Spring cleaning in the home…

We’ve made a conscious decision this year to focus our efforts (and finances!) into improving our home. We’ve lived here almost 5 years now, owned the house for over 3 years, and yet still there are things we’re not happy with. Over the last few weeks we’ve been gradually getting things sorted – we’ve finally replaced the bath with one that doesn’t soak our floor every time we shower, added a shower screen, got some new kitchen lights, done some more work in the garden, and re-painted the kitchen ceiling. There’s still a lot of little jobs to do but it’s been very therapeutic to get some of these things sorted. Last weekend I decided I’d sort out our paperwork and finally organised all my statements and bills going right back to when I started University in 2002. We use online banking and keep track of our spending on an Excel spreadsheet, but I had kept hold of all our paper bills and statements too, so it was well overdue a sort out!

…spring cleaning elsewhere

The organising process has also rubbed off to other areas of my life too – my desk/dressing table is now clear of clutter, my dissertation paperwork is all neatly organised, and my desk at work is nice and tidy too. I’ve also been organising my online accounts, getting rid of unused accounts and tidying up accounts I do use. Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to online to clean up my accounts:

  • Deleting unused accounts – do you still have a MySpace account you never use? How about Friends Reunited/Hi5/WAYN/Bebo? I had accounts with all of these, all of which had out-of-date information on. Most were relatively easy to delete, you tend to be able to do this in the account settings of each service. Some don’t really want you to leave, but just be sure to click on the right links to delete the account, you may wish to let them know why you’re leaving too (in my case I completed the surveys and explained that I am leaving due to replacement services meeting my needs). I’ve decided to keep active accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Updating personal information on remaining accounts – making sure my details are up-to-date and updating my photo on Twitter and LinkedIn which has been in need of updating for a long time – I haven’t had a fringe for over a year! I’ve also added some of the work I currently do to support local CILIP committees and made sure all the professional activities I do outside of work are included on LinkedIn.
  • Updating contacts (otherwise known as the “friend cull”) – this has become a hot topic amongst many of my real life friends (i.e. the few friends who exist in the real world and I see face to face!), it seems to be a competition to see who can have the least amount of friends on Facebook rather than the most. Initially, I added everyone I’d ever known to my “friend” list on Facebook, but more recently my feed was full of information from people I haven’t seen for over 10 years and frankly aren’t that interested in on a day-to-day basis. I’ve reduced it down to those whose updates I’m actually interested in now. I may also review the number of people I follow on Twitter, although I tend to treat this more as a conversation to dip in and out of. I have my favourite tweeters in Twitter lists so that I don’t miss their updates, something you may wish to adopt if you’re struggling to keep up with your Twitter feed.
  • Weeding RSS feeds – I’m finding these are becoming unmanageable again, and am using the techniques I previously blogged about to reduce the number of blogs I subscribe to. Until recently I subscribed to all the librarian blogs I came across, but I’m having to review this now that I have so many! I’m using Google Reader’s Trends again to look at the statistics of those I genuinely do read and getting rid of any who no longer post or whose topics I’m not so interested in at the moment.

It seems there are a few of us currently “spring cleaning” our networks and streamlining processes to prevent information overload and manage information effectively; you may be interested in some of these other posts on related topics:

Do you have any other tips for spring cleaning your online or offline information? Please share any tips in the comments 🙂

  • Lynne Meehan

    Thanks for the post, we are the same as you regarding house, though slightly more costly repairs unfortunately. Good idea for online accounts though, I have culled certain “friends” on facebook, and lots of ideas to keep information overload at bay

    • Glad you found the post useful – good luck with the house repairs!

  • Thanks for including my post Jo. You’ve given me a few more tasks to add to my spring cleaning list too. Hope you’re having fun with the home improvements.

    • Apart from aching shoulders from a measly amount of painting the kitchen ceiling, yes it’s going well thanks!

  • BillG

    Dont EVER throw out your P60s. I’m fighting for a pension entitlement that I can’t prove I have because I don’t have these flimsy bits of paper from 25 years ago …

    • I have kept all my P60s and am also keeping my payslips until I know they’re online (we’re in the process of moving to an online system at work). Hope you sort out your pension entitlement, what a nightmare. 🙁