Organize & Sanitize – Spring Cleaning Guide 2012

 

Sunshine, daffodils, warm breezes — Spring is here and while we all want to relish in its beauty there comes a time we all must perform the dreaded spring cleaning duties.

 

Don’t fret! Savvy Kids teamed up with a number of local professionals to get their tips and tricks to spring cleaning and organization. Below is our annual Spring Cleaning Guide.

Organization

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You might look at your child’s playroom, your kitchen, your closet and think there is so much to do; you’re not sure where to start. Nila Ciesiel, Senior Design Consultant for The Closet Factory in Little Rock says the first step to organizing your home is to go room by room. For example, if you’re looking to get your kitchen organized go drawer by drawer, cabinet by cabinet clearing out items you don’t use. “If you break it down into segments, it’s much easier to manage,” Ciesiel explained.

She also explained parents need a lot of storage space. Diapers and wipes, socks and shoes, play clothes and dress clothes—kids have a lot of things that need a place to go. “The key is to use adjustable organization so your shelves and bins can grow with your children,” Ciesiel said. “Once everything has a place, it’s much easier for children to help mom and dad clean up.” Something to consider: hiring a company like The Closet Factory to organize closets may seem pricey on the front end. Adjustable storage systems, manufactured to fit your space, will last you the lifetime of your home and since they are modifiable, you can change and rearrange shelves to fit your needs each year.

Cleaning Services

Let’s face it. Some of us are not going to get on our hands and knees and clean baseboards, or dust behind the refrigerator. When you come to this realization there is only one thing to do: call a cleaning service! Debbie Hoskins, owner of Busy Bees, gave us the dirt on the dirt!

When choosing a cleaning service the first thing to do is assess your needs. Make a list of the things you need done. Some services may offer all of the items on your list as a “basic” cleaning package; however, more detailed services are usually available. By using a service such as Busy Bees, house management services are available. House managers can run errands such as picking up dry cleaning, personal shopping, and help you schedule appointments. “This service provides families with more time together,” Hoskins added.

Hoskins also said to be sure to get a good estimate before committing to anything. Look for services who offer a free consultation.

Debbie’s Tip: To know that you’re not being charged too much, most cleaning services charge around $20 per hour.

Get the Kids to Help

Getting my kids to help clean up can sometimes be more of a hassle than the chores themselves. There is usually a song to sing (“Whistle While You Work,” Dora’s “Clean Up” song, etc.), and occasionally a small bribe to get the crew to work.

While I catch myself thinking “the house would already be clean if I just did it myself” I know that when you’re four, everything has a lesson. Assigning chores to our kids teaches them to be responsible. They smile with pride when they’ve accomplished the tasks at hand and learn to appreciate their things so much more (and if they always have to clean up their messes they might make fewer messes throughout the day).

The key to assigning chores is to understand what your child is capable of handling. You shouldn’t ask a preschooler to unload the dishes from the dishwasher when they can’t even reach the cabinets. That’s just frustrating for everyone! Parents should also remember that while your kids are capable to doing many chores they may not know how until you show them. To the right are some age appropriate chores your children could help with.

Ages 2-3:

  • Help make the bed.
  • Pick up toys and books.
  • Take laundry to the laundry room.
  • Help feed pets.

Ages 4-5:

  • Clear and set the table.
  • Dust
  • Help out in cooking and preparing food.
  • Carrying and putting away groceries.

Ages 6-8:

  • Take care of pets.
  • Vacuum and mop.
  • Take out trash.
  • Fold and put away laundry.

Ages 9-12:

  • Help wash the car.
  • Learn to wash dishes.
  • Help prepare simple meals.
  • Clean the bathroom.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Operate the washer and dryer.

Ages 13-17:

  • Wash windows.
  • Clean out refrigerator and other kitchen appliances.
  • Prepare meals.
  • Prepare grocery lists.

Helpful Tips:

#1 Even if your kids are old enough to take caution when using cleaning chemicals, consider buying all-natural cleaning products instead. Many brands carry all-natural lines these days making it just as affordable, but much safer for your loved ones.

#2 Once you assign chores and show your children how to do them, take them shopping and let them pick out their own cleaning supplies. Using fun new supplies of their choosing will make cleaning up more fun!

Nila’s Tip: When switching seasonal wardrobes in your closet, hang everything with the hanger’s hook facing you. As you wear the items, hang them back in your closet with the hanger’s hook facing away from you. At the end of the season you will be able to quickly see what items you didn’t wear and could donate to a charity for someone else to use.

Where to Take the Stuff You Cleaned Out

As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. As you’re getting rid of items you no longer need/want/use, don’t throw them out, donate the items to local non-profits so that your unwanted items can benefit other families. While there are a number of non-profit organizations accepting donations, we narrowed down the list a bit and hope you will consider donating your items to one of these organizations.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas has partnered with Savers to open a Donation Center, 1125 South Broadway in Little Rock. The organization receives funds from the items collected through the donation center, which are sold through Savers, to support their mentoring programs. Donations of clothing, shoes, accessories, furniture, appliances, and more are accepted. For more information visit bbbsca.org.

My Favorite Thrift Store

My Favorite Thrift Store, benefiting Our House, an organization helping the working homeless, has two locations: 4606 JFK Blvd. in North Little Rock and 1009 N. Van Buren in Little Rock. If you would like to donate directly to the store, they are accepting clothes, furniture, electronics, jewelry and household items. Be sure to indicate to the store staff that you are donating on behalf of Our House. For more information visit ourhouseshelter.org.

The Arc Arkansas

The Arc Arkansas provides support, housing, education and leadership to people with disabilities and their families. The Donation Center is one of The Arc Arkansas’s primary funding sources and helps subsidize the many programs and services offered. Donations of clothing, bedding, shoes and other household items are accepted. The donated items are in turn sold to Savers Thrift Stores. Unusable cloth items are sent for recycling. For more information visit arcark.org.

Civitan Services

Civitan provides services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The Civitan Shoppe, 409 S. Reynolds Rd. in Bryant, accepts a variety of new and previously used items including house wares, electronics, clothing, toys, furniture, home decor, seasonal decorations, books and more. For more information visit civitanservices.com.

We bet you have some great ideas for organizing and cleaning your home with you kids! Let us know below!