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Recently it’s occurred to me that cleaning is one of the few things I haven’t truly taught my kids! Sure, they know some things, but they are not yet accustomed to, “Hey, guys, it’s cleaning day!” I know I’ve dropped the ball on this but seasonal cleaning will help your kids live a better life. Here are some reasons why I know that now is the time:
- Amelia’s drawers are OVERFLOWING with winter clothes. I tried to put them away, but she only put them back. That means she has to do this chore herself.
- A few weeks ago, Zoe made a BIG mess. My husband pulled out the vacuum and I said, “Let her do it! She’s 12, she’s big enough to do this herself.” She loved doing it. She enjoyed it so much that she actually kept re-littering the floor so she could vacuum more!
- Amelia has been fixing her bed herself for YEARS now, first thing in the morning. Sheesh, I don’t even do that!
- She also sweeps but sometimes she’s just pushing the dirt around. I need to show her exactly what to do with the broom.
Teaching Your Kids To Clean
This is one of those areas where I know I’ve over-coddled my children! Kids like doing grown-up things but at their own choosing, so how do you train them properly? I do this the same way I’ve taught them most things:
- Give them small pieces.
Instead of sweeping the whole floor, I’ll give just a small area and show them how to drag all the dirt into on place.
- Do it with them.
Zoe was successful at fixing her bed when we did it together. I even got her to do the details, like straightening blankets, while I watched. The key to this one is to do a little less each time, giving them more responsibility.
- Be consistent.
I dropped the ball with Zoe, thinking she was set with regular bed making before she was ready. I have to get back to doing this daily with her.
- Set the example.
Oh sure, we all know this, but again, I dropped the ball with fixing MY bed daily. She actually is more likely to fix hers when mine is done!
8 Tips To Help With Seasonal Cleaning
Whatever season you are in, there’s nothing better than a fresh, down-to-the-bones seasonal cleaning to detox any old nasty toxins lying around your home. Here are the tips to help you make sure you keep your house clean and free of toxic chemicals.
1. Use DIY And Natural Cleaning Products
I don’t care what products you love, you absolutely need to keep these on hand! They are great in a pinch, excellent to avoid harsh chemicals, great around allergies, and they work. You should stock your home with:
- baking soda
- white and apple cider vinegar
- rock salt
- essential oils, especially lemon and lavender
Isn’t it cool that most of these (but not all!) double as food! In addition, I make sure that I buy cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals to handle anything else. This combination guarantees that no allergies or sensitivities are triggered in my family, and is safe for my cat as well!
2. Natural Fragrance and Odor Fighters
I have sensitivities to nearly any kind of fragrance unless it’s natural. That means I use essential oils, natural odor fighters, and things like simmering flavorful food for my home. I try to wrangle the smells in my home, like airing things out when I’m cooking baking, but some things can’t be helped. After all, if you’re cleaning with white vinegar, your nose may wrinkle. Diffusing essential oils is something we commonly do in my home.
3. Microfiber Cloths
If you’re looking for even more nontoxic solutions, I highly recommend microfiber cloths. Because they clean so deep on a microscopic level, for many brands you don’t even need to use water. They are amazing at getting the grime out of your bathtub and for seasonally cleaning the dust off your molding. You can never have enough of these!
4. Clean Your Air
Seasons give you an opportunity to air out your home. You have lots of options but the best way is to make sure you open the windows, particularly after winter or a rash of family members getting sick. For allergy sufferers who are reluctant to open them, make sure you are opening windows that are not located near pollen- or mold-giving plants and trees. Second-floor windows are perfect!
In addition, you might want to use an air filter that works for both allergies and viruses. Remember to change these out seasonally. If you have a green thumb, use plants to naturally detox your air too! In fact, NASA has a list of 10 plants they recommend for detoxification. Healthy & Natural World has a full list of those plants for your reference.
5. Nontoxic Bug Prevention
I hate bugs, don’t you? I always feel like they are trespassing in my home. And it’s not easy to get rid of them! We’ve recently done battle with ants, which can really mess up your home. The best way to fend off ants is to find the source, find the queen, and kill her. If you can find where the ants are coming from, you can douse that spot with water for a few minutes. We did that about 5 years ago and had NO ants until recently. This year, we saw 100s of them coming through a crack in the pavement and gave it the water treatment. It didn’t instantly clear them up but within 2 days, the ants were gone.
Another natural solution is using baking powder around where the ants gather (or around some bait) so they can track this stuff back to their home and effectively poison them. Again, this may take some time and Borax works a bit better. You can use the same process with Borax for killing cockroaches. Plus, Borax doubles as a laundry detergent!
6. Clean Your Appliances
While seasonal cleaning often means you think of discarding old schoolwork, outgrown clothing, and emptying closets, a more useful use of your time is cleaning appliances. Here’s how:
Leave one whole day for your fridge and make sure it’s right when you are low on nearly everything so that the fridge is less full. I recommend dumping everything that you didn’t make in the last 2 days.
- Washing Machine
I’m embarrassed to admit, but I only recently learned you should clean your washing machine! Run it with baking soda and white vinegar.
- Garbage Disposal
A few years ago, I talked to someone about cleaning the garbage disposal. She was completely stumped! You just need salt and ice cubes down your drain.
Every couple of years, we need the dishwasher serviced because things get stuck in its drain. In the meantime, we buy Tang to clean it out when we notice build up, which helps if you have hard water.
7. Use The Calendar
If you need to teach your child calendar skills, cleaning can be a perfect way to do that! You can sync up your seasonal cleaning with the actual season – or better yet, the month the season starts. You can teach your child that June is the month to box up all the winter clothes and unbox the summer clothes. This can get them both and excited and educated about the change of seasons. In spring and fall, you can help them move around clothes in their drawers to separate long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts, as well as jeans and lighter pants.
8. Cleanse Your Cat’s Litter Box
You don’t need to leave your cat out of the process! You probably clean out the litter box regularly but do it a little more deeply when you seasonal clean, replacing filters if you use any, and thoroughly scrubbing it inside and out to remove any stains and odors. This is a perfect time to use DIY products, since other items can be harmful to your cat, especially any essential oils.
Now is also a great time to make a change to a cleaner odor product. Purina® New TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter. is free of fragrances and dyes, which makes me happy, and uses the power of charcoal to absorb odors. Then its TidyLock® Protection locks away those odors – giving you the clean you need without the smells you don’t want. (In case you’re worried about charcoal and your cat, please note this is activated charcoal and not the stuff in your grill!) Not only that, but TIDY CATS Free and Clean is 99.9% dust free. It has strong clumps for easy cleanup.
TIDY CATS Free and Clean is available in both Traditional Clump and Lightweight and you can purchase both at Target, along with every product I’ve mentioned or showed in this post! Target is our go-to store for soooo many reasons. My kids love it, my husband loves that it features a Starbucks, and I love that it’s so easy to buy non-toxic products and brands. My daughter who is on the autism spectrum is happily accommodated in her Caroline Cart. Plus, using my Cartwheel along with my Red Card saves us so much money!
Going to Target is actually family fun time for us! I shop the bargains, Amelia gets to try on sports gear, and my husband is always looking for the latest gadget while Zoe checks out the “dollar” section.
In an imperfect world, TIDY CATS Free and Clean’s activated charcoal assures me that our cat is as safe as my kids in my nontoxic household. And nearby Target ensures that family shopping outings are affordable, fun, and keep my home clean in every season!