The chances are your home is less than immaculate towards the end of the summer holidays. After all, kids are many things, but they’re rarely neat and tidy.
This is the worst possible time of year for your home to be messy and dirty. The back-to-school chaos requires organisation and planning, which are difficult when the family home is a mess. So, before you start planning the back-to-school week, you should start planning the back-to-school cleaning.
You’ve probably got your work cut out after a school-free summer, so here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Create a cleaning checklist
Treat this like a spring clean. Homes can get very dirty and messy during school summer holidays, so you’ll need to devote quite a lot of time and energy to cleaning. After all, your kids have been home a lot more than usual, and you’ve been too busy supervising to take care of even the most menial cleaning tasks.
Walk around your home, and make a list of everything that needs cleaning. Look under beds, inside wardrobes, underneath furniture and in all every hidden crevice to identify areas that need detailed cleaning. It’s probably best to do this when the kids are occupied with something (or out of the house completely).
2. Create a cleaning shopping list
After a summer of chaos in your home, the chances are you don’t have all of the cleaning tools you need to get your home back in shape. Using your new back-to-school cleaning checklist, compile a list of all the cleaning agents and tools you’ll need to get your home back in shape.
If you have carpets, you may need to spend quite a bit of time and effort on them. Search for the best vacuum cleaner for carpet in your local electrical stores and online. Ideally, you should choose something that can be reconfigured to perform a wide range of vacuuming jobs. Look for a model with attachments, a motorised brush roll and a handheld, detachable unit.
3. Involve your kids
Why should you be the only one to clean after a summer holiday? After all, your kids probably caused most of the mess and dirt. Assign your children their own cleaning jobs, And link them to treats such as days out and special activities. This doesn’t just lighten your load, it gets your children back into the “working” frame of mind.
4. Make cleaning fun
Children tend to devote more energy and concentration to a job if it’s fun. Look for ways to make cleaning chores more enjoyable and rewarding. You could hold cleaning competitions or races, or use music and TV to make things more bearable. If your children are having fun, you’ll get more cleaning out of them.
5. Ruthlessly Declutter
Most family homes tend to accumulate a lot of clutter over a summer holiday. This makes cleaning more difficult, and it gets in the way of delivering a calm and stress-free back-to-school week. Go from room to room removing clutter. If you have a use for it, find it a permanent home, otherwise sell it, give it to someone in need or donate it to charity.
6. Start from scratch in the fridge
The average family fridge is a disaster area at the end of a long summer. The back-to-school cleaning week is the perfect time to reboot a fridge-freezer in readiness for autumn. Check use-by dates, throw away expired products and make a shopping list filled with healthy, energy-rich foods that will help your children to readjust to life back at school.
Deep clean your fridge using a sanitiser spray or a solution of water and white vinegar. You can remove odours that have been lingering all summer by placing a cup of baking soda at the back of the fridge.
7. Start as you mean to go on
Once you have completed a thorough back-to-school clean, maintenance is the key to a smooth transition. Clean as you go every day, and get everyone in your home to do the same. Create a cleaning rota, and make sure everyone sticks to it — even your children.
A happy, clean and organised home is crucial to a relaxed, stress-free back-to-school week. Start your cleaning a week in advance, and you’ll be able to concentrate fully on your children when the big day arrives.