How to Spring Clean as a Family

Kim Sullivan

May 23, 2016

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to air out mattresses, do yard work, empty lockers, and move college kids back in. There’s nothing better than enjoying the summer with a clean house. But don't do it alone--get the whole family involved! Spring cleaning allows your children to learn important life skills as well as good spiritual truths.

Do what you must do before doing what you want 

Making this principle a habit allows the practitioner to enjoy life at its fullest. Necessary jobs are accomplished and rewarded with fun time. Play time is unencumbered by the thought of what you should be doing. Procrastination and guilt don’t feel good. You don't have to do everything at once, but choose some needed jobs before the fun ones. The Bible is clear there are times for work and times for fun, different seasons for diligence, rest, and celebration (Ecclesiastes 3:1-13).  

Many hands make light work

You have plenty to do, and you might be surprised how much more efficient and fun it can be to work together. Our productivity compounds and multiplies when we do things side-by-side. Groups of people working together increases productivity exponentially. 

Invest in your kids and reap great rewards

You might face some initial investment in training your kids to actually do the work, but when they learn they can do it, and that you aren't going to let them go because they complain, they will become helpers. Make it a game and as fun as possible. Make it a race, sing a song, enjoy your time with your kids. Here are more ideas: 

  • Ask the photographer of the family to take before and after pictures. The Bible often talks about writing down victory stories. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words! It’s always fun to look at the progress made.
  • Write down a job list or a plan. If you make a list of age appropriate jobs for each person, you won’t have to nag! Give the list to your kids and let them negotiate who will do what to get it all done. 
  • Put on some fun music or an audio book while working, this will help the time pass more quickly and enjoyably.
  • Plan a reward at the end of the day. Perhaps your family could order pizza, go out for ice cream, or have a bonfire in the back yard. God rewards hard work, and you can imitate Him by rewarding your family’s labor.

Resist robbing your kids for the sake of perfection

You might also struggle with the idol of perfection, and be hesitant to let your children do a job less perfectly than you can. Resist this impulse! First, perfectionism is an illusion, distraction, and even spiritual problem--in other words, an idol. Second, your kids need to learn to work, and they need to learn life skills. They need to learn how to clean, do their own laundry, buy their own groceries, cook a basic meal, and a hundred other life lessons.

We were created to perform meaningful work

“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” ~ Theodore Isaac Rubin

God gave Adam the task of naming the animals before he gave Adam a wife! We are made in God’s image, and at the end of the day God announced that his handiwork was good. He understands the joy that comes from a job well done and wants us to experience that. Providing opportunities for your children to experience this is a gift, not a curse.

If you make a plan ahead of time, working together can increase your productivity and make spring cleaning a lot of fun. Even more importantly, it can teach your children principles that will make them successful, productive, and joyful adults.

About the author — Kim Sullivan

Kim Sullivan is a writer with a background in everything from homeschooling to nonprofit management. She has raised three children each of whom are successful in their own unique way. Recently, Kim has done the most radical and risky thing she has ever done…she moved 700 miles from her suburban Chicago home and everything familiar to her and relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is working on a brand-new website and blogs at Journey to Epiphany. She is also writing a book about her adventures in following Jesus.

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