Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time for spring cleaning! This annual task can seem overwhelming, especially with kids. But we’ve come up with a few ways to get your house decluttered and disinfected while letting the kids get in on the action (and actually help!):
The Art of Tidying
If you’ve been online or watched TV at all, you’ve heard about Marie Kondo, the queen of tidying who is taking America by storm. Her methods have been inspiring people everywhere to declutter and get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” But the question remains, how do you employ her KonMari method with kids?
Designate a Set Amount of Space
As the parent, you decide on how much space your children will have to store their clothes, toys, books, and artwork. “If the items start to overflow, they will have a negative effect on your life and nothing will spark joy.” At that point, it’s time to lay them all out and only keep the ones that spark joy.
Allow Children to Choose Which Items Spark Joy
Even if you don’t agree. Kondo shares that it’s important to “only save items that spark joy. Children as young as 3 years old can decide what gives them joy and the key principle is that each person should be making the decisions for themselves. If a parent or a spouse ever tries to ‘force’ another family member to tidy, not only will it not work, it could even have a negative effect.”
Stick to the Plan
Kondo says that kids as young as 3 years old can participate in tidying. While they may not be able to decide that young what sparks joy, they can help keep their toys in their proper places. This will help them form good habits of cleaning up after playtime.
From Decluttering to Disinfecting
Once you and your kids have gone through and decluttered, the next step to spring cleaning is disinfecting and deep cleaning. Don’t worry about turning your children into Cinderellas. A little hard work and dirt under their nails are good for them, and it will keep them entertained, too! Here are some tasks that little hands will make light work of:
Dusting– For some reason, kids love dusting! Give them a regular duster, or an old pair of cotton socks and have them clean off dusty surfaces.
Cleaning under the beds– little bodies are perfect for this task! Have them clear out any items that have been forgotten under there and use a damp cloth or vacuum to get rid of the dust.
Washing the windows– mix a little vinegar and water in a spray bottle for a non-toxic cleaner, hand them a dry cloth and let them go to town wiping away their own fingerprints.
Cleaning under the couch cushions– tell your kids they are about to embark on a treasure hunt! There is always tons of loose change to be found under the couch cushions (along with Goldfish, Cheerios, and some missing socks too!). Equip them with a hand-held vacuum and they’ll be asking to do it once a week.
Disinfecting toys– To make an all-natural, child-friendly disinfectant, combine 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and 10 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spray the solution directly onto toys, then wipe away with a clean cloth to combat any lingering winter germs.