A Clean Start to the School Year

The wild and reckless days of summer are drawing to an end, and it’s time to send those kiddos back to school. This means it is also time to get back to regular schedules and routines that help juggle the homework, practice schedules and school activities. It is well established that a clean home creates a healthy environment for the family with many benefits; including, reduced allergies, lessening spread of germs and lowering stress. It also creates a conducive atmosphere for learning and growing. Did you know that the cleanliness of one’s home has been linked to the educational attainment and adult earnings of the children in the home? In other words, a clean home now can help put your children on the path to higher educational attainment and wages. It also lowers the parents’ stress and makes it easier for the entire family to relax when you are at home together. During the busyness of the school year, we often let our cleaning duties fall to the wayside, making it easy for parents to fall behind. Rug Doctor has compiled this list of cleaning tips to help you get a clean start to the school year. Get Organized and Stay Organized for Easier House Deep Cleaning The first step to any good cleaning routine is to declutter the area. Clutter can create anxiety and distraction for everyone in the home. Creating a designated place for everything helps prevent clutter from accumulating.
  • Create a folder file for each child labeled with their age and grade. When they bring home drawings, pictures, A+ tests, and other school achievements, the papers first go on the fridge and then they go in the file. This will keep papers from piling up throughout the year, because you don’t want to throw them away, but have no place for them. At the end of the school year, you have a complete file of their school year and fun memories for when they are older.
  • Pick up every night. We know at the end of a long school and work day, the last thing you want to do is clean. But picking up every night prevents a huge clean up later. Make a house rule – no one retires to their room for the night without putting something away. Eventually, it will become habit and your family members will do it without you having to remind them.
  • Create zones for everyday items. Backpacks, shoes, jackets, musical instruments and sports gear tend to get left where they fall. Create designated areas for these items. If you have room in a large hallway or entry way, install cubbies with hooks. If kids have a designated zone to put everything, they are more likely to use it and you can reduce the fall hazard they seem to love to create!
  • Prepare for muddy shoes. Especially in the winter months, you are likely to confront several muddy shoe situations. Designate an entrance for muddy shoes and teach your kids to only use that entrance if they come home with mud on their shoes. Place a rubber doormat outside that entrance, and a washable rug inside the entrance. Put a chair or stool at the entrance where they can sit to remove their shoes. Invest in a boot tray. They are relatively inexpensive, but can save you in headache later. After shoes are removed, they should be placed in the boot tray to dry. You can also place a basket of towels at this entrance. This will be handy when you have to dry off a wet child (or wipe muddy paws).
Delegate Household Cleaning Chores We know you are a super parent that can do everything! But there is no need when everyone in the home can contribute. Bonus: having your kids help with household chores is actually good for them. A study published by the University of Minnesota found that giving children household chores at an early age “helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance.” And according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children who do chores develop skills that can lead to greater success in school, work, and relationships. Divvying up the household chores will make it easier to maintain a clean home. Your child’s assigned chores should be age-appropriate. A quick Google search of “age appropriate chore list” will give you a ton of resources. Create a chore chart for your home and review it with the entire family. List the chores for the adults in the home as well, so your child can see everyone is contributing. As they are learning (for example, how to make a bed), try not to scold, but instruct. Teach them how to properly perform the task and then upon completion give lots of praise. Get Rid of the Old and Outdated The beginning of the school year is a great time to go through your child’s closet, dresser and drawers, and toy box to remove old and outdated items. Getting rid of old, out-grown and outdated items in your child’s room will help declutter their space and make room for new school clothes. It also makes it easier for you and/or your child to pick out clothes each day without being overwhelmed by unusable items. Ask your child to help you determine items to keep, donate or trash. This will give them a sense of ownership over the items they keep and they will be more likely to take better care. Kept items should properly fit and be in good condition. Donations should still be in good condition, but are too small or no longer needed or wanted. Do not donate items that are misshapen, have holes or stains, or are otherwise unwearable. These are trash items. Same rules apply to shoes and toys. Set Up a Deep Clean Schedule There are areas throughout the year that only need to be deep cleaned on an annual or semi-annual basis. These task are usually a little more time consuming, but they are important for maintaining a clean home and for extending the life and look of your home. Put a date on the calendar to deep clean each of these areas and stick to it. Writing the task on a calendar will make it feel more like an appointment and you are more likely to complete it. Spread these deep cleaning chores throughout the year instead of creating one big cleaning event that will be overwhelming. Make sure the task is seasonally appropriate. You don’t want to be cleaning the outside windows in the dead of winter! Here are some areas to consider for your deep cleaning checklist and ideal timing: Carpet and upholstery – clean at least once a year. Many people choose to deep clean their carpets in early November in preparation for entertaining guest during the holiday season. Early spring is also a good time to remove all the yuck that comes with winter. Rug Doctor rents professional grade carpet cleaners that can save you hundreds of dollars compared to hiring a professional service. Checkout our rental page for more information. Windows and doors – clean twice a year. Clean outside, inside, screens, blinds, and all the inside tracks in the early spring and early fall. Cabinet and drawers – clean once a year. Empty each drawer in the kitchen and bathroom. Many time drawers collect random items (looking at you, junk drawer). Trash items that should be trashed and wipe them clean. Wipe down all cabinet faces as well. Outdoor areas – clean once a year. Patios, driveways, decks, fences and outdoor furniture should all be deep cleaned at least once a year. Early summer is a great time to do this in preparation for entertaining outdoors. Rug Doctor rents professional grade outdoor cleaning equipment, too! Check out our outdoor page for more information. Kitchen – deep clean every three months. Obviously, you want to wipe down and clean your kitchen daily, but your kitchen appliances should be deep cleaned on a regular schedule as well. Oven, microwave and fridge should all be deep cleaned regularly. Have a Great School Year Small steps throughout the year can really make a big difference in the amount of effort needed to maintain a clean and healthy home for your family. We hope you and yours have a wonderful school year with great success!