward yourself with a few more reads once you’re done.
For digital books that you’ve already read or lost interest in, consider removing them from your device if you haven’t already. This will free up storage for any new books that you might have waiting for you to dive into.
The same goes for audiobooks. There’s no reason to keep ones you’ve already listened to on your phone or e-reader. If you decide you want to read it again, you can usually download it again from wherever you purchased it from.
Paperbacks and Hardcovers
Paperback books and hardcover books are awesome, and they can even function as a decor element, among other things as well, which is extra spiffy. But they can also be dust magnets and clutter hotspots, often doing nothing more than taking up space and hopefully looking pretty. And, in many situations, we’re usually hoarding books we didn’t care for, don’t plan to read again, or just haven’t gotten to yet, rather than just our current reads and eternal favorites.
If you’ve been thinking about getting rid of some of your books, consider decluttering the ones you don’t love or haven’t read yet but plan to. You can donate the rest or even see if your local library can make use of them later on once it’s safe to do so.
Magazines and Catalogs
Don’t forget to go through any magazines, catalogs, and even TV guides if you receive the paper version. You can often donate them to your local doctor’s or dentist’s offices, hospitals, libraries, the military, shelters, daycare centers (to use for making crafts). However, in light of recent events regarding Covid, it’s better to discard them in the recycling bin for the time being.
Tips on Improving Your Reading Frequency
I love listening to audiobooks, such as through Audible, while cleaning, sometimes exercising, always when walking, and just doing things around the house. My favorite way to listen is with wireless headphones, which help me concentrate, multitask, and avoid distractions. I also like to read along, such as with Kindle’s added narration and Whyspersync technology.
21. Get your car looked at and tuned.
While we already covered tips on cleaning the inside of your car in our last post, 26 Easy Spring Cleaning Chores for Your Car Interior—Plus Tips, we suggest scheduling an inspection for your vehicle, particularly if it’s been quite a while. Inspections can often be done at the same time as other recurring services, such as getting your oil changed or the usual tune-up.
Maintaining your car helps protect your investment. And while it’s great to do this as a springtime cleaning task, it should also be done a few times throughout the year when possible. That way, your car will run better, likely last a lot longer, and will probably run more safely for you and the rest of your household.
22. Schedule pet appointments.
Even though we already mentioned health checkups for you and the rest of the household, we never want to forget our beloved beasties—especially when it comes to keeping them happy and healthy. If you haven’t scheduled your pet for their annual check-up or vaccinations, now is a great time to get that done, even if well in advance.
If you don’t know when your pet’s vaccinations or next exam is due, your veterinary office should be able to tell you and help you schedule an appointment around then. The same can go for scheduling any grooming or training appointments and even if for a later date.
Head’s Up: Don’t forget to check out our 14 Ultimate Pet-Related Spring Cleaning Chores post next (new tab).
By spending a little time on these 22 effective and beneficial ways on how to spring clean your life, you can work towards making your life run more efficiently, peacefully, and smoothly while eliminating a lot of unnecessary clutter.
Some of the spring cleaning points for sprucing up your personal life that we covered:
In the end, you’re likely to feel more at ease and might even enjoy yourself a bit more as well. And, best of all, you can move through them at your own pace and in whichever order works for you, whether it takes a month, two months, or the entire quarter.
What are your favorite ways to declutter your personal life or to reset? Comment down below and let us know. We’re always up for new ideas!
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