After seven longs months of school, your kids' backpacks, sports bags and reusable lunch bags have probably grown a bit worn, if not down right disgusting. Here are a few handy cleaning tips to help keep things organized and clean until summer break.
Reusable Lunch Bags should be emptied right after school. It might take a few weeks for kids to get in the habit, but a note by the most-used entrance (where backpacks are hung up) can help. When kids empty their lunch bag, they can leave the empty bag by the sink.
When you get to it, simply add a drop of liquid detergent to the bottom and rinse it out with warm water.
Wipe it out with a paper towel and then hang the bag upside down over a large plastic cup to air dry. Once it’s dry, go over both the inside and outside with an anti-bacterial wipe and air dry again before use.
Backpacks can get pretty disgusting by spring break. Kids have a hard enough time not losing things. Keeping their backpacks clean will help them stay organized and feel more in control of their school supplies and their class assignments. Pick one day a week to go through backpacks together. Doesn’t matter what day it is – it can even be over the weekend – but make sure the entire contents get dumped out. Once it’s empty, hand over the anti-bacterial wipes so that they can wipe down the inside and outside of their bags before putting everything back into their backpacks. Older kids can have a bit more privacy to do this on their own, but should be made to show you the before and after – it’ll give them some ownership over their success.
Sports Bags. Getting those duffel bags filled with soccer uniforms and hockey equipment into fighting shape after a week’s worth of practices, games and even a weekend tournament can be seriously intimidating. But bacteria from sweaty, wet cloths can migrate to clean gear, and eventually to your healthy player… who doesn’t want to miss out on the big game because of a nasty cold! First, take everything out of the bag… Even the plastic piece at the bottom. Wipe the inside of the bag down thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Let it air dry, then wipe every surface, inside and out with anti-bacterial wipes. Let air dry again before placing clean uniforms and equipment back into the bag. Repeat at least twice a month to keep bacteria from building up inside the bag.
Entryways. In and out. In and out. Doors get left open. Backpacks get dumped. And as the mild days of March give way to the hotter temps of April and May, jackets and sweaters get left in doorways and at the bottom of the staircase, too. It’s enough to drive parents crazy! A few ideas for keeping this area clean:
Get one small, square laundry basket for each little offender. Simply ask that they dump their stuff in their own basket, rather than on the floor. If they don’t – YOU get to dump it into whatever basket is closest – and you don’t care which basket it goes into. Which means, if it goes into the wrong one…? The sibling who wants it back will have to BUY it back (be sure to put a cap on it!). OR you can keep it for yourself and charge in household chores.
Hang a coat hook at the right height for each child just outside the garage entry door. That way backpacks get hung up outside the entry way, rather than dropped inside. The problem here is the “out of sight out of mind” homework issue. Be sure to remind them to bring their homework binders inside first!
Place a shoe tray just outside the door, to remind kiddos to remove their shoes before they come inside. This is especially important during the spring rainy season! Instilling a “no shoes in the house” rule will help you keep your carpets clean between professional cleanings.
Click here for a few more ways to stay organized this school year.
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