Our home always needs a little tune-up at the end of a busy, exciting summer. If you’re in a similar situation when summer is over for your kids, here’s your back to school home cleaning recovery guide!
It’s the end of another busy, eventful summer full of adventure and beautiful memories. If your family is anything like ours, then your house is definitely showing it. 🙂 It’s pretty normal to feel like your house has been turned upside down after 2 straight months of fun, and it’s also pretty normal to feel like the idea of getting everything back to normal is fairly overwhelming. I thought I’d put together a little step-by-step guide to back to school home cleaning today so we can all get our homes tidied up and ready for the school year as quickly and as painlessly as possible. I’ve teamed up with e-cloth yet again today for this post to share with you some of my favourite quick-fix cleaning ideas for this exact time of year!
Back to School Home Cleaning: Where to Begin
We really want to start with the summer-specific messes around the house. These are the areas of chaos that seem to pop up only during the summer months and when the kids (young and old) are busy trying to squeeze the most out of those long summer days. We want to make sure that we don’t find ourselves in the middle of October with beach toys and tiny garden tools scattered all over he yard because that’s a situation where you’ll really start to feel like things are completely out of control and just disastrously messy.
After that, we’ll move on to a few regular cleaning tasks that will just make our homes feel sparkly clean and well-taken-care-of, followed by a little bit of organizing for the school year ahead so that we can all feel really on top of our game. 🙂
Step One: Summer Toy Clean-Up
In our house, the things that I see popping up on every surface around the house and out in the yard are things like sand toys, beach towels, life-jackets, pool floats of various types, and all kind of diggers and tractors. The debris of summer fun will look different for every family, and I’m sure you’re well aware of exactly what kinds of summer toys show up around your house.
We’re going to start by spending 30 minutes per day for two days on tackling our summer toy messes. You may choose to spend the first day outside and then the next day indoors, or maybe the first day in your mudroom area and the second day in your playroom. Whatever works for you! Just grab those toys and put them away, grab those beach towels and wash them, and pick up all of those flip flops and return them to their homes. Don’t be afraid to get rid of anything that’s broken or worn out as you go along. This will make more room for fun next summer! 🙂
Back to School Home Cleaning Bonus Points
If you find you still have a little extra time left after you’ve gathered everything up from the yard and from inside your home, take few minutes to actually clean some of the toys that you’re putting away. If you used a lot of sand toys, rinse them out with the garden hose and leave them to dry before putting them away. I also find that something like the e-cloth washing up pad works great to gently remove any dirt that has gotten stuck inside sand toys or on shovels.
If your kids have spent a lot of time indoors beating the heat, then take a minute or two and actually clean the toys that you’ve just picked up, put away, and re-organized. Toys are handled so often and can really spread germs quickly if they’re used by a lot of kids. I like to use something like the e-cloth Toy and Nursery Cloth to wipe toys down because it allows me to kill 99.9% of germs with just water. I don’t love the idea of using harsh chemicals on toys that my kids (or any kids) will be using, so this is a perfect solution for me… and it’s speedy-quick! 🙂
Here’s a little more detail about some of the ways I clean toys: How to Clean Toys and Remove Germs Without Chemicals
Back to School Home Cleaning: Clean Out Your Car
How’s your car doing right about now? Is it as full of sand and juice boxes as ours is? Even with the best of intentions, if you’ve had a fun and full summer, then your car is probably showing it, just like your house is. We’ll spend 30 minutes per day for the next two days getting our car back into “regular routine” mode.
For the first 30 minutes, grab a garbage bag and head out to the car. Start removing all of the juice boxes and snack wrappers that have been hidden in the cubbies in your car’s doors over the course of the summer. Remove all of the empty gum and mint containers and the coffee cups too that may have built up from all of your road trip adventures or whatever equivalent you have in your vehicle.
Once all of the trash is out, start removing everything else that isn’t trash, but that doesn’t need to be in there. In our car that means I’ll be removing all of the lego creations that just had to come along with us wherever we went, the boogie boards from trips to the beach, the extra beach towels, life jackets and pool noodles that found a semi-permanent home in the trunk of our SUV over the summer for last-minute trips to the lake. The lawn chairs and the umbrellas can stay a little while longer because we’ll need them for soccer games in the fall still.
The second day’s 30 minute cleaning time will be spent on actual cleaning of the car. For us that means that we’ll definitely need to break out the vacuum cleaner to get all of the sand out of everything, but wiping everything down in the car’s interior will be crucial as well to making the car really feel clean and ready for getting us back into real life. I love to use an e-cloth general purpose cloth on most of the surfaces of the interior of my car because I find that it does a great job of removing the random dirty shoe prints that show up on every surface. When it comes to the windows and other shiny surfaces, I always use a combination of the e-cloth Window Genie and the e-cloth Glass and Polishing Cloth. I find these are the fastest, least frustrating way to remove all of the finger prints and puppy nose prints without any fuss, and again no chemicals. They just work!
Your One Big Deep Clean Mission: Clean Your Floors
If there’s one must-do home cleaning task during this back to school home cleaning mission of ours, I’d definitely have to say that it’s the floors. It’s amazing the number of things that I’ve found tracked in on our floors this summer. Definitely a lot of sand of course, but also a lot of gravel, small rocks (from rocky beaches and camp sites), pet fur from excited dogs going for walks more often, and mud from the garden have also been present on pretty much a daily basis. Having a fully-clean floor in our house will definitely feel like a luxury. 🙂
This is a single-day cleaning spree, unlike the other two day cleanings that we did on the other two areas. You know as well as I do that if you only go half-way with this, then your floors will be right back to square one on the second day. Do whatever it takes to get your floors sparkling clean in one day and you’ll have a much better chance of having everyone in your house enjoy having sparkly clean floors that they’ll actually stay that way for a decent amount of time. If not, at least you’ll have a good running start to help you make some decent progress.
Before you grab the vacuum cleaner, start out with a regular broom, or a little dust pan and brush and remove anything really big that might cause problems for your vacuum. This means anything like larger rocks, wood chips, sticks, pinecones, things like that. Please note that these are all actual things I’ve found in my house this summer. This post-summer back to school home cleaning isn’t for the faint of heart! 🙂
Follow up with a thorough vacuuming and a good mopping. I find that the e-cloth Deep Clean Mop is great for days where I want to do a really good job of cleaning my floors because I can cover a lot of area really quickly, so I don’t feel like I’m taking all day.
The e-cloth Flexi-Edge Floor and Wall Duster is also great for maintenance of your clean floors. It’s super lightweight, but I love how the big fluffy head picks up all kind of dirt, dust, and pet fur quickly and easily.
Back to School Home Cleaning: Organize School Papers
Yes, I’m talking about those school papers from last year that you still haven’t figured out what to do with. You still haven’t had much of anything sent home yet as far as school work goes for this school year, so this is your chance to make up for lost time and get a handle on those school papers that you meant to file away at the beginning of summer. This little task will be a two-day job as well.
On the first day we’ll assemble everything that we’ll need. Gather all of your school papers up into a pile, find a 3-hole-punch, get out the label maker, make a trip out to the store if you need to pick up some extra filing supplies, or bins if that’s what you use for storing your school papers. I have a binder system that I’ve used for the past 10 years or so and it works perfectly. I have one bin for each kid for larger art projects, then a 1.5″ white binder for each school year. This allows me to keep just enough to have a really nice sample of their school work from each school year without going completely overboard. But use whatever works best for you!
On the second day you’ll get to do the actual organizing! Grab your paper recycling bin, sort through what you want to keep and what you don’t, then hole punch everything you’re keeping and stick it in a binder…. or use whatever filing system you want. There! Done and ready for a new year! Bonus points for you if you also pick up a binder, file or bin for the current year so you can file things as they come home throughout the year!
Back to School Home Cleaning: Set up for Success
While we’re on a roll, let’s just take one day to give the area where our kids do homework a little attention. It doesn’t need to look perfectly organized and stocked with every craft and office supply like it’s about to show up on Pinterest any day, it just needs to be functional. If you have a space where your kids do their homework, but also did their summer crafts, take a moment to clear away any remnants of summer crafting supplies and try to create as much empty, clutter free space as possible. A clear, decluttered space is best for clear thinking during homework time and you also want to make sure that the area is actually clean as well. Dust and other sticky or grimey surfaces will cause a distraction so take a moment to remove any dust from shelving and storage areas, then thoroughly wipe down the actual work surface. An e-cloth High Performance Dusting and Cleaning Glove makes quick work of dusting all kinds of things on shelves without you having to take everything down first.
And just like that in a matter of days, you’re on the right track for a clean, functional home to start off the school year!
If you’d like to try some of my favourite e-cloth products out for your back to school cleaning missions, now’s a great time to do it. E-cloth has sent over a promo code for readers of The Creek Line House to receive 10% off and free shipping on their e-cloth orders from August 28th-August 30th! Just use the code BACKTOSCHOOL18 when you check out!
Do you have any must-do tasks that you think we should add to this list for back to school home cleaning? How’s your home looking this year at the end of summer break?
Thank you so much to e-cloth for sponsoring this post! I was compensated for the time I spent putting this back to school home cleaning guide together, but all opinions, thoughts, and recommendations are my own as always!
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