The annual ritual of spring cleaning has its roots in the 19th century, when women would clear out a winter’s worth of lamp oil grime and dirt from their homes once the weather turned warm. Today, it survives as tradition. A holdover that recalls the days when spring meant rebirth and an awakening from winter slumber for farmers and ranchers.
If warmer weather spurs you to give your home a deep cleaning, there are a few tactics you can use to get the entire family involved and make it fun for everyone.
Make Gathering Supplies a Treasure Hunt
If you have younger children, you can make a game out of finding all the cleaning supplies you will need. Have your kids find and bring you buckets, fresh sponges, floor mops, and clean rags, and give them each a clue about where they might find them. Using simple rhymes and colors as clues can help younger kids puzzle them out. You can hand out a small prize for the child who finds their item first; however, it is a good idea to gather cleansers on your own to ensure your kids’ safety.
Shower Off Your Patio Furniture
If you have a child who likes hosing things off, you can put them in charge of your patio furniture’s bath time. Dust and other debris that can gather over the winter may make your outdoor furniture look dull or grimy. A bucket of warm soapy water and a brush can make them look like new again, followed by a spray with the garden hose. Have your child wear gloves that will protect their hands, but allow him or her to clean the furniture easily.
Afterwards, you can let the furniture dry in the warm sun. Before you know it, the family will be gathered around the clean patio furniture, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.
Let the Music Play
Making a spring cleaning playlist the whole family can enjoy might keep you motivated, even when the job gets tough. Before you begin, have everyone contribute five songs they want on the list. Then, add some feel-good songs of your own. Streaming music apps such as Spotify allow you to make your own playlists for free. You can include many different genres on one list, or categorize them when you want to listen to continuous country, pop, or rap.
Teach as You Play
If you have small children, make a teaching game out of sorting books, clothing, and media with color-coded labels. First, assign a color to each pile: keep, donate, or recycle. With each item, ask your kids which color label they should assign to it. Once they learn a set of colors, change the labels and teach them a new set. You might be surprised at how quickly everything gets sorted, and the time you spend with your kids can create happy memories.
Assign a Top Assistant
Part of the challenge of spring cleaning can be keeping curious little ones out of the way. Giving them a grown-up job to do might be helpful. If you, or your husband, plan to clean your sinks and drains to avoid summer plumbing problems, assign one of your kids to be their top assistant. Give them a clipboard with a checklist. This way, jobs can be checked off as they’re completed and your kid take notes for mom or dad too, such as parts or tools he needs to buy.
The ritual of spring cleaning may harken back to the days of old, but that doesn’t mean it has to be mundane or boring. With a little imagination, you can make each task a rewarding game. Your little helpers will be eager to play and win rewards.