Re-energize With Spring Cleaning

This is one of my favorite times of year because of Spring Cleaning!! It feels so good to open the windows, get the fresh air in and shake off all the cold winter doldrums. I find it an inspiring time to “clean house” in so many ways. The New Year gets me thinking ahead and planning, but this time of year gets me organizing, cleaning and starting fresh. Spring cleaning often takes over my entire being.

When that happens – watch out! – the trashcans are full and everything gets tossed without regard. My wife sees it coming and hides all her personally precious and not so precious things. For me, this bug is fun AND dangerous. Something hasn’t been used in years? Gone!! Dust on the box? Must not need it…

The downside to this entirely energetic, semi-mindless method is a week or two later I often remember the box I threw away contained a hard-to-find part for a piece of equipment that just broke. At the time, I didn’t recognize what it was and so it got swept up into the spring-cleaning frenzy. The hard and fast spring-cleaning rule? I will need something I threw away a week earlier. This happens, without fail, every single time I clean and organize.

Over the years I have developed some REALLY easy tips and tricks to help with this process.

Trick #1: Get a Labeler

The first trick I use is designed to stop me from throwing away important items when I am overcome with the spring-cleaning bug. Anything I put away that I MAY need in the future, I clearly mark the box BEFORE I put it in storage. 

I’ve got this button maker that I used during Covid that I just can’t bring myself to get rid of. I also remembered I had extra phone parts for my phone system.

The trick is THIS – if they weren’t labeled, I would have opened the box, looked inside and may not have known what it was or what it was for and tossed it. Since it was labeled, I didn’t need to open the box and make that determination. Simple system. Good result.

Trick #2: Make Use Of Things

The next trick is to think of a way to make money on it or use it to build relationships. I just pulled down 4 boxes of custom Los Gringos Locos shirts. These are discontinued designs, random sizes and things that just didn’t sell. 

They were taking up TONS of space – space that could be used for other items. It felt good to open this space to good use but now I have 4 boxes of shirts that I need to decide what to do with. I let my best customers know I’ve got some one-of-a-kind shirts available on a first come, first served basis. They were gone FAST. I got good will, they got a free shirt.

I also have about 200 hand-made glasses that I have had in storage for 2 years that I will be using as a promotion – buy a margarita and keep the glass.

Trick #3 - Avoid The Overwhelm

Another trick I employ is to start small. My computer desktop is FULL of files that need to be sorted and stored. I hate this task, but it is part of the cleaning and organizing process. And there is simply too much to do at one sitting. When I know something has to be organized but I encounter a brain block like this, I start with small, easy tasks and divide them into manageable and seemingly painless bites. Sometimes I set a goal to sort 20 files, while other times I will set a goal to sort all of one file type (like .pdf).

Trick #4: Give Yourself Some Space

The final way I’ve found to Spring Clean is something you may not have thought of or considered. It has given me the ability to have a year-round Spring Cleaning. I started this years ago when I was sick and tired of having my mind filled with other’s thoughts and decisions. Thoughts and decisions that I DID NOT NEED TO BE A PART OF. You see, I used to have a small office in the restaurant. I thought it was so efficient. I was right there! I could help in an instant and could answer/solve questions and issues that arose. You know what happened? I was right there! My time and mind got filled with helping in an instant and answering/solving questions and issues that arose. My time and mind were constantly cluttered with all my staff’s needs and helping in a pinch – when they could do all these things WITHOUT me.
When I moved my office out from the restaurant, I had space for my mind to undergo a massive Spring Cleaning. I had time to think, to plan, to envision and to see my long-term horizon and the path to get there. THIS “Spring Cleaning” has been essential to my long-term success. My staff has become more responsible, developed into decision-making machines and feel EMPOWERED. And me? My mind is clean… And I can become the leader I need to be.

Bent Hansen, Owner of Los Gringos Locos. Longtime Newsletter Contributor and Royalty Rewards® Merchant since 2008.