Tips to Clean Your Home and involve the Family
Generally speaking, when you think of a "household", you tend to think of a house and everything in it - furniture, people, pets, automobiles, etc., - everything under the roof and on the premises.
But cleaning doesn't consist of grabbing the nearest water hose and hosing down everything in, under and around the house. (Though I've considered it once or twice when my kids were little!)
To me, it seems reasonable that when it's time to clean up your home, every person who lives there should pitch in and help with the chores.
I know, it's easy to give tips and advice and it all looks good on a web site. But I've been there and lived through it. Let me help you get the cleaning under control so you can sit and relax and enjoy your day.
Let's go over a plan to get the kids involved, and get you house spick and span!
Cleaning your Home as a Team
Just as the family automatically feels they are part of a family vacation, they should have the same sense of filial attachment to keeping the household in a clean, smoothly operating condition.
Consider the size and ages of your family members. With probably the exception of the toddlers under 3 years old, the rest are certainly capable of helping in some small way or even assuming responsibility for major tasks.
Teach the Kids Young
Young children should be taught from an early age to pick up after themselves.
- Dirty clothing needs to be taken into the laundry room.
- Dirty dishes need to be taken into the kitchen and placed on the counter.
- Candy wrappers, apple cores, and the like need to be put in the garbage.
- Begin early with training kids to be responsible about their toys and their clothing.
Encourage the Older Kids
Teenagers should be encouraged to keep their rooms straightened and presentable. They probably don't want their parents to come in and "snoop" around. So it should be even more important for them to personally keep their rooms and belongings in good shape.
After a while you'll only need to peek your head in every once in a while to make sure the room is being kept up and clean.
Moms, Dads & Other Adults
Your spouse, significant other, and other adults in the household surely don't have to be told to clean up after themselves. But sometimes, "gentle" reminders are required. If your spouse consistently ignores his socks, t-shirt or something else that is laying around, don't let his neglectful ways get under your skin.
Too often the primary house cleaner will go around picking up after other family members and smoldering underneath all the while.
Don't let your irritation build until you pop off and lose your cool. Remind them as often as is needed, be consistent, tell them to "Pick up after themselves!"
Assuming the home is picked up to your satisfaction, you probably will have to take responsibility for de-cluttering, dusting, polishing, organizing, mopping, and vacuuming yourself. But, these jobs should not fall on one person's shoulders. Good leaders delegate responsibility.
You can assign tasks to everyone in the household and make them responsible for seeing to it that their jobs are done, and done well. This also helps them "buy into" the concept of being part of the family and a valuable member of the household.
De-Cluttering Shared Spaces in the Family Home
Even if everyone in the house picks up after him or herself, there will still be some things left awry. Delegate the job of de-cluttering to one family member, changing up the family member whenever another de-cluttering session is in order.
In the beginning, the individual will need to be taught how to de-clutter effectively and efficiently so that it doesn't become an all day chore. If they learn the tricks early, the lessons will stay with them the rest of their lives.
Take an empty container (paper box, laundry basket, large paper or plastic bag) into each room.
- Look for any items that do not belong in the room and place them in the container.
- If it's garbage or trash, it goes into the bag to be thrown into the trash can or recycle bin.
- If it is something that is just out of place and belongs in a different room, put it in the box or basket.
- Books need to returned to book cases, and magazine straightened.
As each "family" room is de-cluttered, take the contents in the box and see that they are put away in the rooms or storage areas where they belong.
Dusting & Polishing
If you're training another member of the house to help with dusting and polishing, gather the supplies you will need:
- Clean soft rags for dusting (one for polishing)
- Spray or liquid polish for surfaces and rags
- Tote for carrying
Put them in a container that you can take from room to room. This helps by keeping the supplies convenient for access and helps you remember to not leave them behind. You might forget where they are and spend precious time retracing your steps.
All the family rooms should already be clutter-free, so after giving the furniture, hearths, table tops, all flat surfaces a good dusting, you can apply polish and buff the surfaces to a nice, clean shine.
Vacuuming & Mopping Floors
It makes more sense to vacuum before you mop because vacuuming stirs up dust. If you've damp mopped and polished your hardwood floors, then vacuum a strip of carpet in close proximity, you will see lint and dust particles settle onto the clean hardwood floors.
So, vacuum and/or sweep those surfaces first. Have someone help you move the heavier furniture away from the walls so that you can get behind the sofas and easy chairs and really give the carpets a good cleaning.
After the carpets have been vacuumed, then use a damp sponge mop, a sh-mop, or whatever you prefer to damp mop your hard surfaced floors. In no time, these household tasks are completed and your whole home will be shining and smell clean.
Don't Get Discouraged!
There are ups and downs and not everybody will pull his or her own weight. Just keep encouraging your "helpers" - whether your children, your spouse, roommate, whomever, to keep helping.
I want to help you have the home you dream of with each person doing his or her fair share. Add love, and you have the combination that makes your household a home. Good luck!