Tips to Clean Your Home As a Team

Family Hands Intertwined - Cleaning House as a Team.

How to Clean Your Home as a Family Team.

Tips to Clean Your House and Getting the Whole Family Involved

Generally speaking, when you think of a “household”, you tend to think of a house and everything in it, the furniture, people, pets, automobiles, etc., everything under the roof and on the premises.

But cleaning doesn’t consist of grabbing the nearest water hose and hosing everything down, under and around the house. (Though I’ve considered it once or twice when my kids were little!)

To me, it seems reasonable that when it’s time to clean around the house, every person who lives there (as long as they are old enough to help) should pitch in and help with the chores. Of course, if you have younger children you will give them age appropriate chores to do.

I know, it’s easy to give tips and advice and it all looks good on a web site. But I’ve been there and lived through it. Let me help you get the cleaning under control so you can sit and relax and enjoy your day.

Let’s go over a plan to get the kids involved, and get your house spick and span!

How to Get the Whole Family Involved in Cleaning House

Just as the family automatically feels they are part of a family vacation, they should have the same sense of attachment to keeping the house clean.

Consider the size and ages of all family members; with the exception of toddlers under 3 years old, that are capable of helping in some small way or even assuming responsibility for major tasks.

How to Teach Kids to Clean

Teaching young children to clean up at an early age is an important life skill that helps them develop responsibility, organization, and a sense of pride in their environment. Begin early with training kids to be responsible about their toys, their clothing and health habits like brushing their teeth twice a day. For example:

  • Dirty clothing needs to be taken into the laundry room.
  • Dirty dishes need to be taken into the kitchen and placed on the counter or in the sink.
  • Candy wrappers, apple cores, and the like need to be put in the garbage.

Be a Role Model

Children often learn by seeing what the adults around them are doing. If they see you maintaining cleanliness and cleaning up after yourself, they are more likely to imitate your behavior. Sometimes, cleaning alongside your child can be more effective than giving instructions. It shows them that everyone contributes to keeping the house clean and this also provides an opportunity for you to guide and teach them.

Create and Establish Routines

Establish a regular cleaning routine such as cleaning up before bedtime or allocate a specific day of the week for more thorough cleaning. Assign different cleaning tasks to different family members on a rotating basis. This can help your child to understand that cleaning is a shared responsibility.

Clearly Communicate Expectations

Explain why it’s important to keep things clean and organized, emphasizing the benefits for them and the family.

Start with Easy Cleaning Chores

Kids may feel overwhelmed by a big mess and how to go about cleaning up that mess. Break the cleaning process into smaller, manageable chores. For instance, start with picking up toys, then move on to organizing books, and so on.

Label Where Things Belong

For young children, use visual aids as this can be very helpful for them to know where to put things. Use labels or pictures on bins and shelves to show where items belong.

Make a Game of Cleaning

Turn cleaning into a game with fun activities. Set a timer and challenge them to see how quickly they can tidy up a specific area. You could also create a cleaning scavenger hunt, where they need to find and put away certain items.

Be Patient and Use Positive Feedback

Praise and rewards can be a great way to motivate kids to help with the cleaning process. Acknowledge their efforts and achievements with positive words, stickers, or a small treat. Be patient and remember that learning to clean is a skill that takes time and avoid getting frustrated if things aren’t perfect at first.

Encouraging Older Kids to Clean

Encouraging teenagers to clean can sometimes be more of a challenge due to their growing sense of independence and priorities. Allow them to adapt the cleaning routine to their schedule as long as chores are completed. This gives them a sense of control and responsibility and if chores are not completed there are consequences such as no movie night with friends.

If your older kids are tech-savvy, consider using apps or shared digital calendars to keep track of cleaning schedules and responsibilities. Encourage them to take ownership of their space and to keep their rooms straightened, presentable and clean.

If they are responsible for cleaning and maintaining it, they’ll feel a greater sense of pride and accomplishment and they probably don’t want their parents coming in and “snooping” around. So it should be even more important for them to personally keep their rooms and belongings in good shape.

Moms, Dads and Other Adults

Your spouse, significant other, and other adults in the household surely don’t have to be told to clean up after themselves. But sometimes, gentle reminders are required. If your spouse consistently ignores his socks, t-shirt or something else that is laying around, don’t let his neglectful ways get under your skin.

Too often the primary house cleaner will go around picking up after other family members and smoldering underneath all the while. Don’t let your irritation build until you pop off and lose your cool. Remind them as often as needed, be consistent, tell them to “pick up after themselves!”

Assuming the home is picked up to your satisfaction, you probably will have to take responsibility for de-cluttering, dusting, polishing, organizing, mopping, and vacuuming yourself. But, these jobs should not fall on one person’s shoulders. Good leaders delegate responsibility.

You can assign tasks to everyone in the household and make them responsible for seeing to it that their jobs are done, and done well. This also helps them “buy into” the concept of being part of the family and a valuable member of the household.

De-Cluttering Shared Spaces in the Family Home

Even if everyone in the house picks up after him or herself, there will still be some things left awry. Delegate the job of de-cluttering to one family member, changing up the family member whenever another de-cluttering session is in order.

In the beginning, the individual will need to be taught how to de-clutter effectively and efficiently so that it doesn’t become an all day chore. If they learn the tricks early, the lessons will stay with them the rest of their lives.

So how do we declutter rooms? Take an empty container (paper box, laundry basket, large paper or plastic bag) into each room:

  • Look for any items that do not belong in the room and place them in the container.
  • If it’s garbage or trash, it goes into the bag to be thrown into the trash can or recycle bin.
  • If it is something that is just out of place and belongs in a different room, put it in the box or basket.
  • Books need to returned to book cases, DVDs should have a home, magazine straightened, and electronic devices put up and out of the way each night and so on.

As each “family” room is de-cluttered, take the contents in the box and see that they are put away in the rooms or storage areas where they belong.

Dusting and Polishing

If you’re training another member of the house to help with dusting and polishing, gather the supplies you need:

  • Clean soft rags for dusting (one for polishing)
  • Spray or liquid polish for surfaces and rags
  • Tote for carrying

Put them in a container that you can take from room to room. This helps by keeping the supplies convenient for access and helps you remember not to leave them behind. You might forget where they are and spend precious time retracing your steps.

All the family rooms should already be clutter-free, so after giving the furniture, hearths, table tops, wood railings, all flat surfaces a good dusting, you can apply polish and buff the surfaces to a nice, clean shine.

Vacuuming and Mopping Floors

It makes more sense to vacuum before you mop because vacuuming stirs up dust. If you’ve damp mopped and polished your hardwood floors, then vacuum a strip of carpet in close proximity, you will see lint and dust particles settle onto the clean hardwood floors.

So, vacuum and/or sweep those surfaces first. Have someone help you move heavier furniture away from the walls so that you can get behind sofas and easy chairs and really give the carpets a good cleaning. Moving furniture out of the way to vacuum under them should be done at least once every six months, you’d be amazed at how much dust, dander and the like can accumulate under furniture and don’t forget to vacuum under the bed.

After the carpets have been vacuumed, then use a damp sponge mop, a sh-mop, or whatever you prefer to damp mop your hard surfaced floors. In no time, these household tasks are completed and your whole home will be shining and smell clean.

Additional Cleaning Tips

We’ve gone over some of the bigger chores but here are some things that should be cleaned that often get forgotten:

  • Vacuum vents
  • Vacuum mattresses
  • Vacuum drapes
  • Dust light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Clean the dishwasher
  • Cleaning the washer and dryer
  • Wash shower curtains
  • Washing washable rugs
  • Cleaning the blinds

Don’t Get Discouraged

Remember, the goal is to have the whole family help with cleaning. There are ups and downs and not everybody will pull his or her own weight. Just keep encouraging your “helpers”; whether that be your children, your spouse, roommate, whomever, to keep helping.

Related Articles:

Cleaning the Washer and Dryer
Washing Washable Rugs
Cleaning Blinds
Cleaning Checklists