Ah, the guilt of parenthood: Your kiddos deserve real QT, but also a clean home.
Since there are only so many hours in a day, this spring cleaning plan hits the hot spots that tiny ones tend to find, so your fam can get back to the fun in a clean (if chaotic) space.
Clean Soft Surfaces
Kids are all over carpets, couch cushions, pillows, and duvets, and somehow even curtains (is that ... peanut butter?).
These dirt-collecting materials need a deep-cleaning to get rid of allergy-causing dust, food particles, and all the general eww that little hands smear around.
Wash throws, pillow covers, and (most) pillows in the washer. Use a steam cleaner (or hire a pro) for carpet and upholstery. Some curtains may require dry cleaning (always a good idea to check the tag to see what the manufacturer recommends).
Then notice how your whole home feels and smells infinitely cleaner.
Related: Super-Easy Cleaning Recipes for the Most Awesome-Smelling Home
Involve Kids in a Purge Party
Kids can accumulate a staggering amount of toys and doodads. Help them sort through what they can donate: They'll learn the value of decluttering, helping others, and taking care of a house. Also: less stuff.
"The benefit for parents is that they can spend more quality time with their children because they aren't spending all of their time cleaning and organizing," says Alyssa Trosclair, a professional organizer with Emend.
Hit the Undersides of Tables, Counters
Wipe off the bottoms of high-chair trays, the dining table, and the underside of countertops ledges. Sticky stuff often festers there, missed during daily wipe-downs — but easily accessible to tiny hands.
While you're at it, pull apart any tables with leaves and wipe down the cracks. You may find enough crumbs to make the grossest loaf of bread ever.
Clean Low-Lying Surfaces
The track of a sliding door is a sterile place to stash your pacifier, right? Little ones sure think so.
Cleaning door thresholds, baseboards, and the lower portions of doors, walls, and furniture is important when you've got crawling and toddling hands in the household. Oh, and don't forget the floor registers.
Do a Size Check on Winter Clothing
Puffy coats, wool hats, scarves, gloves, and ginormous snow suits practically need their own house. And that's not counting those two-inch-thick sweaters. Purge the items you know won't fit a fast-growing child next year, and clean the rest.
When the first big snowfall hits, kids won't want to wait while you wash their crusty hat from last season.
Don't Forget Doorknobs, Light Switches, Etc.
Light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles, and remotes are some of the germiest items in your house. Cleaning them might be the most consequential to-do on your spring cleaning list.