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Spring-cleaning can be fun for the whole family.

It’s never too soon (or too late) to start teaching children about the importance of a good spring-clean. Get the younger ones started on spring-cleaning by assigning simpler tasks that can be completed fairly quickly. Remember that while some things may not get done perfectly, your children will enjoy just being part of the big clean-up. And, as Mary Poppins said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and – SNAP! – the job’s a game.”

For more tips on how to declutter your life, read here.

Finders keepers

Make a “treasure box” from an old cardboard box or a wash basket and send your child to collect items that have rolled under the couch or behind cupboards. You can offer prizes for the explorer who collects the most items.

Musical magic

Nothing gets children moving like a good tune, so why not clean to music? Let them choose the songs and turn your cleaning into a dance-a-thon. You could also set a time limit, and give everyone 10 minutes to clean a particular room. The beat will make the race more entertaining.

Follow the leader

Give each child an apron, gloves, an old cloth and a bottle filled with non-toxic cleaning fluid. Choose a leader and get that child to walk through the house, stopping once they find something that needs cleaning. The others walking behind must stop and help with the same task. Give each child a turn to be in front.

Put them to the test

Try setting up a detective game for older children. Get them to go through your cupboards and fridge to find items that have expired. Also, set them a challenge to arrange your spice rack in alphabetical order, or organise your cereal boxes alphabetically according to their name.

Spring-cleaning sports

If you have hardwood floors, get your children to don old socks that they can use to “skate” on the surface. And, your floors will get a good shine while the children burn off excess energy. Just make sure the area is safe and that they can’t hurt themselves on sharp edges. Maybe even get them to wear head gear. You could also turn your laundry basket or bin into a basketball “hoop”. Your little helpers won’t even realise that each “goal” they score is actually another item that has been picked up off the floor.

Five out, one in

Older children may be reluctant to sort through their cupboards, so offer an incentive that will also enable them to give back to a worthy cause. For every box of clothing or toys they collect and donate to a charity, they will get a new item of clothing or some other reward.

Safety first

It’s not advisable to let younger children work with detergents and other hazardous household cleaners. Instead, opt for everyday items that you can find in your cupboards, such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. Vinegar is a natural deodoriser and can be used as a fabric softener. A vinegar and water spray can be used to clean your countertops and floors, while baking soda can be used instead of chemical scouring agents. Lemon juice is a great cleaner for brass and copper. You could also use non-toxic or green cleaning agents for your spring-clean.

Try these natural cleaners made from everyday household products.

Anél Lewis