5 Family Traditions for a Cleaner Home


Annual De-clutter Marathon

For many families, clutter serves as one of the biggest obstacles to a neat and tidy home. The more stuff your family has, the more time you'll spend moving these items to clean around them. Too many possessions can also lead to time wasted searching for the more important items, like your keys or your child's favorite toy.

Cut the clutter with an annual weekend dedicated to purging the house of things you no longer need. Schedule this cleanout session in the spring to prepare the house for a big seasonal cleaning, or wait for back-to-school time or the holidays, when many families find themselves adding plenty of new purchases to an already-packed house.

Start on Friday night by setting up a series of boxes with labeled "Trash," "Donate," and "Garage Sale." On Saturday, have each family member tackle their bedrooms and other private spaces to get rid of clothes and objects they no longer need or want. Be sure to do a sweep of the linen closet and kitchen, too. Set a rule that anything you can't create a permanent place for has to go. De-clutter family areas like the living room or basement on Sunday morning, then reserve Sunday afternoon for dropping off unwanted items at the dump or your favorite thrift shops.

If your kids are having a tough time parting with old toys or books, take them with you as you donate these items to shelters or schools. This provides a teaching moment by showing children that their donations are going directly to help others in need and can give kids a new perspective to help them let go. Another option is to hold a garage sale and allow them to keep any money they earn from selling their things [source: Kockler].