Tackle Spring Cleaning as a Family

Published Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:05 PM

Ah, spring cleaning: an annual ritual that is often anticipated with dread but completed with satisfaction. Even the most mop-shy among us can relish the squeaky clean of a thoroughly cleaned and newly organized home. This year, recruit family members to help make the spring cleaning process relatively quick and painless-and even fun.

Go Big

Think of spring cleaning as the time to tackle the big picture chores that often get overlooked during the day-to-day when we tend to focus on small bore tasks that keep our home humming such as laundry, emptying trash cans and dealing with recycling. Spring cleaning is a chance to freshen your home by undertaking larger jobs such as cleaning windows, carpets, drapes and your appliances. We also recommend switching out your winter and spring clothes and bedding and dusting your home thoroughly. Not sure what areas of the home to tackle? For a helpful time-saver, Google "spring cleaning checklist" for handy to-do lists that are broken down room-by-room.

Go Step-by-Step

To begin, parents should determine what projects to tackle and then divide the tasks up by family member. Some tasks such as dusting can be handled by virtually any age, other chores such as washing drapes, or cleaning an oven, might need to be done by older children or adults.

Next, asses your family calendar and schedule the tasks. Chores such as cleaning the garage that will be handled by the whole family will need large blocks of time scheduled during days with free time such as weekends. Other tasks such as changing out winter bedding, or sorting through clothes to donate or pass along to younger siblings, can be handled by individual children at their discretion. Just be sure to give children a general deadline-such as all tasks must be completed by the end of the week-and then empower them to manage their own to-do list.

Finally, stock up on all needed supplies before diving in. Purchase necessary cleaning supplies and cardboard boxes to corral items for donation. Research places that accept donated goods and the hours of operation of the town dump. Consider outsourcing this research and shopping to older, computer savvy children to save time and include them in the planning.

Go Streamlined

Spring cleaning presents the perfect opportunity to winnow down your belongings, restoring a sense of order and calm to your home. Make time spent dusting multitask as a chance to vet the objects in your home, tossing what's outdated or broken and collecting seldom used items for donation. Deputize each family member to give a through once-over to the clothes and items in their personal rooms or closets. Then schedule a time to assess common areas such as the garage or family rooms. Corral all items to be donated in cardboard boxes. Or consider staging a garage sale to dispose of goods while generating cash.

Go Creative

While spring cleaning will never rank high on anyone's list of leisure pursuits, a little creativity can go a long way in turning boring chores into a fun game. Consider injecting a little competition into the tasks to generate interest. Reward the first child to complete their to-do list with a prize or let the family member who dusts the most shelves skip another upcoming chore. Incentivize your children to part with unneeded items by letting them know that for every box they fill with items to be donated, they can win a coupon redeemable for an ice cream or an extra TV show. Incentivize yourself and your spouse as well with similar rewards. A healthy competition will make moving through the tasks faster and more fun. And when all the chores are complete, schedule a family outing to the movies or a favorite restaurant as a reward.

Happy spring cleaning!


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