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A Kid-Friendly Approach to Spring Cleaning

April 15, 2024

by ryan majors, guest contributor

As the days grow longer and warmer, you might start feeling like it’s time to declutter, organize, and clean your abode. This year, why not include your children in the annual spring cleaning ritual? Not only are cleaning and organizing essential life skills to teach your kids, but spring cleaning also creates a wonderful opportunity to declutter by way of donation.  

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of engaging your children in the dual rituals of spring cleaning and giving away the things they no longer need.

Prepare for Spring Cleaning

Put a date on the calendar and make sure everyone's schedules are clear. Before you begin spring cleaning, sit the kids down and explain the importance of staying organized. The home is a shared environment, and everyone needs to pitch in so it remains a clean, healthy, and livable space for the entire family. 

You’ll also want to introduce the concept of donation in an age-appropriate way. Explain to young children that there are some kids in the world who don’t have many toys or games and could use the things your child no longer needs. With older children, you can dive a little deeper into issues like poverty and inequality. 

Declutter, Clean, and Sort

Going room by room, perform the following tasks;

  • Declutter: Remove anything you no longer need, want, use, or that doesn’t belong in the space.
  • Put Away: Put away anything that is out of place. Every item should have a home.
  • Organize: Organize closets, drawers, shelves, desks, and other spaces.
  • Clean: Vacuum, mop, dust, and wipe down each room.

Cleaning is not the most exciting chore, but you can inject some fun into the proceedings with a little creativity. Put on a great playlist or challenge your children to compete to see who can gather the most things to donate or how quickly they can clean a space. 

Sort Your Items

As part of the decluttering process, ask your children to sort their possessions into four piles:

  • Keep 
  • Donate
  • Trash
  • Sell 

You can also include an “Unsure” pile they can come back to at the end of the process. It usually helps to pull everything out of drawers, closets, and shelves so your children can make a decision on every individual item. 

If your children are unsure of what to give away, it can be helpful to ask things like:

  • When was the last time you played with this toy or game?
  • When was the last time you wore this item?
  • Does this item fit your life anymore?

Get Your Kids Invested

If you have to drag your kid from room to room and force a mop in their hands, they might not gain much from the experience. Instead, create buy in by helping them understand the importance of cleaning and decluttering the house as a member of the household. 

Give them ownership of their spaces and allow them to choose what to donate and keep. Encourage older children to reorganize their spaces to better suit their needs.

Let Your Kids Participate in the Entire Donation Process

Many children enjoy the idea of giving their toys and old clothes to others in need. To really help them grasp the power of donation, include them in the full process. Let them help fill and label donation boxes. Work together to find the right organization and take your kids with you so they can actually see where their things go. You can also choose charitable organizations that offer free donation pickup. Including kids in the process can be a joyful and fulfilling experience that will make them feel proud of their contribution.  

Make sure to celebrate the process in a way that feels right to you. Maybe that can be a simple thank you to your children for their kindness or a trip to their favorite restaurant.

Turn Spring Cleaning Into a Tradition

Once you’ve done all the hard work of involving your children in the spring cleaning and donation process, keep up the momentum. Turn spring cleaning/donation time into an annual family ritual. After only a year or two, your children will learn to expect the tradition and will already know what to do. As your children grow older, give them more freedom in cleaning, organizing, and decluttering their spaces, and in deciding how they would like to donate their things.

Your annual spring cleaning can become a wonderful way to involve your entire family in the habit of donating and adopting a more giving lifestyle.

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