Some people are excellent cleaners. They just can’t stand clutter or gunk and do they do something very effective about it. Other people have trouble keeping things as clean as they want. I fall into the later category so I am happy to have Matt Paxton, who has made a career out of cleaning the dirtiest, most-shocking and stomach-turning houses in the world, share some of his summer cleaning tips with us today. You may know Matt Paxton as the star of Lifetime’s “Hoarders” but he is also an author, speaker, husband and father of three. Here are some of his summer cleaning tips to help you keep things beautiful and organized.
5 Summer Cleaning Tips
Summer is the time for fun and with 3 boys under the age of 5 it means our house gets messy. Unfortunately for my kids, their dad cleans the messiest houses in America. So in our home we try to make cleaning up, part of the fun.
We have a few basic rules in our home that help us keep the home organized, minimize parental anxiety and leave space and time for the boys to fully enjoy the summer.
- #1 – ALL toys and supplies have a home. If you don’t have a proper space for the item than it doesn’t fit in the home. The “home” doesn’t have to be perfect, but it must exist.
- #2 – When an activity is done, completely cleanup the activity and put ALL items in their “home.” This includes putting Legos back in a storage container, books back on the shelf and cleaning up and putting away art supplies.
- #3 – New activities can NOT start until all items from the previous activity are put away.
- #4 – Be FIRM on rules #’s 1, 2 and 3. Enforcing the rules builds repetition and structure. The first few days might be difficult, but once the kids get used to the consistency it becomes habit. We don’t encourage rewards for cleaning up because the next activity is the reward, but we do take away the items if they start a new activity without cleaning up previously activity. BE FIRM early as it will quickly become habit.
- #5 – 10 Minute Sweep. Each night, the entire family cleans the kid’s rooms for 10 minutes. Cleaning is something we do every night just like bathing, brushing teeth and washing faces. We do it together as a family and simply help the kids place all the items back into their “home.” It’s good for the kids to see everyone cleaning together and the nightly routine builds the skillset of cleaning. Keeping it under 10 minutes makes it manageable for kids and parents and it creates a fun race like atmosphere.
If you are starting on the first day with a bigger mess, give kids specific numbers of items to cleanup instead of giving a general statement. Being asked to pick up 5 books and 3 pairs of shoes is much more mentally attainable than “go clean your room.”
Most importantly, have fun with the cleaning and participate. I know you are just as tired as the kids, but relax and put down the phone. The focused structure sets a positive tone before bedtime and creates a clean pallet for the kids to mess up again in the morning. Remember, a mess is a short term inconvenience, but kids not knowing HOW to clean for themselves can become a long term problem. Cleaning up through the day and taking 10 minutes at night to clean will help your toys last longer, create positive family time and build long term skill sets.
I hope you found Matt Paxton’s summer cleaning tips as useful as I did! I think these are some great cleaning habits to make standard! You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook for more great cleaning tips.