It’s spring-cleaning time, and not just in the physical world

By Gordon Hecht, YSN Contributor

It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, but it’s worse when she fools us.

Although spring arrived on the calendar last month, some of us are still dealing with winter. Despite what the calendar shows, the other week our friends in the North had to shovel out about 6 inches of “partly cloudy.”

But regardless of the weather or where you live, spring means spring cleaning: time to toss out, clean up, and clear out. For whether home for you is in sunny Arizona or chilly Bismarck, it’s probably time to remove some of the flotsam and jetsam that causes “stuffocation” in your life.

One of my typical spring themes is selling off damaged, outdated, and over-parked merchandise. Truly regardless of cost, this is a time to get any cash value for goods clogging up your expensive retail showroom and valuable warehouse space. Financial experts tell us that inventory costs us about 3 percent per month in rent, shrinkage, damage, cost of money, and missed opportunity because of lack of cash. In short, goods sitting in your warehouse for six months have lost 18 percent of their value, and anything you’ve been stocking for 365 days has cost you 36 percent of its original value.

This column is a little different, however. It’s easy to walk through your store and see 2019 models that just don’t sell, or a stack of bedframes waiting to tip over.  There is, however, something else you need to clear out, and you may not even know it’s there!

In our new cyber world, chances are good that you are “warehousing” hundreds or even thousands of emails, files, apps, and cookies that are clogging your organization’s server or slowing down the operation of your phone, tablet or laptop. I am just as guilty as the next person. I try to keep my “Inbox” down to about 25 emails. It’s the Send box and deleted files that get up to 2,500 emails or more that I tend to miss. The question is: What do I keep and what do I toss out?

Here’s a good start: Most email systems have a way to sort correspondence by date. Start with deleting everything prior to April 18 … 2021! If you haven’t touched them in a year, you probably don’t need them. Then go one month at a time from May 2021 to January 2022 and scrap any items you don’t need. This will take some time, so you may have to delay reaching the next level in Candy Crush, Big Fish or Best Casino Game Ever. Yes, it will be 45 minutes of hell that will simplify your life.

Next, tackle the apps on your phone and tablet. Some seemed really cool at the time, but you never use them now.  There are multiple videos on YouTube that can show you how to delete those apps. Think of it like a Knockout City video game. Seek and destroy.

Now that you are on a roll, start working on your office. I love retailers who save their print ads, but anything you promoted before 2019 has little relevance today. If you want to save them as nostalgia, then keep the top five and toss the rest. And while you’re at it, you run a store, not a dental office — so recycle all those newspapers and magazines that are more than a month old.

I hope today is a nice, sunny day for you. If you are not drowning in “possible sprinkles,” take a walk outside your building.  Look at your store signage — anything faded, torn or out of date has no value (except negative value). Successful retailers know that if something has no value, they eliminate it.

And while you are outside, check out the cab and box of your delivery truck. The cab is not a trashcan, and if your delivery crew has been treating it like a garbage pail at Taco Bell, they need to clean it out. The box is a different story; being clean and orderly is a safety issue. Your policy should be folded pads and broom clean, every night.

If your winter isn’t over yet, it will be soon.  Spring 2022 is a time of renewal. Clear the clutter and you’ll make room for that opportunity to grow!

Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry and a regular contributor to YourSource. You can reach him at Gordon.Hecht@aol.com.