The holidays are coming and that always makes me want to clean. I think it’s because family will be visiting and also it's soon going to be the start of a new year. Winter is certainly the season I accumulate bits and pieces, but trying to do detox my house with kids around can be a terrifying prospect.
In our household spring cleaning always starts from the bottom. Pulling everything from the cupboards. And I do mean the lot. Of course, this is exactly when the kids decide to get actively involved. This is also when they’re reunited with old toys or clothes that they just can’t bear to let go of. (Even though that toy is missing the vital parts that make it work, and the pair of pants is two sizes too small.)
This year I’ve decided to do it differently. (There is of course the idea that I could ship them off to boarding school, but that would be decidedly, too costly.) And, after all, I’m hoping to instill a trend of renewal in them too. That’s why this time around they’ll be involved. Maybe we can have some fun doing this too.
Here’s a quick list of things to try clearing out the clutter with your little cheese-sticks running around.
Set aside more than one day for cleaning
In fact, set aside a whole week.
Get them to do what they do best
Play. Have them go on a treasure hunt for all the toys they own. Give each child two boxes, the “I don’t want to play with that toy anymore” box, and the “I can’t live without that toy” box. When they’ve made their way through all their toys, close up the first box and don’t re-open it. (However, if you have more than one child, it may be a good idea to go through the toys first. The younger child may want to take ownership of some of the toys in that box.) Do the same with their clothes. Give the box as-is to someone who can make use of it.
Give each child a job and set up a payment
Kids love being involved. The problem we have as mothers is we want something done just so. Give them each a chore (one that will keep them busy and out of your way for some time) and be sure to let them know they’ll get paid for this. Get creative with payment. Promise a movie after a job well done or $5 for every tick off the checklist. Get them excited.
Have a race
Give them a task, send them on a mission. Whoever can finish their operation the fastest will win the race and receive a prize.
De-cluttering is really a great way to bond with the kids. Take it easy and expect less. Your home will be a mess for a week or so, but just think of how awesome it will feel when you’re done. And who knows, it may become a family tradition that the kids will start looking forward to.