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 then 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 – No New Activities Until Old Activities Been Put Away.
HaveNew 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.
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Alyssa @ Sweetly Tattered says
I am terrible to cleaning and keeping things tidy. These are great tips though! I’m going to try the ten minute a night cleaning and getting better homes for the toys!
I really need to try ALL of these tips. It looks like a bomb went off in my house.
Melissa Pezza says
Thanks for these great tips. I have three kids, so I definitely need to use them.
Amber Edwards says
I was always so strict with rules #1, 2, 3 when my boys were little. And it made an amazing difference in our home. I have become lax with our daughter and you can definitely tell a difference. I need to get back into following these tips.
I love the idea of a 10 minute sweep before bed! That is an awesome idea! Our house is really small so I try to keep it clean.
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
I need these tips in my life, My house is a MESS.
Kelly Hutchinson says
When the kids were younger, I was pretty strict on the first 3 rules. Now that they are teens, I have slacked on them.
Ann Bacciaglia says
I need to enforce the cleaning rules in my house. With two teenagers it can be hard to get them to help out.
Elizabeth Lampman says
These are great tips for cleaning. I need to make a new chore chart for the kids. I think this time we will draw chores out of a hat.
Dee Mauser says
Nice tips. Making sure kids follow through is the hardest part.
Oh my goodness, yes! These are some great ideas… I love the idea of not fitting, it doesn’t belong. I need to start implementing that
Autumn @Mamachallenge says
These are awesome tips! My house can become a mess during the summer.
Nancy L. says
Great tips! I especially love the 10-minute sweep tip! I try to do this every night and if I don’t, that’s usually when a client will stop by first thing in the morning and shoes will be scattered in the foyer!
I wish I could get my family to follow these tips. My husband gets mad when I clean up after him, he can’t find things when they’re actually put away.
Aimee Smith says
These are great tips. We do the ten minute sweep, its amazing how much you really can get done in ten minutes!
Sabrina @ Dinner, then Dessert says
Those are very good points! If an item doesn’t have a “place” in your home, then what is it even doing there to begin with?
This a great list of idea. We always clean before we go to bed also. I hate to wake up to a mess set the mood for the next day for sure.
I have been nesting and cleaning like crazy! Thanks for the tips!
These are great tips. We have two little ones at home who love to create a mess. I never allow them to bring out more toys, if they had not kept the ones they’ve played with earlier.