April 4, 2018

There’s something so liberating about this time of year. Maybe it’s that crisp, spring air (and the fact that we can finally open the windows) that breathes new life into our homes and leaves us wanting to spruce things up. The energy is vibrant and motivating, and if you haven’t already started, you’re probably preparing to do some deep spring cleaning.

I can remember those days when I didn’t have six children and this time of year was blissfully easy. Now, I have to schedule time to declutter around the naps and schedules of small people. It’s easy to get frustrated or annoyed but here are some tips for getting the job done without a headache.

Work in Teams

Truth be told, I really do prefer to work alone (until I see a spider and then I’m making my spouse lift boxes in the garage for the rest of the day!) but, if you’ve got small kids at home, it might be best to work in teams.

Assign one person to watch over little people or, if it’s just you, alternate between doing a task related to their items (such as whittling down clothing and toys) before giving them a snack while you work on something of your own. It might take longer but it will save your sanity.

Pump Up the Jams

It’s a little cliché but great music really helps set the mood for a good spring cleaning session. There’s just something about hearing upbeat songs at a decent volume that gets the blood pumping.

Of course, you might have to tailor your playlist if you’re working as a team but the key is to choose tracks that are fun and are uptempo. Put the speaker in a neutral spot so that you can listen as you move from room to room.

Do a Sorting Challenge

For a million reasons, people don’t always like to get rid of things. They might not really be attached to something but, rather, are holding on to what was or what could have been. Either way, most of us accumulate things that we don’t really need.

To help shorten this potentially lengthy process, create a sorting challenge. Grab three bins and label them “Keep,” “Donate,” and “Trash” and then work in spurts. Give everyone 60 seconds to sort through a certain pile, for example, and then keep going until you all need a break. It really does work.

Patience is a Virtue!

As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Take that to heart when you expect to get all your spring cleaning done in five hours. It’s probably not going to happen, especially if you have small children.

What we’ve done is make the whole month of March all about shedding in one way or another. For the first week or two, we focus on actually getting rid of stuff. It’s amazing how much garbage we have in our homes. The for the last two weeks, we get to the cleaning. It takes some patience but it’s worth it in the end.

Make it a Pizza Night

Whenever you do devote several hours to cleaning, give yourselves a little treat. We often order pizza on those nights so that I don’t have to cook and everyone feels full and rewarded for their efforts.

It doesn’t have to be pizza, of course. Maybe you dish out an ice cream treat or rent a movie that everyone’s been wanting to see. End the day with some type of unifying moment to balance out any stresses you all experienced as you worked together. It will feel wonderful.

Whether you want to power through your spring cleaning in a day or are happy to spread it out over a couple weeks, remember to respect the limits of the smallest members of your family and try to have some fun. A clean house is great but what you will cherish most years from now are the memories you made with your kids. Don’t stress the small stuff.