Fall Home Cleaning Projects Provide Teachable Moments for Your Kids

As summer shifts into fall, the kids return to school and you settle in for whatever the season brings.

For many of us, this means tasks around the house. Including the children in home cleaning will provide you with plenty of opportunities for teachable moments.

Whether you plan to clean from floor to ceiling or just do a few little things, you can use some of your fall projects to educate your kids about a variety of topics.

Cleaning Out Drawers

One task that many parents face with disdain is cleaning out drawers. However, you can use this project as a wonderful way to introduce young children to sorting and counting. Learning to group “like” things together is an important aspect of developing math skills.

For older kids, cleaning out drawers helps to sharpen organizational skills as they must decide how to store their clothing in an orderly fashion. Parents might offer suggestions or reinforce the choices their kids make when cleaning out drawers.

Raking Leaves

Teaching kids about how work pays off will put them on the road to work success in the future. One fall project that demonstrates how to have fun and get results from hard work is raking leaves.

Kids of all ages can join in. Parents can assign “jobs” depending on the kids’ ages. You can teach about taking responsibility for their jobs, the importance of cooperation, and the pride of getting the desired results from your work.

While you’re raking leaves, feel free to educate your children about what happens to plants and animals when the weather starts cooling down. Ask questions about what they’ve studied in school that may relate to what you’re doing or to the changes that occur during fall.

Rearranging Furniture

Including your children in this home project will provide plenty of teachable moments.

Have a simple measuring tool, such as a sewing tape measure, that can be easily manipulated by little fingers. Assign jobs of measuring furniture width, height and depth to the kids. These jobs pertain to all types of subjects: math, algebra and maybe even geometry.

Encourage your children to visualize how the room will look with certain furniture placed in various ways. If it’s their own room, ask them what arrangement they’d like most. Then, discuss how and whether their plans will work.

If you like, you can even have the kids sketch out their floor plans on graph paper as a simple introduction to design and engineering. Of course, you’ll want to show the kids about cleaning before you place furniture in its new space.

Cleaning the Garage

In cleaning the garage, as in any task around the house, you can talk about a positive quality that your child has and reinforce their efforts.

Also, encouraging your kids to think of “green” ways to re-use or recycle items you no longer want provides a fantastic way for them to learn about reducing your family’s carbon footprint.

Discuss local charities and swap meets where you can take items you don’t want. You’re educating your children about those charities and why they’re necessary. Also, you’re teaching about the social agencies your community has to offer.

Including your kids in your seasonal tasks may take a little more time and effort on your part. However, they’ll grow up loving to learn if you infuse education into working around the house. Increase your children’s chances for success by using fall home projects to provide teachable moments.

Organize Your Home Today

A clutter-free and organized house is an admirable goal!

You can successfully manage your belongings and turn your home into the sanctuary you seek with these suggestions:
1. Gather three or four cardboard boxes to use as sorting containers. Then, grab a pen and paper and do a walkthrough of your home.
2. Focus on one room at a time. Right now, don’t concern yourself with the entire house – just the room you’re in.
3. Make notes. As you look around the room, make notes about areas needing better organization. You’re compiling a task list.
• For example, maybe you have clothing and books piled on a chair and want the chair to be clear of all items. Record this in your notebook.
• If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of straightening the entire room, focus on just one wall or corner of the room. Confidently tell yourself you’ll eventually get through the whole room. Right now, though, you only have to think about this wall or corner.

4. When can you start? Determine when you can begin the de-cluttering and re-organizing process. Ideally, start as soon as you complete your list. If that doesn’t fit with your schedule, find a block of time each day to tackle listed tasks.
• For example, if you have an extra thirty minutes before leaving for work, make that time count by completing one or two tasks on your task list.
5. Plan your process. Once you’ve scheduled the time to take action, you can decide how to go about organizing the room.
• The first method is to follow your list from top to bottom. Begin with the first item you noted and work on that particular task.
• Using the piled chair example, remove items and put them away until the chair is clear. Hang up clothes or place them in the laundry bin or in drawers. Put books on shelves or your desk. Then, go to the next item on the list.
• The second method is to prioritize the areas and tasks you listed by numbering them in the order of importance. Start your work with the task you prioritized as #1 and continue on down the list.
• Regardless of the method selected, take a garbage can or bag into the room before you start. You’ll no doubt find items you no longer need and wish to discard.
• Complete your listed tasks one by one. Don’t start on the next task until you’ve finished the one you’re on.
6. Keep at it. If you think you’ll become distracted, set a timer (on your watch or cell phone) and vow to continue organizing the room until the timer sounds.
7. A place for everything. You might notice some items that don’t have a specific storage spot. Designated storage places are important to being organized.
• Knowing the location of something is far more efficient than having to look all over the house or in every drawer.
• Place these belongings in a cardboard box labeled “Need a storage place.” You’ll get to these items later.
8. Label your boxes and begin sorting. Label one box “Donate” for items you want to give to your local charity. Designate another box “Unsure” for items you aren’t sure you want to keep. Use these sorting strategies to organize and dispose of belongings you no longer want.
9. When you’ve completed all listed tasks, the room is organized. It’s time to find storage solutions and space for the items in your “Need a storage place” box.
• Store similar items together.
• Feel free to place items no longer wanted into your “Donate” box.
• Throw away belongings you no longer need if they can’t be donated.
10. Follow through with every room. Now that you’ve organized the first room of the house, apply these steps for each room one at a time. Your goal is to find a place for all belongings and donate or throw away items you don’t want to keep.
• When your “Donate” box is full, take it to a local charity.
The path toward organizing your home leads you through many challenges. Following these steps will help you achieve your goal of having a clutter-free and organized home. When you’re done, you can relax and bask in the sanctuary you’ve created!