Today's post is a guest post written by Kim Gellman. Enjoy!
Start your fall home cleaning this year off on the right broomstick, and you can keep your home organized well into spring. Read on for tips from a veteran mom/"family maid" about how to clean your home this season...and keep it that way!
This time of year, as the weather cools, it is time to unpack winter clothes and start storing summer items to make room. Just in case though, select a few favorite summer items to keep in the closet in the event of a warm day. A pair of shorts and a couple of coordinating shirts will be sufficient. Next, look through all the other items in your closet and sort them into three piles: keep, donate, trash.
Pile one: items to keep for next season.
Space bags are a great way to store clothes if the closet's overflowing. For easy access later, grab a sheet of paper and label what is in the bag and place it inside (face out) and then suck up the air in the space bag. These bags can then be placed anywhere out of the way, either under a bed, in the basement, or even in the garage.
Pile two: items to donate and/or consign.
For the pile of items to donate or consign, do so immediately or it will simply be in the way. Give the household members a chance to sort through the pile first though, maybe a younger sibling might want something from her older sister's donate pile? This will help to save on clothing costs, but make sure you don't end up reassigning all the clothes without getting rid of anything. Perhaps tell family members to donate something of their own for every item they take. This process should be kept short, maybe give everyone a day to decide and then bag the donate pile and immediately place it in the car. Once in the car, it will be much easier to remember to drop the items off at Goodwill, a clothing drop-box, or your local consignment shop.
Pile three: items that are stained, soiled or just do not fit anyone in the family correctly.
Now all that's left is the throw-away pile. However, before pitching everything in this stack remember the motto: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Sometimes it can seem that every other item of clothing in a kid's closet, especially after she hits high school, is a t-shirt. And old t-shirts make great cleaning rags! They can also be turned into an eco-friendly shopping bag you can simply throw into the washing machine. Just cut out the front of the shirt sans sleeves, sew together like a bag and cut a strip of material from the shirt to attach at the top for a handle. Also, all those worn, holey jeans can be sewn together as a denim quilt! Be creative!
Remember that every family member in the house can do this with their closets. Perhaps you can offer a quarter for every item the kids recycle, throw away or donate as encouragement to reduce clutter and make space in your home?
But, if it's difficult to keep the closets clean, it's a downright war battle to keep your little tike's room even somewhat organized (or at least looking that way). To cut down on the clutter, here are a few final suggestions.
After laundry day, place coordinating outfits together within easy reach in your child's room, such as in a low dresser. Put items like socks and underwear with the clothes so he can just grab-and-go. Clothing like her Christmas dress, or his suit for church should not reside in the dresser. Instead, store formalwear, or anything to be kept nice, high up in their closet or in yours, if you have the room.
Separate the toys for easy access and organization
For toys, a large, sturdy box is a great place to throw everyday playthings for a quick five minute clean. Make this simple process a part of your child's routine by reminding or helping her pick everything up and put it in the toy box before bed every night. This is helpful because then you both know exactly where the toy is next time little Markie wants to play with it. Items like crayons, paints, Legos, etc. shouldn't live in the toy box however, but instead in small see-through containers. Spend five dollars on a few of these at the dollar store and then label them. To make it easy for the little ones, label with a picture so it's clear what should go in each box. These boxes can then be put on the floor of the closet within easy reach of short people, but out of the way for everyone else.
The clean-up game
During the day, toys can (and will) end up all over the house, not just in the bedroom or family room. Most parents with small children find toys in the bathroom and kitchen too! Make cleaning up this clutter a game for the kids; set the timer and race to finish before the alarm sounds. Play the game anytime the house looks a mess, maybe right before Daddy comes home from work, or when Grandma and Grandpa are on their way to visit. Turn up some music, whatever the kids like, and set the oven timer or alarm clock for five minutes and run around like the wind. You will be amazed how much can be picked up, thrown away, and put away if everyone just focuses at once. The music, the game challenge, and the running will make cleaning fun for kids of all ages. And if the kids are gone, you might try this for ten or fifteen minutes on your own. In fifteen minutes a mom can clean out the dishwasher, put new dishes in, and vacuum the house with time to spare (although it might take a dad slightly longer)!
Anticipate loose ends
All families with small kids, big kids, lots of kids or one kid have a problem with children bringing home notes, artwork, bake sale information and the like, and organizing such items goes a long way to reducing clutter. Have one place in your home, like a lid to a copy paper box, where the kids can place all these items as soon as they bring them home. Make sure to rifle through the box several times a week, to make sure you don't miss the talent show or parent/teacher conference day. Beautiful artwork from little Sami that cannot EVER be thrown away should be placed in a special keepsake box, not here. All other items will eventually be forgotten and will make their way to the bottom. Purge these outdated items from the box roughly once a month. However, when you pitch old artwork or drawings, place them in a bag first or somehow hide it in the trashcan. Your little Picasso always has a way of recognizing her artwork even if it has old mashed potatoes on top, and if you don't do this before tossing, she will drag it out of the can and insist it be put on the fridge or another place of importance. And that's just plain unsanitary!
Good luck! Maybe with a few preparations, fall cleaning this year will last until spring!
In the late 90's Kim Gellman started her business Artistic Sensations.com. Her motto is the one-stop-shop to create your child's dream room. She is a mother of two, and considering that one is a teenager, she's done her fair share of home cleaning. You can find some her ideas for kid's room themes here - http://www.artisticsensations.com/new/bedding/RoomThemesKidsRoomDesign.asp
Article Source: Fall Cleaning - The Mom's Guide to Keeping Your Home Tidy All Season Long