Back to school schedules and activities are finally in sync and your family has a well-oiled routine. With the warm temperatures giving way to cool, crisp days and winter on the horizon, it’s time to do a little fall cleaning. We all find time for spring cleaning, but in the hustle and bustle for fall we don’t always check autumn cleaning off of our to-do list. This is a perfect opportunity to get the kids involved to teach them the importance of a clean sweep while editing their closets and toys for the upcoming winter holidays.

Green Clean

If your garden needs some serious TLC from the neglect it experienced during the first couple of months of getting back to school, it’s time to overhaul it. Toddlers can help with weeding (and they will delight in all the bugs they uncover), while older kids can rake and help trim hedges and perennials.  If you live in a colder climate, have your kids help plant bulbs letting them select which types and colors to plant.  Then, come spring you’ll have bright tulips and daffodils to look forward to after a long winter.  Finally, sprinkle mulch over the soil to protect plants until the warmer weather arrives in the new year.

Tidy Toys

It’s time to clean out any remaining summer or fall toys and books that your kids have outgrown. Together – or with older kids, on their own – go through the toys and books in the house. Decide together which to keep, toss or donate. Any items you’re holding on to but won’t use until next summer, wipe down and store.  Doing this each season teaches kids to be generous to those less fortunate – by giving items they have outgrown away – and also allows them to take pride in caring for their belongings. Consider doing this again before the holiday season to help keep clutter under control.

Fit to a T

Chances are some of the clothes you thought would fit your kids this season have fallen short, but in the frantic fall pace, you haven’t had time to sort through them.  Now’s your chance to go through the clothes with your kids (older kids can do this on their own) and edit their closets down to things they actually wear. Separate items into piles – keep, store for next season, donate and repair or clean.  Remember, don’t store anything that hasn’t been cleaned or repaired. Take the time to do it now, so when you pull the items out of the back of the closet or from storage next year, they will be ready to wear.

Feel a bit more organized? Feels better, doesn’t it? Making autumn cleaning a family affair  teaches everyone to take care of their belongings and also shows kids the importance of teamwork. With everyone helping out, a tedious task that you may have dreaded doing alone  becomes much more manageable and even a bit fun.