March 20th was the official first day of spring, though it certainly doesn’t feel that way! But even if you’re seeing more snowflakes than flowers right now, you don’t have to wait till it’s warm to embrace the new season. This year, try thinking about spring cleaning less as a to-do list item and more as a self care strategy for the whole family. Starting from the inside and working out, changes the way you experience the world. Help your home feel fresh and make space for new things to blossom.
1.Start with Mental Spring Cleaning
Before you get to work on your house, spend some time on yourself! After long winter months cobwebs can form in your mind as well as your closets. As Darling Magazine says, “In the same way we fall into messy physical habits that need to be cleaned up, we can just as easily fall into habits of thought that leave our mental well-being neglected and in need of some extra care.” To find new focus, first take inventory of your mental blocks so that you can move past them.
Make De-cluttering a Family Affair
You’re not the only one with excess stuff. Rather than trying to sneak old items out of your kids room, introduce your kids to the KonMari method. Cleaning guru Marie Kondo suggests helping them purge by thinking in reverse.
“Don’t decide what to get rid of, only decide what to keep. You and your family should 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.”
Kondo recommends creating a “Hall of Fame” for favorite books that you return to again and again. “When we are overloaded with books or other objects, our ability to receive and appreciate new information is dulled. The space in your home that you create after you tidy your books allows more information to come to you at just the right time”.
Entice your kids to clean out their closets by making an event out of it. Education.com recommends encouraging your kids to put on a fashion show. They’ll have a blast modeling their favorite pieces and will have no trouble deciding which ones are “so last season”.
Roll up the Rugs
It’s a simple idea that can make a big impact. When it’s cold there’s nothing cozier than warm rugs but as Houzz points outs “Bare floors can be a treat to toes after the heavy socks and woolen carpets of winter.” Plus, carpet-less floors are much easier to keep clean!
DIY Cleaning Products
Once you’ve decluttered and cleared surfaces, keep things fresh with chemical-free cleaners. Live Simply has experimented with all types of homemade recipes and shares her favorites for vinegar and castile soap all purpose cleaners. You can whip up both in much less time than a grocery store run.
Make Cleaning Fun
If you do it right, family cleaning night doesn’t have to feel so different from family game night! Try out a few of these ideas and watch your kids act much more cheerful about chores.
Go Skating for Dust Bunnies: Have your children wear old pairs of socks and “skate” around the house collecting dust bunnies with their feet. See who can accumulate the largest dust bunny. Be sure to collect all of your dust bunnies in a trash bag as you go along so they don’t hop back onto the floor! Kids love this silly and energizing game that gets their hearts pumping and promotes agility and muscle fitness. (via Education.com) To really get in the game, buy a family set of mop slippers, above.
Musical Chores: Give your kids a specific task to get done by the end of a song. If they finish beforehand they can use the extra time to dance! (via Parents)
Follow the Leader: Give each child an apron and tuck an old rag or towel and a squirt bottle filled with a non-toxic cleaning fluid into the pockets. The designated leader must walk through the house and make multiple stops to clean or put away an object and the rest of the group must follow suit. Switch leaders every five minutes. (via Education.com)
Organize with Matching Bins
After clearing and cleaning, bring visual coherence to your space with a set of cute containers. Each kid can have their own pattern and each room it’s own type to make clear where items live. Practice what you preach by returning things to their rightful place and your kids will learn to do the same.
Wake up your senses with a fresh fragrance. A coconut candle is all you need to make winter will feel like forever ago. Candles from Target
Bring Greenery Indoors
Flowers are always nice but planting an herb garden with your kids is a real growth opportunity. Reann Kelly’s tin can herb garden is stylish yet simple to make and you can easily add to it if your kids want to expand their plant collection. Once the herbs get going, you can teach your little ones how to use them in simple recipes, or even about their medicinal values. Check out Learning Herbs for lots of great info.
Do Some Birdwatching
Offer a feast to feathered friends by hanging a bird feeder outside of your kitchen window. Your kids can practice their observation skills and learn about seasonal migration by keeping an eye on which birds visit. A cleaned nut can is easily upcycled with the addition of a twig and some twine. Find the how to in our book, Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun.
Make Space to Daydream
Designate an area for new ideas to enter by building an A-frame tent. This sweet design from Cakies functions indoors and out. You’ll be ready for the first “real” day of spring, and in the meantime your kids can enjoy some living room camping.