Spring Cleaning with a Twist: Tidying Up Your Schedule, Your Mail, and Your Smartphone

There is good news on the way for families who’ve been indoors all winter — spring is coming.

Even if you’re still knee-deep in snow, your warm-weathered friends promise signs of spring are on their way: fragile buds, rising temperatures, and extended daylight.

There’s one more sign spring is on the way — your nagging urge to clean, clean, clean. As the days grow longer, sunlight halts the body’s natural production of melatonin — the hormone that causes sleepiness. With increased energy levels, you may find yourself feverishly organizing areas of your home that didn’t bother you one bit all winter.

So when the mood strikes, by all means, deep clean your house. But don’t forget also to take a fresh look at less-visible areas that could use a little attention: your schedule, your mail, and your smartphone.

Spring Clean Your Schedule

Your family changes every year. The clothes that fit your child last year are too short and too tight. The same is true for your family’s schedule. As winter thaws and spring gives way to summer, evaluate your family’s schedule altering it to your family’s needs today.

Consider Marie Kondo. Her principles might not just be for your home. Apply some of those same ideas to your family’s schedule by  “imagining your ideal lifestyle and asking if an item (or sport, club, or other obligation) spark joy?”

Begin by listing your away-from-home commitments and ask yourself if it still works for your family. Decide to continue, stop, or modify. If you’re happy with the activity, like the coach or teacher, and can handle the time requirement, continue on. If your child has lost interest or it’s been too time-consuming and inconvenient, decide to stop.

You can also make changes to the current commitment — look for another teacher, another day of the week, or a less time-consuming option. Don’t be afraid to pull back altogether if you know it’s what’s best for your child.

Spring Clean Your Mail and Smartphone

Your Email

Managing your email eats away valuable minutes of your time. Wanna know just how much time? This productivity calculator allows you to put in the average number of emails you receive a day then calculates hourly and percentage equivalents.

Warning: Brace yourself. The page starts with this — “In the time you spent on work email this year, someone climbed Mount Everest twice.”

Sites like unroll.me come to the rescue cleaning up all those marketing emails (Old Navy, Nordstrom, Children’s Place, etc.) by presenting sales and specials in one easy-to-read email. It will take a few weeks to set up, but you’ll have the freedom to sort every email into one of three categories: keep in the inbox, unsubscribe, or roll-up.

It’s easy to get carried adding emails to your roll-up. Make sure important emails from your healthcare providers, financial institutions, and your child’s classroom come directly to your inbox.

Apps like ClassTag provide a streamlined alternative to email making it easy to stay on top of classroom news.

Your Snail Mail

Tired of going to the mailbox to walk inside and dump most of it in the trash? Grab a basket or empty shoe box and collect your junk mail for several weeks. Once you’ve finished the monthly mail cycle, visit those companies online and unsubscribe to catalogs and mailers you know longer want to receive.

You can also visit DMAchoice. DMAchoice offers consumers a step-by-step process to select the mail you do and don’t want to receive. Registering will cost you a $2 processing fee, but the service is good for ten years.

Your Smartphone

People use about nine different apps per day according to TechCrunch. While nine doesn’t seem like many, you probably have a lot more than that crowding up and slowing down your phone. Delete old bankings apps you no longer need or apps related to a major life decision at the time such as realtor or baby’s first-year apps.

After cleaning up your phone’s content, you may want to clean your phone — literally. A 2012 study found it may hold more germs than your toilet seat. Considering all the places you carry (and drop) your phone, it’s hardly surprising. Be careful, though. Household cleaners and glass sprays can damage your screen, so make sure to follow instructions for proper cleaning.

Spring Cleaning with a Twist

Traditional spring cleaning your home is sure to bless your family with clean baseboards, crystal-clear windows, and the fresh smells of spring. Sadly, those cleaning efforts won’t last.

As you consider your deep cleaning to-dos, give thought to your schedule and your digital tools. Careful attention here not only saves you time but also positions you and your family for spring and summer with a schedule that’s just the right fit.

 

 

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