8 Spring Cleaning Tasks Kids Can Actually Help Out With
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We implemented a Saturday chores system in our family this year. Through many false starts and bumpy weekends with a frustrated mom and equally disgruntled kids, we came upon a solution that leaves the house clean, keeps parents from nagging, and ends with kids who aren’t burnt out:
We do a power hour of chores all together.
At a certain time, often after a special breakfast that fills bellies and warms hearts, we blast music through our whole-house Google speakers, grab our cleaning supplies, and set to work. We aim to finish our assigned tasks in the one-hour timeframe. Knowing the time is finite helps us focus, and the fact that we’re all working together keeps morale high and reminds each of us that our service is for the good of our entire family.
Doing the chores all at the same time and having a treat to look forward to at the end (like an ice cream parlor outing or pizza party sleepover in the living room!) helps make spring cleaning a memorable and somewhat palatable family affair.
Making a plan beforehand of who is responsible for what is also a key component of a successful spring cleaning plan that involves the entire household. Here are some simple, kid-friendly tasks that will make your kids feel like valuable members of the team.
Baseboard-cleaning is essential to any deep-cleaning effort. Even if the rest of the house is sparkling, dirty baseboards mar the overall impact. It’s the perfect job for kids. They can dust. A mitt duster is a great option, and kind of fun. After dusting, they can use a gentle all-purpose cleaner or a dish soap-vinegar-water spray to wipe down the baseboards with a microfiber cloth. My kids also enjoy using cotton swabs to clean tight corners and narrow grooves.
Scour desk surfaces.
Most kids’ desk surfaces bear the marks of lots and lots of art projects. Between stray marker strokes and dried-up glitter glue, pretty soon desks take on a life of their own. Cleaning them is so refreshing and I find that my kids always get to work on new projects when their desks are clean.
Depending on the age of your kids and your comfort level, you can set them up with some Bar Keeper’s Friend and a damp scrubby sponge. Another option is giving them Magic Erasers, which will take care of most desk messes. The task can be expanded to include chairs and adjacent walls that may also be “decorated.”
Remove sticker residue.
Your kids ever plaster stickers all over windows, walls, or furniture? Mine too. Putting them to work removing them is a great way to discourage the behavior in the future (*wink wink*). A safe way to put your kids to the task is to have them wipe the residue with Grease Monkey wipes. Or try a vinegar-soaked cotton ball.
Put together orphaned socks.
If you have a “missing sock basket,” spring cleaning is a great time to match those orphaned pairs and toss the rest. Have your kids dump out the basket and match up as many pairs as they can. Bonus: more pairs of socks!!
Sort through desk drawers.
Teaching healthy decluttering habits starts when kids are young, but it’s important to do this carefully. Getting rid of their things without their knowledge or permission could cause them to feel distrustful and even less likely to let go. But going through their things alongside them, discussing what’s important about clearing out their spaces, and pointing out how much more they’ll enjoy what they keep if they can get to it easily sets them up for good practices down the road.
In a similar vein, have your kids sort through their toys, separating the toys that are most special to them and those they can pass along to other kids. Again, tell them how good you feel when you pass along things you no longer need to those who will use and enjoy them. Your kids will love their cleaned-out play space and you will love how they’ll play with their toys as if they’re new!
Depending on their age and the type of vacuum you have, your kids could be put in charge of vacuuming certain spaces. Maybe they can use the crevice tool to vacuum crumbs near the toe kick area in the kitchen, or maybe they can take ownership of the carpeting in their rooms and vacuum there. Often, especially for younger children, vacuuming makes them feel “big” and we know how happy that makes them!
Hose down and scrub trash cans.
If weather permits, cleaning the trash cans outside is a great spring cleaning activity. Empty them, scrub with soapy cleaning brushes, and then hose everything down before letting the trash cans dry in the sun. Pro tip: Do this near the end of your cleaning session, because it might turn into a water fight!!