Most people I know are eager to welcome the approach of Spring and all that goes with it: opening the windows for fresh air, planting flowers, putting out the patio furniture. What most people are probably not thrilled about? Spring cleaning.
The idea of giving your house a good old fashioned scrub down, when you have kids in it, can be daunting for any parent. Toys, craft projects and puzzles are consistently being brought out and put away. Then, of course, there are the meals, baths and naptimes to contend with. But, believe it or not, with a little ingenuity and some patience, you can get your house “spring ready” in a week’s time. You will have the satisfaction of a clean home and your kids will learn some valuable skills in the process.
1. Break your house down into zones (below is an example of how my home/zones are set up). I discovered a wonderful site about 10 years ago that really saved my sanity and can help you in this area.
* Kitchen/dining area zone
* Main living/family area zone
* Kids zone (play room, children’s bedroom, etc.)
* Bathrooms zone
* Grown-ups zone (bedroom, office, etc.)
* Extra rooms zone (laundry room/foyer/porch)
2. Once your zones are determined, create a schedule. In my house, there is only one zone per day. On the 7th day, we rest and enjoy the fruits of our labor!
3. Create a detailed list for each of the zones. This list becomes your to do list for that particular day so that you can cross things off as you go. Only concentrate on ONE zone for that day.
4. Gather the right tools. Make sure you have what you’ll need for that particular zone: cleaning products, micro-fiber clothes, dusters, mop, bucket, vacuum, etc. Having the right tools for the job will make things go much more smoothly.
5. Make sure that your cleaning products are eco-friendly. Ideally, you want products that do not contain bleach, formaldehyde, phthalates, or any toxic fumes that will be harmful. Using toxic, grocery store brand products creates a toxic environment because the residue is in the air, on the furniture and in the carpet or rugs. Buy green!
6. When I go to clean a room, I always work top to bottom and left to right. For example: I grab my long handled micro-fiber duster and I dust at the top of the room (gotta get those cobwebs!) going all the way around to the point where I started. Then I do the same for the ceiling fan and I remove the light bulb globes and set them in the sink to soak. Then I move to the picture frames on the walls, moving left to right the whole time. It helps me keep things moving without missing any details.
7. Get your kids to help. Kids like to use “dusters”, they like to sweep, push a vacuum, and spray. Just make sure you’re supervising. You can be cleaning the things up high while the kids are cleaning things at their height.
Once each of the rooms/zones is done, it’s just a matter of maintaining the results of your hard work. You certainly don’t want your house looking like it’s pre-spring cleaning self in just a few weeks. What works for me is (you guessed it) a schedule:
Monday – Bathrooms
Tuesday – Bedrooms
Wednesday – Kitchen/Laundry/Dining
Thursday – Living/Family Room
Friday – Office/Foyer/Porch
Saturday – Bills/Errands/Menu/Groceries
Sunday – Family Day
I love this schedule because I only have to concentrate on the details of that particular zone. Now that my youngest son is old enough to help with chores unsupervised (he turns 14 next month), he has his own set of chores that he does every day, without fail. I give him Fridays and Sundays off to be fair.
Examples of his chores (and they’re different each day): doing a load of laundry (wash/dry/fold/put away), polish furniture, scrub the toilet, run the vacuum, mop the bathroom, set the table, take the trash to the end of the driveway, sweep the porch, cook dinner once a week. If you’re feeling sorry for him, don’t. He is well compensated! Plus, when he leaves some day, he’ll know how to take care of the house and hopefully, my future daughter-in-law will love me!
Even when he was little, he had little chores to do. I always made sure they were age appropriate.
So, go ahead and get started. Before long, your house will be sparkling and you’ll be proud to not only live there yourself, but to have others over as well. And when you can confidently open your front door to others, it’s a beautiful thing!
Do you have any Spring Cleaning rituals? Please share them below. We love comments! And if you haven’t had a chance, please subscribe by email in the right hand side bar so we can stay connected!
To your health and happiness,
Penny at Green Moms and Kids