Spring is right around the corner, and you know what that means – it’s time to start cleaning! Now is the time to purge your house of all the Christmas decorations (if they’re still up), extra clutter you’ve gathered in 2017, and pretty much anything else that doesn’t “spark joy,” as Japanese cleaning guru, Marie Kondo of the KonMari Method, would say.
However, this can all be discouraging when you dedicate hours of work to make a nice living area for your family, and a tornado runs through it within the next 24 hours (your kids, pets, partner, guests, etc.) Here’s what you can do to keep your home neat and organized – yes, even with tiny tornadoes.
Clutter is probably the main source of “mess” in your home, and it can be stressful sometimes.
Have each member in your family fill up a garbage bag or laundry basket with items that they no longer use. Toys your kids don’t play with anymore, clothing they no longer fit into, books they’re done reading… and whatever else they can find that is just taking up space. This will be a huge help in decluttering your home.
You can go further and throw out any unused kitchen utensils, old dishes from parties, cleaning products you’ll never use and expired food in the pantry/fridge. What about those old blankets and towels you never use? Your local animal shelter would probably appreciate them more than you do.
Sort through all of the items you’re getting rid of into two piles: usable items and trash. Throw away the objects that no one will want, and donate the usable items to your local thrift store.
Try to organize all of the remaining items you chose to keep, but don’t just do it all yourself – take this opportunity to teach your children what it takes to get organized and stay that way.
You can do this by buying fun-colored bins or boxes to divide your belongings up into. Label each bin so your child knows exactly what to put in it (socks, underwear, Barbies, cars, etc.) This will make cleanup easier for your little ones, because they will know exactly where everything goes if it’s not in its proper place.
While you’re picking out bins, go ahead and grab one for your pet’s food. Believe it or not, the food just sitting in the bag is probably adding to the pet smell in your home. Just smell the bag; if it’s not sealed tightly, that smell is permeating throughout your entire home. Once you put the food in a sealed container, you will automatically notice a difference.
Now that we are decluttered and organized, it’s time to clean up the rest 0f the house. It needs to be mopped, dusted, and vacuumed. There are also probably dishes that need to be washed and put away, and windows/pets need to be washed. Whatever needs to be done, put it on a chore chart and give each child a task. If you’re unsure about what chores your child can handle at his or her age, check out our blog post on age-appropriate chores for your children.
Once they see how much work goes into cleaning the house, maybe they will be more mindful when it comes to making the messes next time. Teaching them to clean will also make them feel more accomplished, and it will improve their self-esteem.
Now that the hard part is over, it should be smooth sailing from here. The bulk of the mess is gone, so now your family only has to worry about picking up your smaller messes as you make them.
When your children play with their toys, or if they have to put away their clothing, they will know exactly where to put each item, so it won’t be as challenging for them to get the job done.
Try to do one load of laundry and one load of dishes every day, even if there isn’t much to do. This will prevent your dirty clothes and dishes from piling up, and it becomes only a small, more approachable task.
When doing that small load of laundry, throw in any blankets or pillows that your pet hangs out on. This will help to eliminate the pet smell in your home.
You’re probably thinking, “My kids will never keep up with their cleaning and organization.” Think again. If you offer incentives, prizes if you will, for those who keep their rooms spotless, your children will be more motivated to stay on top of it.
The rewards could include simple things like getting to pick what’s for dinner, or 30 minutes more of TV time. You should keep track of it all with a chart on a dry-erase board so that everyone can see who’s been cleaning and who hasn’t. This will be a constant reminder and it will also encourage your kids to work harder. Children like to be recognized for their accomplishments.
Nothing brightens up a room more than fresh flowers, or at least a fresh scent.
If you haven’t already gotten yourself an essential oil diffuser, you’re missing out. They’re the better alternative to scented candles because they don’t have dangerous open flames (good for around kids/pets), they are cost effective, they don’t give off any harsh chemicals, and you have complete control over how fragrant they are.
We hope you’ve found some inspiration for your spring cleaning. We know it can feel like a challenge when you have a family, but don’t give up! Include and inspire them.