Even though public school kids took a week-long break in February, we have been going solid with homeschooling since the second week in January. Time for spring break!
Although spring break options abound, we needed to clean house. How does clutter multiply when no one is looking? The popcorn bag by the sofa suddenly turns into three. I pick up one hairband only to find five more. What about the endless sheets of paper that collect on every horizontal surface? I could not make it through the final five weeks of our homeschool year facing a mess in every direction. Spring break turned into spring cleaning.
The kids wanted to start Monday with a game of Monopoly. “That sounds great!” I responded. “But first, you need to clean up the front area of the house.” It is amazing how quickly they got to work—decluttering, organizing, and cleaning two whole rooms. Perhaps the biggest challenge was clearing off the “crafting table” where my son does most of his schoolwork and all the kids enjoy creating….when they can find space to do so. With the job completed, they could easily use that table to play Monopoly, provided they could agree on the rules!
Tuesday morning’s challenge was clearing out and vacuuming the upstairs hallway outside their rooms. Navigating that hallway was like traversing an obstacle course. Several boxes of homeless items were arrayed haphazardly near the walls; dirty clothes and towels snaked across the walkway, determined to trip me as I scurried by. My oldest daughter’s things, compacted into her camping trunk and a laundry basket a month ago, stood sentinel outside the twins’ room, halfway blocking the entrance.
It took just over an hour for the kids to clear the hallway. I sent the older two kids to the store to purchase waterproof bins to store their oldest sister’s belongings in our basement while she is out of the country. Leftover Christmas items found their way into storage as well. Dirty laundry was collected and washed, and the vacuum cleaner could finally meander down the hallway unhindered.
After lunch, the kids needed to clean their bathroom. Clearly, all four of them could not work in such a small space at the same time. I sent the older two kids to work on cleaning the tub and shower while the twins attended a free online bullet journaling co-op class we are trying out With the Huddleston’s homeschooling community. While my twin daughters focused on the topic, I laughed at the way my older son and daughter argued about cleaning the tub. They should have easily finished the job in the alloted half hour, but they wasted about twenty minutes bickering about how to go about it.
During the next half hour, the older kids learned about bullet journaling while the twins had the job of clearing the bathroom floor and countertops, cleaning the toilet and taking out the trash. I was amazed at how much more cooperative my younger girls were! Even though their part of the bathroom did not pass inspection the first…or second time, they cleaned pretty efficiently. The older kids finally got their act together and cleaned the tub and shower too. Their chores were done in time for them to play outside with the neighbor girl when she rang the doorbell.
On Wednesday, the kids started cleaning their bedrooms. My middle girl had no problem here—she moved into her oldest sister’s room last month and has been keeping it quite neat.
A quick run-through with the vacuum cleaner was all that was necessary, so she helped my son clean out his closet—a task that clearly had not been done in several years. He only had time to get the floor of his closet cleared out Wednesday morning, before heading off to work.
The twins spent most of the day cleaning out the floor of their closet. It took them well over an hour just to sort out all the shoes, most of which did not even fit. Clearly the kids’ rooms would take longer than a day to clean and organize.
Once I could finally walk into the girls’ closet, I took a quick look through their dresses, bagging up all the 6s, 8s, and 10s to give away. I could not believe how many there were! The area by my front door was soon full of items to donate.
I rewarded the girls for all their hard work with a trip to Walmart to pick up supplies for bullet journaling. Apparently all three girls were excited about it after the short class on Tuesday; my son, on the other hand, has no interest.
Thursday dawned, and the twins returned to their room to clear the tops of their dressers while my son faced the challenge of clearing off the shelf in his closet. It was a great teaching opportunity as I instructed the kids to keep only the things they love or need, give away things that might bless others, and throw away what was clearly junk. My son left for work with the remaining contents of his closet strewn across his room, but he finished the task when he came home.
The twins took a couple hours to clear off and organize their dressers. We quickly vacuumed their room to prepare for a decluttering activity they were sure to enjoy—a fashion show. My full length mirror moved to the end of the hallway outside their room, so they could try on items from their closet and strut down the “runway” to determine what to keep or give away. What a great way to make cleaning out the closet fun!
Finally, Friday arrived. The kids’ rooms were looking great, and the other areas of the house were still presentable. It was time to delve into dresser drawers.
Since my 13-year old daughter had her dresser under control, she helped my son organize his clothing while I supervised the twins in part two of their fashion show. Pretty soon their floor was covered with piles of ill-fitting, unwanted, or out of season clothes. We took an hour or two to finish sorting, culling, and organizing. Meanwhile, my son hauled a carload of clothes to church, where he dropped them off in the donation barrel.
At last the kids’ rooms were organized. After breathing a sigh of relief, the girls and I headed out to shop for a few articles of clothing missing from their wardrobes. A thrift store excursion yielded several skorts and tops for about $20. I wish I could say the Walmart expedition that followed was so inexpensive. Luckily, I had a couple gift cards I was able to use and then purge from my wallet at the checkout.
Back at home, we enjoyed dinner as a family then headed to the movie theater to see I Can Only Imagine. Is it as good as all the hype would suggest? We all loved it. What super way to wrap up spring break week!
What did your family do for spring break? Please share in the comments below.