What’s the name of the game? Spring cleaning!
How do you play? Fast!
Why do you play? To get organized!
We just don’t have the time to spend on spring cleaning that our moms and our moms’ moms used to. As with most aspects of our modern lives, efficiency rules the day.
So over the years, we’ve developed a savvy spring cleaning approach that’s all about making a game plan to deal with the various hot zones one by one in small chunks of time. Set aside a time (15 – 30 minutes, that’s all you’ll need) every week for the next six weeks or so (we find Saturday afternoon works well, or one evening a week). Keep that appointment like you would any other appointment, pick a high-impact cleaning job and you’ll be ready for spring without too much pain.
Focus on finishing one task before moving on to the next (just like a quarterback). It enhances your sense of accomplishment, ensures that the job is done, minimizes household chaos and improves your overall productivity. Recruit the kids where appropriate—they really do love to help—and make a game out of it.
So what are those 30-minute workouts anyway?
Kitchen: Spring Thaw
- Go through the freezer and set a family goal of eating up all the food so you can make room for summer produce—have some fun thinking of recipes to use everything up
- Sort through canned goods: if you haven’t used them in a year and they are not past any expiry date, consider donating them to a food bank
- Find another home for two things you usually keep on the kitchen counter (how often do you use that popcorn maker anyway?) and create some visual calm for an easier-to-clean surface
- Attack the plastic storage containers! You really don’t need as many as you think you do. And if you have mismatched lids and bottoms—off to the recycle bin!
Basement or Playroom: Toy Drive
- Get the kids involved in putting all the toys back in order, making a sorting game out of it. Designate boxes or bins (we like to hot-glue a piece to the side for recognition) for loose toys like Lego or play food and have them put everything in, ‘like with like.’
- Rotate the location of toys—some in the kitchen, playroom or bedroom. When you switch them up, they become ‘new’ (and more played with as a result)
Living/Family Room: Clear It Up
- Find at least one cluttered surface, such as the coffee table or bookshelf, and completely clear it of clutter. Kids can help by taking things back to where they belong while you concentrate on de-cluttering and throwing things out that are no longer needed
Front or Back Hall: Changing of the Guard
- Put winter clothing away after washing to make room for summer necessities (time this one well—one warm weekend does not a spring make)
- Set up an easy-to-reach bin for each family member for hats, sunglasses and sunscreen and they’ll be much more likely to put things where they belong
Garage: Gear Shift
- Move the skis and hockey equipment to the back and bring bikes, trikes, hose and rakes to the front
- Get an old laundry basket for the balls (maybe another for sand and gardening toys if you have them) and a deep pail (the all-purpose ones hardware stores sell), and encourage the kids to put the toys back in there once they are finished playing
Office: Filing Away
- Create a file for each child to store information on camps and/or activity so you have one designated spot to check the oh-so-important ‘What to Bring’ list (and check out our Mom Stash while you are at it for more must-haves-in-case-of-emergencies)
- Do a mini file purge (we know, the whole thing is too overwhelming). Just pick the first five in the drawer and weed through them for unneeded paper—next season do another five
So keep your head in the game by choosing one thing at a time and working room by room. It’s not as overwhelming as you think—start with those plastic containers and it’s a win!