Now that school is out, you probably have lots of papers, clothes, and lunch containers to deal with. Don’t put it off until fall! Use this End of the School Year Cleaning Checklist to help you tackle the chaos.
This month we will turn our focus on getting ready for an amazing summer with the kids. After an entire year of paperwork, art projects, permission slips, a million lunches, and pop quizzes you no doubt have accumulated a mountain of clutter from the school year. It’s time to get it all under control and kick up your feet and enjoy your time with your kids
Clean & Organize School Gear
Here are tips for cleaning and organizing backpacks and lunch boxes.
Clean out the backpack
School’s out for summer! And it’s the best time to completely empty out the backpacks. Discard trash, decide what you want to keep and what is reusable for next year or at least through summer- pencil boxes, markers, and other school gear.
Sanitize backpack and lunchbox
Even if you have wiped it out after each use, the fabric on backpacks and lunchboxes can get a funky smell and are most likely they are harboring all kinds of germs from school and buses. I like to be frugal and reuse backpacks and lunch boxes from year to year if they don’t have too much wear. I created a special spray that will help remove odors and sanitize them at the same time. First, wash your bag with soap and hot water to clean up any visible dirt.
Deodorizing and Sanitizing Spray Recipe
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 6 drops of tea tree oil
- 6 drops of lavender essential oil
To make your own cleaning and sanitizing spray combine 1 cup of distilled water, 1 cup of vinegar, 6 drops of tea tree oil, and 6 drops of lavender in a spray bottle. Saturate your bag inside and out, allow
Saturate your backpack and lunch bag inside and out, and allow the items to air dry completely.
Sort lunch and snack containers
Sort lunch boxes, snack containers, thermoses, and tools like cookie cutters you might use again. Toss any items that are missing pieces or broken, and donate items your child has outgrown. The lunch gear can all be used throughout the summer to pre-portion snacks and lunches, or to pack for a picnic or road trip.
Sort school clothes
Go through school clothes, sort out what can be donated/tossed ( upcycle t’s into cleaning rags!), and create a drawer for play clothes the kids can grab quickly before heading out to play.
School tennis shoes if they still fit can now be designated for play. Run them through a cycle in the washing machine and air dry to freshen them up. Donate or sell dress shoes and other shoes that no longer fit.
Clean & Organize the Kitchen for Summer
Beyond just sorting containers the kitchen could probably use a refreshing overall- a bit of cleaning, purging, and reorganizing to make it work for your summer needs.
Pare down items stuck to the front of the refrigerator
Reduce the number of magnets on the fridge as well as file or toss the year’s worth of drawings and field trip reminders.
Clean off the top of the refrigerator
Dust and paperwork have accumulated on top of your freezer. Now is a good time to toss them out. Give the top of your refrigerator a quick wipe with a rag soaked in a cleaner and you’re done!
Clean and create a kid-friendly spot in the fridge
Make a spot for summer refrigerator snacks like fruit, water, jello, etc… Designate a drawer or shelf for the kids to grab and go chilled summer snacks.
Defrost and clean freezer
What better time to freshen up the freezer than now when it is likely to be filled with popsicles and snacks for summer. Toss out old freezer burnt packages of meat and veggies, clear a shelf just for summer snacks, and make a list as you clean of items to rebuy.
Freshen up that pantry by cleaning out seasonal foods like soup, pumpkin, etc…(move to the back or donate). Reorganize so lighter foods are easier to reach. Create a spot on one shelf where you can place a basket of snacks for the kids to access easily. Self-serve staging areas will save some of your sanity!
Reorganize the Office or School Area
Redo homework station
Turn the desk or homework area into a functional craft and activities area to inspire your kids to be creative and keep their eyes off the tablets and tv!
Start a file for school papers
If you don’t already have one start a school file to put important school papers in, special art projects, and other keepsakes. I like to use an accordion file each year for each child.
Sort through the chapter books, picture books, and school books you have accrued and determine what needs to be donated or thrown out and what can be kept. To encourage the kids to read create a cozy reading spot, scatter books around the house in baskets, or rotate new titles to their bedside tables.
While you have all the books off the shelf give them a good dusting, don’t forget the top!
Purge & Organize Additional Areas
As your kids get older they stop playing with old toys and games. Time to declutter the items they no longer use.
Purge and pack away excess toys
Make one more run through the kid’s room looking for toys to donate or toss. While it seems like fewer toys to play with will cause more boredom the opposite is actually true. When there is less clutter to contend with the kids feel less overwhelmed, can find what they are looking for, and will rely on their imagination for playtime instead of bells and whistles. Consider at least packing up several totes of toys for the summer, it will also encourage outdoor or creative play.
Sort board games
Go through board games, puzzles, and card games. Toss those with missing pieces, and donate those they have outgrown. Keep only the ones that are loved and played with regularly.
Transfer photo’s on your SD card
Move them to a hard drive, flash drive, or cd to make room for all the fun summer photos you are going to be taking in the next few months!
Create a summer chore list
Now that the kids are home for summer and their responsibilities are lightened up immensely you can create a list of daily chores or add to the ones you have already given them. Pull out a stack of 3×5 cards and list a few things for each day for them to carry out each day. Wiping toothpaste off the sink, sweeping up after breakfast, tidying up the yard, etc… This will take some off your busy plate, teach them some responsibility, and also give them some direction in their day.
Sanitize knobs and handles
Give each of the kids a sanitizing wipe and have them attack all doorknobs and the handles on appliances to clear out those nasty germs that they might have brought home from school, make this a weekly thing to help combat summer colds and other illnesses.
Clean out bird feeders and birdbaths
Give them a good scrubbing and refill, and put open bags of seed in airtight containers to keep pests out.
Empty out your trunk
Now is the time to empty and clean your car trunk, and remove all school items, sports equipment, and winter gear. Soon it will be filled with summer sports items, beach umbrellas, and picnic baskets.
Printable End of the School Year Cleaning Checklist
You can print out the June cleaning and organizing checklist here or click on the image below.
Great list–thanks. I think you covered almost every area I had in mind. I’m excited to get very selective about toys & books.