The “Friday Family Clean” Tradition That Makes Cleaning Fun (and Helps Us Get Our Home Clean in Less than an Hour)
Cooking as a family is messy, involves cleaning dishes, and generally takes at least an hour, start to finish. Why is this fun? Maybe it’s the way it ends, with everyone eating good food together, or maybe it’s just the creative, playful spirit brought to the process. Whatever the reason behind the magic, my spouse and I wondered if we could bring that same energy to another necessary task: cleaning our home.
Enter: Friday Family Clean. The idea isn’t complicated. Turn on music, power clean, and end with popcorn and a movie night.
We started this tradition when my youngest was in preschool and her contributions were mostly symbolic, but almost a decade later, the four of us can actually tackle our four-bedroom house in under an hour. I love that even though I work part-time from home and my spouse works full-time as a physician, my kids are growing up not just contributing themselves, but also seeing their feminist dad wielding a toilet brush. (My own dad has probably never even touched one.)
If that sounds like a dream, read on for my best tips on how to make it happen at your home (and the pitfalls to avoid).
Tips for a Successful Family Clean
- Do: Choose a name for your family clean. Whether you do Saturday Stupendous Clean or call yourselves the Sparkle Squad, this tradition must have a special moniker.
- Do: Choose appropriate music. The music should lend itself to dance-cleaning, and the least enthusiastic cleaner must be the DJ. At our house, that’s always the kids. (Our cleaning playlist is heavy on Meghan Trainor right now.)
- Don’t: Try to micromanage. Repeat after me. “This is not the time for micromanaging.” It’s not even the time for teaching. Family clean is all about fun and gratitude. This one’s hard for me, but if I can do it, anyone can. It’s likely your dreamer will twirl more than dust, and your partner may use the “wrong” spray on the shower. But keep in mind that the second you start correcting, you’ll be cleaning alone. And even without direction, everyone gets better with practice.
- Do: Let cleaners choose their own tasks. The adults can rotate tasks to make sure everything gets done, but the kids should have plenty of agency. Better to have an enthusiastic duster than an angry toilet scrubber.
- Do: Respect the timer. The clean is over when the timer stops. Even if you’ve swept but not mopped. Even if the windows are streaky from your littlest one’s efforts. Eat your popcorn and watch the movie; the rest can wait.
Our experiment in making cleaning fun has been so wildly successful, I recently floated the idea of applying this strategy to yard work. My family promptly vetoed, saying “Don’t ruin a good thing, Mom.” Fair enough.
Your turn: How do you get your family involved in cleaning?