Every year, people go through some form of cleaning. Cleaning gives a good refreshing feeling of a new start. As if the old and the dirty is an obstacle to moving forward. Cleaning the house is a task that not many people like. Parents find it necessary, but it takes away very important and valuable family time.
If only I had a cleaner.
Well, I had a cleaner for about two years of my life. If you think it made a huge difference, you are right! It did! I could free my thoughts for other things that were more meaningful than washing and cleaning – the maids we had did a good job. They did it better because they were motivated. Cleaning the house for a family in Singapore and earning enough to support a whole family in the Philippines was great motivation, which I lacked, lucky me.
Still, I love it when my house is clean for with this wonderful fresh feeling. How to get it?
Just do it!
Many times, cleaning is postponed longer than it would take to actually do it! The thought of it is worse than the actual cleaning. Our kids learn from us to procrastinate on things we do not have the motivation to do and if there is something you can give your kids regarding cleaning, it is a “just do it!” attitude.
Here are some tips to teach your kids to just do it:
- Have a cleaning routines: Thursday cooking evening, Saturday laundry day, Monday bed sheet changing, Tuesday refrigerator cleaning, Wednesday toilet cleaning….
- Have cleaning competitions. At our house, we race ourselves, “Let’s see how long it will take us to clean the whole kitchen?” it works every time.
- Assign weekly chores to each kid and make sure they are done before TV or playing with friends.
- While the kids are in the shower and you are waiting for them, clean around.
- Have a rubbish bin in each room and have a set day to clear it.
- Put 3-4 plastic bags at the bottom of the bins in the rooms. It will save you time the next time you change bags and encourage you to take out the garbage sooner.
- Have a small rubbish bin on the kitchen counter to make it easy for you to get rid of rubbish.
- Pour boiling water into sticky pots. It will make them a lot easier to clean.
- Make the beds when you get up in the morning. Show the kids it takes 30 seconds. You can play a game of practicing how long it takes to organize the bed and show them it takes less than 30 seconds.
- Teach your kids to pick up toys and clothes off the floor before bed time (use the same game).
- Have a set day to vacuum the carpets.
- When taking clothes out of the dryer, fold them straight away – it will save you ironing them.
- Make it a habit to clean the filter in the dryer every time you open it. By the way, burning lint in the clothes dryer is the #1 cause of domestic fires. No lint – no fire.
- When taking the laundry off the clothesline, match socks and fold them together – it is easy to find pairs when they are hanging on the line.
- Teach kids to put dishes straight into the dishwasher – it will keep the kitchen counter and the sink clear most of the day.
- Clean the kitchen while clearing the table. Have everyone take part in clearing, wiping, washing and putting away at the same time, so that cleaning after a meal becomes a family activity.
- Encourage the kids to use the same cup during the day or give them their own water bottle. You will have fewer cups to wash this way.
- Have baby wipes handy to clean the top counter in the shower or even the toilet.
- Have many containers (with lids) in the house to store food, art and craft items, stationary and other small things.
- Clean after yourself when you cook – it is great role modeling.
- Have a good filing system. Store things in their right place instead of moving it from one place to another.
- Have a needle and thread handy to fix buttons and holes in your kids’ clothes. It will save you having to go over a pile of fixing to do at once.
- Let your kids play with the duster.
- Have an assigned place for your kids’ school bags and make sure the bags go there every afternoon.
- Have a set place for keys, mobile phones and other items of regular use. This way, things will seem more organized without having to put in any extra effort, just with good habits.
- Have a shopping list in the kids’ height and encourage them to write in it. This will teach the kids responsibility around the house.
- If you find something interesting in a magazine, cut it and store it in your “interesting” folder and get rid of the magazine in the recycling bin.
- Clear your desk before leaving it to make the next time you work on it a bit more pleasant.
- Have a day once every term for donating things you do not use. It will clear some of the clutter and teach your kids about giving.
- Before buying an item, ask yourself how long you will have to dedicate to cleaning and maintaining it or if it will add or help with the clutter at home.
Have a clean, happy house,