With the arrival of warm weather comes the urge to clear the clutter and do some serious spring cleaning around the house. But there is no reason that parents need to tackle these tasks solo if there are teens and tweens around to pitch in and help! We've already made a list of chores for young children, so here are another 26 spring-cleaning chores - just for the older kids.
In Their Bedroom
1. Sort through clothing in closets and dresser drawers, making piles of items that he or she has outgrown to be handed out to younger siblings, neighbors or friends, or donated to a local charity.
2. Winter clothes can be neatly folded into piles and stored in bins, while spring and summer clothing can take over the "prime real estate" areas in the bedroom.
3. Closet shelves, floors, and insides of dresser drawers can be vacuumed before the neatly folded or hung clothing is returned to their proper home.
4. While the vacuum is out, take the long-handled attachment and vacuum hard-to-reach places, such as under the bed and under the desk (a perfect job for smaller people!)
5. Sort through books stored on desks and bookshelves, making piles of books that they have outgrown for younger siblings, friends, or for donation.
6. Wipe down bookshelves before returning books to the bookshelf, perhaps storing all unread books towards one side for easy access to new reading material.
7. Strip bed linens down to the bare mattress and wash everything before re-making the bed, including pillows and comforters.
8. Empty the wastebasket and then give it a good scrub down with soap and hot water (either outside or in the bathtub).
In Their Bathroom
9. Sort through hair care products, tossing the empty bottles, and giving away products that they do not intend to use.
10. Girls should sort through hair accessories — headbands, hair bands, and clips — getting rid of any stretched-out items, or any accessory that has not been worn in 6 months.
11. Fill a sink with soapy water (using shampoo) and allow combs and brushes to soak for 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
12. Replace toothbrushes and clean the toothbrush holder.
13. Drawers and cabinets should be emptied, wiped down, and then items returned to their proper location.
14. Empty the wastebasket and give it a good scrub down with soap and hot water (either outside or in the bathtub).
In Their Backpacks and Homework Area
15. Backpacks should be emptied and perhaps even vacuumed out. (It's surprising how many crumbs you can find in there!)
16. School notebooks should be paged through, old assignments and projects removed and either recycled or stored for future reference. "Neaten up" each notebook before returning them to the backpacks.
17. Sort through the artwork that has been saved for the year, and ask each child to choose their favorite pieces to keep. Place the treasured pieces in a keepsake box, or photograph them to save.
In the Family Room
18. Ask kids to sort through the family DVD collection. Outgrown movies can be donated to children's hospitals or Boys and Girls Clubs.
19. DVDs can be removed from their plastic cases and housed together in a storage album, which takes up much less space!
20. Are you still storing music on CDs? There is no one better than your tech-savvy kids to turn your CD music into digital files and upload them to your digital music player.
21. Have the kids go through your collection of board games and puzzles, and return missing pieces to boxes. If you own all of the pieces but have outgrown the game, consider donating it charity. (And if you are missing the instructions, find them online and then print them out to include with the game!)
22. Corral all of the video gaming controllers, games, and accessories into one place. (How is it that this stuff seems to "walk" all over the house?)
In the Garage
23. Sort through sports equipment, outdoor toys and games and water toys- making piles of broken items, outgrown items, or things that your kids just no longer play with. Recycle and toss what cannot be used be others, and donate whatever is possible.
24. Drag outside all of the items that are stored on the floor the garage, and then sweep out the floor with a sturdy broom before rinsing it out with a garden hose.
25. Store like items in bins — all balls in one large bin, skateboard pads and bike helmets in another, etc.
26. Check that wheels are inflated in bicycle tires and other sports equipment is pumped up and in good working order for the spring sports season.
And don't forget to reward a job well done! Perhaps a trip to the mall to purchase a few new spring tops or shorts (replacing the ones that they have outgrown) or even a dinner out to thank them for their hard work.