Starting Fresh: Tiny Ways to Tidy Your Life

Clutter doesn’t just live in the back of our closets, under our beds, in kitchen cupboards or in kids’ rooms…it can incubate slowly and hatch elsewhere, if we don’t pay attention. We often justify our lack of control by telling ourselves little lies, i.e. spending a bit more money this month won’t matter, I’ll just save more next month or eating a few chips/fries/cookies isn’t a big deal, I’ll work on my diet tomorrow.

Ultimately, the little lies may turn into big, bad habits!

The good news is we are in a season of change, rejuvenation and renewal. Just as flowers blossom and start anew, so can we. Perhaps spring is the best time to make a change—the longer, warmer days are perfect opportunities to get outside, do a little recon and uncover the areas in our lives that need sprucing up! Here are a few tips to get started:

Declutter and Donate

Don’t let cleaning out be a day of distress, but a way to de-stress.

spring cleaning clothes donationSometimes the best place to start, literally, is in your home. Think of cleaning out the clutter as giving a gift to someone—in fact, do just that and take your stuff to one of our many consignment shops or thrift stores, such as God’s Goods. As an added bonus, your donations are tax deductible! Whether it’s an extra appliance or furniture in storage, clothes you no longer wear, a car or RV you no longer use or just extra things around your home, donate it to a local organization that’s investing in the community. Make sure the donations are something someone else would want and cherish.

Restore and Reclaim

The greatest wealth is health, so get moving today!

As the sunshine begins warming up the days and breezes are nice and cool, we should start incorporating fun outdoor exercises into our schedules, even if it’s just two or three days a week. Take it a step further and sneak some veggies into your lunch or grill them with chicken for dinner, instead of grabbing burgers and fries. If you’re not eating vegetables every day, then don’t skip out on a multi-vitamin.

“A lot of times people feel sluggish and experience loss of energy because they don’t have the proper vitamins and minerals in their system, especially if they’re not eating right,” Bobby Allen, owner of GNC Vitamins, explains, recommending everyone get some multi-vitamins, especially those who lack the right amount of nutrients in their diet.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why? Allen puts it this way: “You’d never go on a 17-hour drive without eating any food, but that’s what you’re doing to your body when you don’t eat from 8 p.m. until noon the next day. Since your body is going such a long time without the nutrients it needs, it ends up converting the food you eat into fat instead of using it right away for energy. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge meal; a simple protein shake, smoothie or a piece of fruit gives us plenty of energy, and is a good place to start.

Plan and Prepare

“Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.”

   –Ambrose Bierce

Estate planning—an elephant in the room no one likes to talk about—is important to address. This task might not be fun, but it can make a world of difference if the unthinkable happens. Instead of letting the state determine what is done with your property, take charge, and get your will together.

While there are reasonably priced online forms available, one local attorney warned these one-size-fits-all documents often do not conform to the state’s regulations. It may be wiser to get in touch with an estate planning attorney who is not only familiar with the state’s requirements, but a good fit personally. Be sure to review your will every few years, as a lot of things can change.

 Straighten Up and Strategize

“It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.”

   –Charles A. Jaffe

We could all use a few extra dollars, but it won’t happen without a little organization. Just ask John Kirkland at Palmetto State Bank in Bluffton, who
emphasizes how important it is to make a plan and be realistic about it. “With debit cards, ATM machines, online banking and mobile banking, it’s very easy to get access to all your money. And it’s very difficult to control your spending when you have access to it,” Kirkland says. “So don’t make it easy to break your budget. Make it difficult. Set it up in such a way that it’s hard to spend all of your money.”

Kirkland advises opening a savings account, and automatically depositing money into it every payday. This way, you don’t have immediate access to that money when you go out on the weekend. He also recommends a separate checking account for spending and one for billing, with a debit card attached to the spending account only.

Freshen Up

Style can change your look, certainly, but it can also change your life.” –Stacy London

Fresh Spring Look from Gigi's

Outfit found at Gigi’s Boutique in Bluffton.

Spring cleaning is more than just “out with the old.” Make sure to bring in some new, too, especially for you. It doesn’t have to be a lot—a new haircut or accessory can be the perfect solution.

“A necklace is an easy way to update an outfit,” Anna Pepper, owner of Gigi’s, says, explaining how a statement necklace can turn a comfy-casual outfit into a stylish look.

Then, instead of a budget-busting buying binge, head over to the salon or barbershop and get a new ‘do. 

“One of the big styles we’re seeing right now is a “rooty” look, where you actually color the base a shade darker than the ends and do some highlights for the spring, to give it a little extra pop,” Jamee Reed, hair stylist and owner of Tara’s at Moss Creek Village, reveals. “It’s kind of a foilyage, a softer look, but bringing in more root dimension.”

Struggle with humidity? Consider a Keratin Express, a smoothing hair treatment that defrizzes the hair and lasts about seven weeks. A cheaper alternative is using Moroccan oil or Moroccan shampoo and conditioner, which both smooth and add weight to hair to hold it down when humidity is high.

 Team Up

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

Dspring cleaningon’t tackle all of the spring cleaning or decluttering by yourself! We work better together, so get friends or family involved and make sure you have someone to hold you accountable, so you’re not setting yourself up for failure. It’s also important to realize that change doesn’t have to happen all at once. Sometimes a few small adjustments are all that is needed for a better outlook on life and inspiration to keep moving forward.