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The end of summer can be a busy time for a lot of people. The end of the season means schools and other programs will be back in session. It is the best time to declutter and prepare your home for the busy school year and the start of fall ahead. Take advantage of these (slightly) less stressful, early school year days and get to work while your kids are out of the house. Providing a clean, clutter-free, and safe environment will help your family thrive and succeed. Use this end-of-summer cleaning list to help prepare yourself and your family for the chaos of a busy season.

Cleaning is so much easier when there is less clutter. The first step is to declutter your home. Before you get started, create three designated areas: keep, donate, trash. When evaluating each item, keep these definitions in mind:

  • KEEP – I will use this item again soon and have adequate space to store it until needed.
  • DONATE – I will likely not use this item again anytime soon, but it is in good or like new condition and may be useful to someone else.
  • TRASH – I cannot use this item again because it is broken, torn or otherwise irreparable. DO NOT DONATE TRASH ITEMS!

Start your end-of-summer cleaning list by decluttering these four areas: closets, toyboxes, pantry, and entryway/mudroom.

  1. Clean your Closets

    Start in the kids’ room and clean out clothing items they have outgrown. You may want to purchase plastic tubs with lids to store clothes you are going to keep for smaller children or out of season clothes you can store until later use. Donation items can go in a large trash bag. Do not donate torn or stained clothing. Don’t forget to sort through their shoes as well. Take note of seasonal clothing that the child may outgrow before the season comes around again and go ahead and get it out of there! This way you can easily see items your child can still wear, and what they may need. It also makes room for all the new school clothes you just purchased. Your closet is next. Be honest with yourself and really get rid of things you will never wear again. It may be hard to part with items now, but when you see your closet clean and less full, you will feel better.

  1. Purge the Toybox

    It may not seem like it now, but the holidays are right around the corner and you will need some toybox space. Utilize the time your child is in school to prepare their toybox for a major decluttering. Getting rid of personal toys is usually a tough task for kids. We have all been there. Pick up a toy that your child has not played with in years and mention something about giving it away; all of a sudden, it becomes your child’s FAVORITE TOY EVER! Take advantage of them being out of the house to sort through the toy box first. Remove broken or damaged toys and put them in the trash (or recycle if possible). Sort all the toys that have been outgrown or neglected and put them aside. When your kid gets home from school, go through the items with them. This will make them feel like they are a part of the decision-making process and will cut down on the drama. Let them pick out three things to keep no questions asked. Beyond that, let them know they will have to explain why an item is special to them and present a compelling argument as to why they should get to keep it. Listen with an open mind. Don’t rush their decision making, rather help them organize their thoughts and emotions. Explain how they are helping others by donating the toys they don’t need or use. Here is a neat tip from for items your kid is having a hard time parting with: Take a picture of the toy or clothing, print it, frame it and hang it in the room. This way the child will always see and remember it and there will be no hard feelings.

  1. Clear the Pantry

    If you had food items in your pantry that made it through the summer, they will likely not be eaten. Most kids tend to clear the pantry for you while they are at home. Consider donating canned and dry goods to your local food bank. Anything that is expired or rotten, toss it. Do not donate expired food! Since you are clearing the pantry out, this would be the perfect time to organize and make it easier for you and the kids to find what you are looking for. Check out these tips for back-to-school pantry organization.

  1. Tidy the Entryway/Mudroom

    If this area is still housing summer shoes and toys, clear them out. Either donate or store summer items and make space for backpacks and sporting/band/dance equipment. Get some baskets and bins for shoes and other small items. Invest in some hooks for your kids to hang their backpacks, hats, scarfs, and jackets. It’s easier to keep up with things if they have a designated spot. Not having to look all over the house for shoes while you are trying to get out the door will also reduce your morning stress. Here is a great blog on how to organize your entryway for back-to-school success.

  1. Deep Clean Neglected Areas

    Now that we got all the unwanted stuff out of the way, it’s time to deep clean areas of the home that may have been neglected or heavily used over the summer. Use our top 5 back-to-school cleaning list below or make a list of your own. It is easier and more efficient to work from a project list.

    • Dust everything.Clean cobwebs and dust from ceilings and air conditioning vents. Your air conditioner has been working hard to keep you cool while little ones are running in and out. Help it out by cleaning dust from the vents. Don’t forget about the ceiling fans, shelves and other high-reach areas.
    • Clean windows and walls.Little summer hands have been all over the house. Use glass cleaner to remove fingerprints from windows and walls.
    • Clean upholstery with a portable carpet cleaner.Lazy days mean extra time snacking in front of the television. Your upholstery has probably been hit hard this summer. Use a spot cleaner with an upholstery solution to deep clean your sofa and chairs. We recommend the Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner. It is a powerful little machine that removes stains, odors, and pet messes!
  1. Deep clean carpet and area rugs with a carpet shampooer.

    Your carpet and area rugs probably took the biggest beating this summer. Give them a refreshed look and remove all the dirt, dust, odors, stains, and allergens that have collected over the summer with the Rug Doctor Pro Deep Carpet Cleaner. We recommend using with Rug Doctor Oxy Carpet Cleaner for best results. Find a rental location near you with our rental locator.

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