Hope for your financial life and beyond

I Love to Clean the Bathroom

clean the bathroomI have a confession to make…I love to clean the bathroom. This is part genetic predisposition (received from my mom I think, who I always remember keeping a clean house) and part learned (from my days as manager of our community’s swimming pool concession stand. ALWAYS had to be ready for the health department!) Give me a rag, a mop and some liquid Lysol and I’m a happy camper!

We remodeled ours several years ago and it’s become a sanctuary in the morning as I’m getting ready for work. Sometimes I pretend I’m on vacation and walking into a fancy bathroom at a five star hotel. (OK…it may not be that awesome but this is my pretend fantasy here.)

No matter how nice it may be I regularly need to clean the bathroom. Mold still grows in the shower. The sink and tubs get scummy. Personal hygiene items litter the countertops and pack the vanity drawers. And the toilet…well, we won’t even go there.

And I love to clean the bathroom because…

…for a few brief moments, that space of my life is perfectly in order. It’s fresh, purified and clean.

…I can stay organized. If I can’t find the fingernail clippers in the drawer in 5 seconds something is wrong.

…it’s a purging process. I won’t be taking Advil with a 2010 expiration date.

…it kills bacteria. Something that could be unhealthy for me is swept away.

…it makes those around me VERY happy!

Coincidentally, these reasons apply to my personal financial life as well. I’ve found at times that also gets a little messy and needs some attention. So I will be doing a little personal finance cleaning this spring break so I can make sure that space of my life is in order.

Here are some ways I (and you) can make that happen.

Making sure it’s fresh. This means making sure things are up to date. I will review our will, auto, health, and life insurance coverage, and our charitable giving plan. I will also review our investments for any rebalancing needs, especially since we’ve had a nice run in the market recently. The budget will also need a review as we are we are ¼ of the way into the year.

Time to make my life stay fresh: 3 hrs. max.

Staying organized. Just like the fingernail clippers, I’ve got to be able to find valuable information when I need it. I find it interesting that when I don’t see something for a while I tend to forget where I put it. So I will double check the fire safe box and the file cabinet to make sure important documents like wills, birth certificates, car titles, house deeds, etc. are still where I remember them being.

I will also go through our tax folder to make sure everything is ready for Mrs. Luke1428 as she prepares our taxes.

I will also review my list of online passwords and update those not deemed secure enough (especially those to financial related sites).

Time needed to put towards refreshing my memory and staying organized: 3 hrs. max.

The purging process. Oh…I love this one! For me this all starts in the filing cabinet. Time to make those folders thinner by getting rid of old bills, credit card statements, and pay stubs. Manuals to appliances or electronics I no longer own…gone.

(What starts in the file cabinet snowballs into a whole house purging as we prepare for a summer garage sale. For the love of Pete…get rid of the tubs of clothes in the basement. Please!)

But I do have to be careful not to go crazy here. I still want to keep certain items like my current investment statements, tax documents (for at least 3-7 years), receipts for big ticket items still under warranty, and records of loans I’ve paid off. I’ll just have to live with those taking space up in my files.

Time needed to purge the clutter from my life: 6-10 hrs. (depending on my aggressiveness)

Bacteria

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Killing Bacteria. Time to kill some yucky stuff that may be doing me harm. I will do a credit check to see if there is any incorrect information on my report. (Many credit reports have those and it can keep one from getting a loan.) I will evaluate whether I can get rid of my current debt any faster. If I used them, I would also cut up any unneeded credit cards (I mean do we really need 7 different ones?) or I would shop for lower interest rates to transfer card balances. From my budget review, I’ll identify any spending categories that have gotten out of hand and develop a plan to get those back on track.

Time needed to make sure the germs are kept at bay: 3 hrs. max.

The end result: 15-19 hours to clean up our financial life this spring. Time definitely well spent! And in the long run will make Mrs. Luke1428 and I very happy.

Questions: Do you think it’s weird I love to clean the bathroom? What’s our favorite thing to clean? Are you a purger or a hoarder? Is there anything else I need to focus on doing as part of my financial spring cleaning?

Next Post: Would It Make You Sad to Give Away Your Possessions?

Prior Post: When Should I Consult a Tax Professional

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Comments

  1. Wow, you can come on over to my house if you get an urge to clean more toilets! I get the feeling of a clean house. It is very relaxing, although short lived with a child and two dogs in the house. I certainly need to clean out my filing cabinet, but always seem to find other things to do. Maybe I will try to make that happen before it gets warm enough to be working in the yard.

    • I can completely relate Kim. We have four kids and two dogs so pretty much once the house is clean, it’s ready to be cleaned again a few hours later. Awesome thing though is that it proves to be a good lesson for the kids in that they are responsible for cleaning a lot of their stuff.

  2. My husband and I are neat freaks too! We love clean, uncluttered spaces and all of our stuff is well organized. We do find though that since we work at home, we spend far too much time working and less time cleaning. As a matter of fact we need to spend at least half a day tomorrow catching up on things around the house.

    • Nothing creates pressure for me around the house more than clutter and disorganization. I will be spending a day at least of my school’s spring break catching up on some much needed house work.

  3. Love this post! I love a clean bathroom too, although I love it more when I’m not the one cleaning it. 🙂 You’re tips on spot-on. People sometimes have a “I did it once” mentality when it comes to finances. Unfortunately, the one and done philosophy does not apply to finances. They need to be reviewed regularly. And you are welcome to come clean my bathrooms any time you want!

    • LOL…that’s going to be a long commute from Atlanta! I love the point you make in regards to the “I did it once” mentality we slip into. It doesn’t work for cleaning, finances, setting goals, implementing policies in the workplace, or pretty much any other area of life. Generally speaking, people forget the goals/standards if not brought back to their attention about every 30 days. How’s that go…”out of sight (focus), out of mind?”

  4. Financial Black Sheep says:

    I love my current remodeling consisting of painting and changing things around. It has helped me purge and clean to make things inviting and like a vacation. Now I need to learn to have a process of doing it regularly because it makes me feel good. I also am like you and love the feeling of my new bathroom, because it does feel like a sanctuary even if it is just he bathroom. 🙂

    • I need to be more consistent also as I do not clean as often as I would like. The pace of life usually gets in the way and then one day I look around and wonder, “How did it get like this.”

  5. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce says:

    Great metaphor for financial organization! Great post.

  6. Can you have a talk with my husband? 😉

  7. I am a clean freak too=) I don’t mind dust that much but I cannot stand it if my kitchen or bathrooms are dirty!

    • You bringing that up Holly reminds me of another reason I’m probably the way I am. I was allergic to dust and mold as a child and had to take allergy shots for years to build up the immunity to those. We were always cleaning the house to try and stay ahead of the dust.

  8. Well, I hate to clean, especially the bathrooms. I like organization, but cleaning to nothing that I enjoy. It will get to a point where I will have to clean it, but the bathrooms are no fun!

    • Even though I enjoy the process of cleaning, one of the best things we ever did was hire a cleaning service for about four months after one of my wife’s pregnancies. They came once a week and cleaned the entire house. It was way cool not worrying about the house getting messy. One day when our budget allows I could see us doing that again.

  9. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    Great post Brian! I first read the headline and I nearly fell out of my chair because I like to do the same exact thing. My Mom made me clean the bathroom weekly as I grew up and I hated it! The funny thing is that as I got older I found that I really enjoyed it and much for the same reasons.

    • That’s awesome! I can still remember the Saturday morning ritual of scrubbing in and around the toilet. It was so gross. Made me more careful to “hit it” during the week so I wouldn’t have to clean up my mess on the weekend! 🙂

  10. For me, getting started on the cleaning process is my biggest obstacle. Once I start, though, I’m fully committed to getting whatever I started cleaning completely clean. I do a better job at cleaning than my wife, as I’ll ‘deep clean’ just about everything, where she does a higher end clean so that she can get the entire house done in a reasonable amount of time. Every now and then I’ll deep clean a room or two, and with the way we have it, our house stays very clean and organized

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  1. […] stay with me here. Brian from Luke 1428 shares how spring cleaning relates to his finances in I Love to Clean the Bathroom. Read it and you’ll see it all makes […]

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