Winter Break: Your Top Cleaning for Survival Tips

Amanda Blume

We’re in the thick of it with winter break and we all know what happens when the kids are home from school, lacking their normal routine, with potentially bad weather days... the house gets trashed. This year I'm putting a little structure to our winter break to help keep my house from looking like it's been looted on a daily basis.

We don't have set chores for our kids but generally just expect them to help when asked.  This usually works for our family. This year I am creating a list of chores the kids can take on including sweeping, folding clothes, emptying trash, picking up toys, feeding the dog, and loading/unloading dishes. I'm going to have my older kids (ages 10 and 12) choose two things they will be in charge of completing once a day during break.  A little help goes a long way.

As part of the nightly routine, we are going to do a ten-minute room blitz.  I'm assigning the kids each a room to tidy up. They need to make sure the dirty clothes are in the hamper, shoes are put away, toys are put away, electronics plugged in and charging for the night, trash is thrown away, etc.  Basically, they are in charge of resetting the room so when we wake up in the morning we have a fresh start without the baggage of the day before hanging over us. Also so I don't trip on anything in the middle of the night when I let the dog out, go to the bathroom, and feed the baby.

I'm picking what's important to me.  We all have those few things that make us bonkers if they aren't done.  For my husband, it's knowing the laundry is going. Dishes are the it thing for my sister.  No matter what else is going on in the house, if the sink is empty of dishes it definitely feels cleaner and more manageable.  My thing is the bathroom. Wipe down the mirrors and counters and sweep the floors. It takes just a few minutes to do but brings me joy when it's complete.  

What's your it thing in regards to cleaning?  What ten-minute job will give you the biggest bang for the buck? If you commit to doing this task every day, it will help you feel less overwhelmed with everything you need to clean.  

My home definitely feels more lived in during winter break.  I know it's not going to be a showpiece on HGTV. I'm at least hoping these quick tricks will help me not feel like I'm on my way to starring in the next episode of Hoarders.