Planning a Family Clean Up Day

The car hasn’t lived in the garage in 18 years of marriage.

The walk from the garage into the house, has become a time of significant spiritual growth as you spend the walk praying nothing comes out to get you.

The bikes, toys, and all the misfit household items are taking up valuable real estate.  Resignation is beginning to settle into your bones that it may be time to schedule a family clean-up day.  This scenario can be re-written to fit the attic, basement, or a spare bedroom that is packed with years of discards.

We have all seen the scenes in the movies, where father and son sort through piles of boxes in tense silence, or worse, with attitudes and sharp comments.  You may think I am totally batty after reading my next statement, but I feel the need to get it out there.  Family clean-up days can be a lot of fun, a great time of bonding for the family, and provide great learning opportunities.

clean up day

Are we still friends?

I am a huge proponent of family cleaning up days.  No matter if it is just working to clean the house together for the week or tackling a large scale project like the attic or garage together.  When working together, as a family, to restore your home to a better version of itself, you are showing support to each other.  Living out what it means to work together as a team.  Working together to complete a common goal can be a great time of bonding.  It provides a time of uninterrupted quality time as you join together to complete a task.  No cell phones, TV, or video games competing for attention.  Something else that has been documented for many years, is that children flourish when they know that they have made a significant contribution to the family.

So how do we move from the scenes of the grouchy father and attitude riddled son to more of a family bonding experience?

Consider the following steps

Step 1:  Make a Plan

What is the overall goal for the day?  What needs to be accomplished?  Make a plan to accomplish that goal.  Be sure that your goals are achievable and can be completed in the designated amount of time.

Step 2:  Gather Supplies

Don’t wait until the work day to gather supplies.  When your work day starts, you want to be able to tackle the job at hand as efficiently and timely as you can, especially if you are working with kids.  In the weeks leading up to the work day, gather all necessary supplies.

Step 3: Schedule the Day

Word to the wise, don’t roust the kids out of bed early Saturday morning and announce that it is family cleaning day and expect happy faces and good attitudes.  No one likes those kind of surprises.  Schedule the day on the family calendar on a day when Johnny doesn’t need to be run to baseball and Suzie has ballet.  Let it be a day when nothing is schedule or just a day when the family will sit out on activities.  Let the family know what the plan is for the day and that everyone is expected.

Step 4:  Plan Ahead for Meals

You will be so grateful for this tip when your family is tired, dirty, and “hangry”.  Have snacks, drinks, lunch, and dinner pre-prepared.  That way when it is time to break you all can do it together without stress.

Step 5:  Make it Fun!!

I think we can all agree that if we wrote down our favorite activity, cleaning out the garage wouldn’t be at the top of most of our lists.  That doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun.  Make a scavenger hunt sheet up ahead of time, divide the family into teams and tackle the mess.  Play I Spy.  Race To The Finish.  Put your imagination to work and find ways that your cleaning day can be fun.  Our family will do anything and I do mean anything for a competition, even clean out the garage.

Step 6:  Celebrate Together

Whenever the family tackles a big project together, use the opportunity to make memories.  If it is a hot summer day, celebrate by having a water gun or water balloon fight.  Tickle your neighbors funny bone by running through the sprinklers with the kids.  Have a build-our-own ice cream sundae bar ready for when the day is done.

Step 7:  Speak Words of Affirmation When You Are Done

I once read a statement, by author and speaker Josh McDowell, which said, “When we express appreciation to young people, we give them a sense of significance”.  By expressing appreciation with a well-placed word, we let our children know that what they do matters, that they are valued, and important.  Who among us hasn’t longed to feel that at some point in our lives?  I don’t think this concept just applies to parents and children.  Husband’s, even if work day was the wife’s idea, thank her for encouraging you to tackle the mess.  Let her know how much you appreciated her rolling up her sleeves beside you.  Wives, let your man know how much you love him for tackling the mess.  A kind word about how strong he is or how great his arms looked in his shirt is always appreciated.  (At least it is in the Todd house) We all can find something redeeming in the ones we live with if we look hard enough, because at the end of the day, we are all made in the image of God.  Let your family know that they are significant to you!

You can have a great time of bonding and whip that garage or attic into shape.  Get your plan together and go have fun with your family.


We would love to hear about your family cleaning day or better yet post a pic.  Happy Cleaning!



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