Spring Cleaning…With Kids: Things No One Tells You
When spring arrives….
There seems to be a flurry of internet activity sharing spring cleaning inspiration and tips. I always feel inspired by these organized ladies sharing their wisdom. Then I think about my own life with a 3 yo and 1 yo (and how hard it is to sweep regularly) and wonder:
How does this apply to mothers and fathers with kids?
See, kids may make the messes, but the kids may not want to help clean them up. When it comes to deep cleaning and decluttering, family may say it’s good enough as is. Yet, everyone benefits from clear open space.
So, here are my three words of wisdom to parents with decluttering aspirations:
The process is circular rather than linear.
If you have young children and are sorting socks, you may end up sorting the same ones over and over. Use height, sleep times, game ideas, peaceful parenting strategies and a closed door or “Closed” sign on a room for a day. Remember to have the bag/box/bin for the clothes you are donating at the ready or put clothes directly into the bag. (Contains the mess!)
If you have older children, it’s time to ask them where they would like some space or what they would like space for. Then brainstorm ways that space could be created. (Organizing, rearranging, clearing out items)
Each bit of effort counts.
If you have young children then you know what a luxury it can be to eat a full meal at a digestive, social pace in one sitting. Plan one focus for the morning/afternoon or the day. Chip away 5 minutes or 15 minutes one big project at a time or tackle a number of little pieces within that same field of effort. By midmorning or nighttime, you will find you have done something towards your goal!
If you have older children, ask them how they are willing to help towards the Simplicity goals for the family and your home. Move some bags or boxes out to the curb. Clear and organize their things off the bathroom sink. Design a colorful, inspiring board for your family to plan meals, tasks/appts and home care. Every bit of effort counts!
What you do matters, even if it wasn’t planned.
You know how life with young children is spontaneous and unexpected? How sometimes we make grand plans of picnics and park days, and we end up barely getting our pajamas off? Same with clearing. Sometimes we set out to clear or clean one thing, and we end up doing something else. Like how my goal is to clean the spare room, hall or clothing space, yet I have cleaned the fridge and the patio instead (as a family).
With older children, the same applies. If you don’t feel confident you could get a project done without your family’s help, ask. If they say no, change your plans and find things you can do alone. Or start that big project and see if it inspires your family to pitch in and make something great happen.
Think of cleaning and decluttering with kids as an exercise in creativity, connection, patience and letting go. And if you are in deep need, comment here and vent.
Little by little, we’ll get there together!