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Sun, Oct. 13

Practical Saver: It's time again for that spring clutter purging

Spring is in the air! Although anytime is an excellent occasion to purge, spring presents a unique opportunity to declutter your closets, yards, sheds and even your office. Below are some practical ways to make spring cleaning a little less painful, as well as provide you ways to make money off the items you are throwing away.

Closets are generally in need of purging as the seasons change. I encourage you to go beyond simply cleaning out the seasonal clothes by taking a less emotional look at your closet. The first step is to remove any items that haven't been worn in a year. If you haven't worn it in the past 12 months, chances are you won't wear it again, so you don't need it. After that task is accomplished, take one further step by asking a family member to select their three least favorite items that you wear. This question takes courage. But remember, in addition to covering our bodies, one of the purposes of clothing is to look good and feel good about what we are wearing. So, if the people you love the most don't think it is the best outfit for you, trust their opinion.

When it comes to finding a new home for your apparel, consider resale consignment stores as an option to earn money for items that are in good condition. Consignment stores are a win-win. They offer both savings for the shopper, and income for the consigner. SMARTgirls Resale Fashion (6616 E. 2nd St., Suite F, Prescott Valley; 772-1227) is a great option for consigning women's and young women's apparel. They accept items that are clean and in great condition, but do not accept items from Kmart, Target, Walmart or Payless.

If your spring cleaning has presented enough items to sell, there are several options to help turn your treasures into cash. A fabulous source for personal selling is Craigslist (www.prescott.craigslist.org). This is a free online classified advertisement service, where interested buyers can contact you through email or by phone. The listings are separated into categories such as books, furniture, electronics, automobiles, etc., and are extremely easy to post. It is a good idea to include pictures of your products, as well as clear, specific details about your items. When photos are included, the listing receives a better response and increases the likelihood of a sale.

Another option for selling items is the Peddlers Pass Swap Meet at 6201 Highway 69 in Prescott Valley. The swap meet is open every weekend. On a good weather day, the foot traffic can be substantial, providing you many potential customers to purchase your treasures. A 25'x20' space is $33 and a 20'x20' space is $29 for the entire weekend. For more information, call 775-4117.

Another area that could benefit from spring cleaning is your paperwork. The changes in technology make many documents available online. Your paperwork can be drastically reduced by eliminating the need to keep mounds of files and stacks of papers in your home. When reviewing your papers, ask yourself if the document can be easily found online. If so, then that paper version of the document can usually be shredded.

After the unnecessary papers have been purged, create a color-coded filing system. A small investment of multi-colored file folders can create a system that will transform your paperwork nightmare. Assign a different colored folder to each type of paperwork in your home. For example, give each of your children a different colored folder to create files for their documents. Then, assign another color for your personal papers. Documents such as banking, insurance and auto registrations can be placed in the same color folder that is labeled individually based on its contents. If you own a business, these files can have a separate color as well. This system is an excellent way to stay organized and save you time when locating documents.

It is fabulous how much clearer your day can be when the clutter is removed. Spring cleaning is one area that the "less is best" approach will pay off!

Kara Rozendaal, a financial planner, wife and homeschool mother of three, has lived in Prescott Valley for 17 years. Kara's website www.PracticalSaver.com helps make shopping simple and savings possible.

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