Most of us like the idea of occasionally “spring cleaning,” clearing our houses of clutter and downsizing where appropriate. But it’s a lot of work for a single individual to do. It’s much more efficient to get the entire family involved, multiplying the number of helping hands actively participating in the project and helping you get things done in less time.
The problem is, most families aren’t naturally motivated to do this. So what steps can you take to get everyone involved?
Set a Date
First, set a date for your spring cleaning project as far in advance as possible. Nobody wants to wake up on a Saturday morning when they plan on relaxing only to be met with surprising obligations. If you talk about the spring cleaning project months in advance, nobody has any excuses and everybody should be ready to clean on that day.
You can also spend the weeks leading up to your target date getting the house ready for a group cleaning. That could mean sectioning off the house into different segments, getting organized, or just setting a list of goals that you want to achieve.
One more important note for this section is that spring cleaning doesn’t have to take place in spring only. Summer, fall, and even winter are also perfectly acceptable seasons for decluttering your house and making it look like new again.
Get Everything You Need
As the day of your spring cleaning family project approaches, make sure you get everything you need. If you have all the supplies on hand, and you have tools to make the job easier, your family members are going to be much more incentivized to participate.
· A dumpster. Depending on how much stuff you want to clean out, you may benefit from renting a dumpster. Dumpsters are quick and easy to rent, they’re not very expensive, and they can allow you to get rid of massive amounts of junk in one go.
· Organizational tools. It may be a good idea to invest in new organizational tools so you can more effectively organize the items you want to keep. That could include new drawers, cabinets, shelves, hooks, and any other storage options you can think of. Anything that helps you maximize available space and declutter could be an asset.
· Gloves and goggles. Depending on the intensity of your cleaning, you may need to invest in gloves and goggles to stay safe and clean during your project.
· Cleaning products. It’s also a good idea to invest in new cleaning products. This way, you’ll be able to clean the house from top to bottom.
· Additional help. Even if you get everyone in your family involved, your project may be too big for you to handle. So, consider bringing on new helpers, such as extended family members, neighbors, or friends.
When you first bring up the subject to your family members, anticipate some excuses – especially if you have young kids. Make sure you anticipate these excuses and have a response for them. Instead of bullying your family members into participating, try to make it as attractive as possible for them to participate. For example, you may be able to motivate your kids by giving them an allowance bonus or by giving them special privileges for the day.
Your cleaning project is going to be much more fun and engaging if you have exciting music playing in the background. Put together an energizing playlist that everyone in your family can enjoy and play it on the best speakers you have while everyone is tackling their individual jobs.
Turn It Into a Game
Gamification is a popular strategy for a reason: it works. Try to organize your spring cleaning efforts in a way that allows your family members to be competitive and strategic. For example, you can put together a list of dedicated goals for each individual family member and offer a reward to the family member who completes all their goals first. Or you can use a timer to challenge your family to complete cleaning of a specific room in the span of 30 minutes.
You may be eager to get the job done as quickly as possible, but that’s no excuse to push the project on your family members or force them to work at the pace you want them to work. If you’re too aggressive on this front, everyone is going to end up tired and cranky. Instead, make the time to take frequent breaks. Even short breaks for snacks and jokes can lighten the atmosphere and prevent people from getting too fatigued.
Whether you realize it at the time or not, cleaning the house together is a good way to bond with your family – but you can solidify those bonds to be even stronger if you spend time celebrating and rewarding yourselves together afterward. Consider going out to dinner with your family afterward, or getting takeout and eating on the floor. Whatever you do, try to make the occasion special and relax after all the hard work you put in.
If you follow these strategies, you should be able to get your family actively involved in spring cleaning, even if they’re initially reluctant to start. Keep experimenting with new strategies to keep them engaged – and keep your momentum going.