It may feel like you’re trying to clean during an active hurricane, but getting the whole family involved with Spring Cleaning can teach kids responsibility and give them pride in a worthwhile accomplishment.
- Give your child a spray bottle of water with one drop of dish soap (or a bottle of non-toxic cleaner) and a rag to clean the lower kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts while you clean the upper cabinets.
- Clear off and wipe down counters before returning only the necessary items back on the counter top.
- All those crumbs that just got brushed onto the floor? Grab a kid-size broom and let your child sweep them up. Use masking tape to make a square on the floor for her to gather all the crumbs into for easy pick up with a dustpan or vacuum.
- While your child sweeps, clear out old food from the fridge, wipe it out, and wash a load of dirty dishes.
- Fill a large bowl with warm, soapy water and give your child a scrub brush or sponge to scrub the kitchen floor, then give him a large beach towel to wiggle all around to dry up the excess water.
- While your kids scrub the floor, stay within sight and clean off the dining table. You want to give them space to clean, but you also want to be sure they don’t flood the kitchen!
- Spray down the tub/shower with a mix of warm white vinegar and dish soap. Let sit overnight or for at least an hour while you tackle the rest of the home.
- Clear the clutter off the counter, fill the sink with warm, soapy water, and let kids scrub away those dried toothpaste blobs! Once they’ve scrubbed the inside of the sink, drain the water and rinse, then give your child a cleaning cloth and a spray bottle of non-toxic cleaner to clean the counters.
- Wipe out the vinegar/dish soap cleaner from the tub – most of the soap scum and hard water should wipe away with little effort. Rinse well. While you’re tackling that tub, have your child grab all the dirty towels and take them to the laundry basket, then get clean towels for each member of the family.
- If your child is older (we started at 7), teach them to use cleaning wipes to clean the outside of the toilet and the seat, as well as around and behind the bottom of the toilet. If you get the heebie jeebies just thinking about this, clean the bathroom right before bath time so you can put them straight into the tub once the task is done!
- Fill a large bowl with warm soapy water and give your child a scrub brush or sponge to scrub the bathroom floor, then give him a large beach towel to wiggle all around to dry up the excess water.
Living Room or Main Areas
- Give your child a basket to gather up all toys and books that don’t belong. Move the basket to the correct room, and help your child put away the items in the correct places. While you’re sorting through the items, identify items that your child has outgrown or games you no longer play, and discuss with your child who you can give them to who might get more use out of them.
- Grab a kid-size broom and let your child sweep up crumbs. Use masking tape to make a square on the floor for her to gather all the crumbs into for easy pick up with a dustpan or vacuum.
- Give your child a damp washcloth and show her how to wipe dust off the baseboards.
- Let your child carry old magazines and newspapers to the recycle bin.
- Give your child a dust rag and a little non-toxic cleaner to wipe down bookshelves, coffee tables and windowsills.
- Is your child strong enough to push around the vacuum? If yes, then let him! If not, let him use the hose attachment on the vacuum to clean around furniture and corners so all you have to do is push it around the main areas.
- Children love to take the cushions off the couches and chairs, so let them! Have them pull all the cushions off and look for lost treasure such as small toys and money.
- Let them use the vacuum’s hose attachment to clean out the crevices and brush off the cushions before you put the couch back together.
- Have your kids toss all the stuffed animals and extra pillows off their beds and help them “rip” off the sheets to wash. Pretend it’s a hotel, and make the perfect bed. Encourage them to put just a few stuffed animals or extra pillows to keep the bed tidy.
- They can place books on bookshelves or in baskets. Show them how to store toys on shelves or in baskets, hang or fold clean clothes, and toss dirty clothes in the hamper. Give your child a dust rag to wipe off shelves as he puts toys and books away.
- If you run across clothes or toys your children have outgrown, have them place the items in a box for sale or donation.
- Once the floor is clear, give your child a damp rag to wipe the dust off baseboards, and then let him help you sweep or vacuum the floor.
Tips for Cleaning Any Room
- Make sure the window curtains are pulled back to let the sun shine in! The sunlight is motivating and will keep you going when you feel like letting the winter dusties win. Open the windows if possible to bring in fresh air.
- Turn on some fun music that your whole family loves, and encourage your kids to boogie while they work.
- Keep recycled trash bags and donation boxes handy, and a laundry basket or bucket nearby to collect the dirty reusable cleaning cloths.
- If you don’t think your children are up for a marathon cleaning session, don’t fight it. Break the tasks down over a few days – clean the kitchen one day, the bathrooms another, the bedrooms and living room a different day.
- Plan a reward for the end of each cleaning day. A trip to the park or movie night can be great motivation to clean again next time!
Sandy Kreps is a writer, editor and graphic designer, wife, and mom to two gorgeous little boys. She is committed to simplifying her hectic life, reducing waste and helping others who want to live a greener, simpler lifestyle through her blog Modern Simplicity.