8 Fall Cleaning Ideas (and How to Get the Whole Family Involved)
Autumn is a time of slowing down and preparation. The cold weather begins to return, and many activities move indoors. Because of that, the fall makes for a great time to clean up and declutter the house. Not only will a bit of seasonal sprucing reduce stress and anxiety throughout the home, but it’s also a great time to bring families closer together.
From young toddlers to teenagers, it can take some persuasion to get the entire family to join the cleaning. However, by focusing on autumnal cleaning tasks that engage everyone, the whole family can have fun and pitch in. Thus, here are 8 fall cleaning ideas, and how to get the entire family involved.
1. Make a Schedule and Involve the Family
Fall cleaning is no easy task. Often, many rooms need cleaning, and there is a list of projects a mile long. Add small children into the mix, and chaos ensues.
That’s why a schedule and game plan are so important. Assign everyone appropriate roles to tackle the cleaning together. Not only does this get all hands on deck, but it also helps ensure that your children make productive use of their time.
Create checklists to flesh out your cleaning needs. Go room by room, or break everyone out into targeted tasks. With a big family, this helps your cleaning needs finish early.
Have adults and older kids take care of the more dangerous jobs. This can include:
Cleaning or other tasks using chemicals.
Hauling and getting rid of heavy household items.
Yard work involving dangerous objects (such as sharp tools).
However, there are plenty of other tasks for younger family members. Assign everyone their duties based on their strengths. Task younger children with smaller, achievable goals. Ask them to make a pile of toys or clothes that they don’t use anymore.
Or, ask them to organize their play areas. Make it fun with crafts and personalization. This way, everyone contributes and feels the reward of a freshly cleaned home.
2. Go Green!
Once the cleaning starts, forget the harsh solvents and detergents—that is, unless you have some truly startling cleaning needs, at which point, you may want to consider the professionals.
Instead, go green! By using safe, green solutions, the entire family can join in the cleaning without fear of poisoning or other dangers.
Most green, homemade cleaning solutions use common, household ingredients. For example, cleaning vinegar solutions can handle most surfaces just as well as other chemicals. With equal parts cleaning vinegar and water, you’ve created a basic solution to fight grime and stains. Adding some baking soda can make a scrubbing paste that is safe on most surfaces, but tough on stains.
Don’t forget about your cleaning tools, either. Many items, such as sponges or single-sheet dusters, are poor environmental choices. Instead, use old clothes and socks for dusting and cleaning rags. Have your kids bring some old clothes that they can turn into cleaning gear and tools.
Next, make sure the entire family understands how and what to recycle. Going green starts with making smart, environmental decisions. It is essential to teach this lesson early. It can help your kids understand the importance of avoiding landfills and non-biodegradable materials.
3. Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste
If your fall season cleaning involves any kind of dangerous clean-up, you can still involve the family. Hazardous materials, such as chemicals and construction or renovation debris, are dangerous, and most have specific disposal rules to follow. This is a great time to teach your kids about hazardous material handling.
First, do some research and categorize any hazardous household materials. Involve your children in this process so you can reinforce the dangers of these items. For instance, old paints and automotive fluids are placed in the garage because they are flammable. Wasp spray stays in a high cabinet because it’s dangerous.
Different materials will have different disposal locations and processes. It is illegal to take old tires to landfill in most states. As such, they must go to recycling centers. As well, there is usually a fee to recycle old tires. Other materials, like car batteries or old automotive oil, can go to local mechanic shops for disposal.
Even though waste disposal isn’t a glamorous task, your children need to see its importance, especially to help reinforce the danger of the products.
4. Involve the Kids in Home Projects
Sometimes, a child just doesn’t want to clean. In those situations, provide them with home projects they can do around the house. Base these home projects on their age and interests. For instance:
Teens can paint accent walls in their rooms or throughout the house.
Children can help rake leaves.
Scavenger hunts can help kids declutter and have fun at the same time.
With their own projects, everyone in the family can contribute during the fall cleaning. Plus, everyone needs a break from cleaning now and then.
5. Declutter (and Earn Some Extra Money)
Make this autumn a time to clean those hidden areas like that closet you always keep closed, or the back corner of the attic. Few of us like the idea of cleaning such areas, but some of these piles of clutter could hide unearned money.
This only works with certain items. However, if you find old goods that are still in good condition, they might fetch some extra cash. For example, ThredUp lets you sell vintage or high-quality clothing. Basically, it’s like an online consignment shop. There are many similar online resources to sell your second-hand goods.
Don’t think you can only resell clothes, though. Many have found success simply by getting rid of the stuff they don’t use. This can include:
Unused kitchen appliances.
Jewelry of all kinds.
Branded clothing that you don’t wear.
Old phones, gadgets, or other unused devices.
If an item is garage sale worthy, try an online reselling option first. You may make some cash without hauling your stuff out for a neighborhood driveway sale.
6. Go Crazy With Upcycling
Additionally, combine cleaning and projects for some awesome upcycled items. Like recycling, upcycling takes old things and reuses them, but often with unique and intriguing new uses. Indeed, there is no limit to upcycling.
Upcycling is also a great way to involve children in creating useful items. Turn old candle jars into new storage bins. Or, why not refurbish that old dresser in the basement into some outdoor autumn storage?
You can also combine tasks through upcycling projects. Old cans can become outdoor planters instead of heading to recycling. Turn your extra knife block into a craft caddy for the kid’s craft room.
If you have a need, chances are that you can upcycle a solution out of your old stuff.
7. Make “Donation Day” a Family Event
With sound decluttering strategies, you might have several old items ready for donation. This is a great step to involve the entire family, especially since it can take a bit of work.
Start by organizing all of the items ready for donation. Divide them into their destinations, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Package the items up to make handling easier. Once it’s time, make a day out of it. Take the entire family to each location, and highlight the importance of donation and reselling.
An early introduction to the charity and helping others is essential for young, impressionable minds.
8. Celebrate With the Final Touches
Don’t forget to add the finishing touches once you have decluttered your home and made it like new again. Deploy all of your upcycled projects. Rearrange rooms to accentuate the start of the season. Bring in some new art or plants to add fresh splashes of color around the house.
Most importantly, ask your kids what new touches they want. A new throw rug or curtains can bring a big change to a bedroom or a playroom. And, after taking part in fall cleaning, they might have developed new interests, such as crafts or painting.
Autumn cleaning is a time for the entire family. It provides a great chance to declutter and prepare the home for the new year. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to involve your children in important tasks and life lessons. Remember, not every job should focus on cleaning. In fact, autumn cleaning makes a great time to teach the importance of sustainability and recycling.
As you plan your next big home cleaning session, take these ideas into consideration. Work with your family to create the perfect cleaning plan—and don’t forget to celebrate everyone’s hard work after finishing!