Keeping a home clean is difficult at all times. Doing so when you have kids, though, is a particularly stressful kind of clean. Not only are there more people actively destroying your living spaces, but little kids, in particular, are limited in how they can help to clean up the mess.
If you’re a parent who is gearing up for some annual spring cleaning, it’s important to go into the process with a plan in place. Here are some tips to help you find spring cleaning success this year.
Before you pick up a rag or plug in a vacuum cleaner, take some time to sit down and strategize.
If you want to be truly effective with your spring cleaning, you must acknowledge one thing first: you can’t do everything. Spring cleaning literally has no boundaries. By its very nature, it requires an infinite process of going deeper, higher, and farther in search of the neverending dirt and grime in your home.
When kids are involved, though, you have to realize that there are natural limitations to what you can get done.
As such, you should start the spring cleaning process by coming up with a list of your desired spring cleaning activities. As you do this, make sure to prioritize each item.
Vacuuming under the couch for the first time in six months is probably a high priority. At the same time, by being time-sensitive with your plans, you can also weed out activities that you might not really need to do at the moment. For example, you probably don’t need to clean the oven right now or fold every single piece of laundry in the house (which is impossible to do at any time when you have kids, by the way — just for the record).
Once you have your list of priorities, you should do one more thing before you get up to your elbows in your home’s unique brand of dust and filth: set the stage. Consider what tools you need to get all of your cleaning done.
Do you need to replace the broom or get a new mop? Do you have cleaning products that use unethical ingredients and aren’t safe to use around kids? Replace them with green products that are still effective for more intense spring cleaning activities.
Along with physical preparations, also consider pulling together a spring cleaning schedule. This can help you resist the urge to try to do everything at once. At the same time, it can help you find the time to get to everything on your list without having items drop off of the radar along the way.
When it comes to the cleaning itself, it’s wise to incorporate your offspring strategically. For instance, if you try to give your three-year-old an equal share of the cleaning burden, you’re likely going to end up spending more time helping them than you’ll spend cleaning your home.
At the same time, you want to invest in training your children to learn how to properly clean. That said, look for activities that are family-friendly and then plan them into your cleaning schedule as part of your “family cleaning time.”
This can be a powerful way to get things done. On the one hand, you can use your family’s help to keep your home neat and tidy throughout the deeper cleaning process. On the other hand, you can reserve particularly difficult or adult chores for yourself during non-family cleaning periods, such as at night or while your kids are at school.
As a final recommendation, as far as family cleaning is concerned, it can also be helpful to do your best to turn cleaning into a fun activity, as well. From hiding treats throughout your home to coming up with a cleaning scavenger hunt, there are plenty of ways to turn spring cleaning into a fun family activity.
One of the best ways to keep your home clean over the long-term is to be proactive. In other words, you can’t just lean on spring cleaning activities to keep your home clean all year long.
Instead, as you go about your annual springtime cleansing endeavors, look for ways to set up sustainable cleaning routines. For example, if you still have a baby room, organize the changing table, furniture, and closet in a manner that helps the room stay clean and stress-free at all times and with minimal effort.
By working sustainable activities into your daily life, you can spread the cleaning responsibility out into a string of minor daily activities rather than an avalanche of scrubbing, sweeping, and vacuuming all taking place at the same time each year.
Spring is renowned for its ability to spark that desire to clean out one’s home. As a parent, though, this ambition doesn’t always line up with the realities of life.
Nevertheless, you can still accomplish your cleaning objectives if you approach the situation thoughtfully. From priority lists and cleaning schedules to family-friendly cleaning activities and long-term routines, there are plenty of ways to get your spaces tidied up this spring without stressing out along the way.