Are you old enough to remember spring-cleaning? This was big in the 1970 and 80’s when I growing up. An entire week or so was devoted to washing fingerprint-stained walls and woodwork, cleaning smudged windows and grimy windowsills. Floors were mopped. Carpets cleaned. Garages overhauled and swept.
The calendar no longer reads 1980-something, but we can still devote some time when the warmer weather hits to doing some deep cleaning as a family—of both the home and the heart.
For the Home:
1. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat. Now is the time to move furniture and vacuum and even shampoo the carpet if it needs it. This might also be the perfect time to rearrange the furniture in some rooms to spruce up the place and give it a new look.
2. Yes, wash windows and walls but do it as a family and build in a little fun. Put on some upbeat music. Stop half-way for a family favorite snack. Reward yourselves with a trip out for ice cream or a walk at a nature center or lovely park when you are done.
3. Have you wanted to re-paint any rooms giving them a face lift? With the warmer weather you’ll be able to open windows to help with ventilation so grab a brush and a new look for your home.
4. Take this time to also spruce up your storage. Tackle one closet, cupboard or dresser each day. Get rid of unwanted items by donating them or saving for an upcoming yard sale. Place back in the various storage areas only what you actually use and need.
5.What about your basement or garage storage? Now might be a great time to purge these often clutter-catching areas. Invest in storage shelves or large plastic bins to help reorder what you actually keep. With the rest—let it go! Someone else can surely use the “stuff” you aren’t using. If donating to a charity store be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes.
6. Are there moldy-oldies in your fridge? Ice sculptures in the freezer? Haul everything out and discard any out-dated or no-longer edible foods. Wipe down the insides or defrost the freezer if needed before re-stocking. Who know what culinary treasures (or science projects!) you might find.
7. Plan ahead for the spring and summer. Is there anything you can do to get a jump start on gardening? Ordering seeds? Taking inventory of pots and planters if you plant flowers and herbs? Does the lawn mower need a tune up? Dad (or mom if she is skilled at this) could teach the kids how to do basic maintenance on it.
8. Mind the medicine cabinet and check the smoke alarms. Divide and conquer. Have family members who are old enough haul out all the meds from the medicine cabinet. Check the dates on all the bottles and packages and decide which ones must be tossed. Rid the cabinet of any lotions, shampoos, and products you don’t need. Wipe the shelves down and replace only what you’re keeping. We actually do this twice a year when the time changes. That’s also when we check our smoke-alarm batteries.
For the Heart:
9. Think outside the boundaries of your own yard. Is there a neighbor or elderly person you know who might need so help with some of these same tasks? Go on a little family mission project and help around their place. Then, when finished, treat them to a lunch or dinner out! (Or if you are all too dirty from cleaning, order pizza!)
10. Hold a family heart-cleaning session. Have a little family devotion time to discuss this verse:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
Have a pair of scissors handy. Pass out scrap paper and ask each person to cut out a heart shape with a piece of paper. (The little ones may need help with this) Then, showing no one else, have them write on their heart what one thing they might need to rid themselves of to help make their heart become all cleaned up. (Little ones may draw a picture) It may be anger, jealousy, impatience, resentment, lying, etc…
Then, have everyone sit silently and pray in their hearts to God, asking Him to help them rid their hearts of this struggle or sin. Next, have everyone tear up their hearts into little pieces (or send them through the paper shredder–with supervision) and throw them out!
Finally, pass out new hearts to the kids, ones that have Psalm 51:10 written on them. You can even allow them to write it out themselves and decorate it with markers and stickers if you desire. Have them post it in a place where they will see it often reminding them of their desire to have God create in them a clean heart.