It only took me four years of parenting, two kids, and countless stressful mornings, but I finally got myself in the habit last school year of picking up the house, cleaning the kitchen, and wiping down the counters every.single.night before bed. This is super popular advice for moms, but I always ignored it because I was just so darn tired by the time I got the kids to bed and I figured, “What’s the point? We are just going to mess everything up again tomorrow.” BUT, as it turns out, waking up to a clean and tidy house DOES make a big difference. It’s true, things don’t stay neat for long, but my whole day just starts off better when I can drink my coffee in a kitchen sans dishes in the sink and relax (even if it’s just for five minutes) in the living room without tripping over race cars and board books before getting ready for work every morning. Now that I’m in the habit, it’s become kind-of a ritual for me to listen to a podcast and “wind down” every evening while I go through the motions of picking up stray socks and loading the dishwasher. I almost NEVER skip a night (and, when I do, boy do I notice in the morning).
Once I realized how much this habit helped me at home, I decided to try it out in my classroom too and have been pleasantly surprised to find that it has a similar effect there. While there aren’t dishes to do or toys to put away, after housing hoards of teenagers every day, my classroom can be pretty dirty (and stinky) come 3PM. So, last year, I began taking the last 15 minutes of my day – right after the final bell – to put books and stray materials away, and wipe each of my six large tables down with a Clorox® Disinfecting Wipe. Not only does this help cut down on germs and the spread of cold/flu in my classroom, it also makes the morning SO much nicer knowing the room is clean and ready for learning. 😉 Seriously though, I think my students appreciate it too – we are in an old, yucky building and most classrooms are – frankly – kind-of gross. They take pride in the room and – I like to think – even work better because the space is clean and organized. Finally, just like at home, I’ve come to look forward to these quiet moments after the kids leave and made a habit out of reflecting on the day and mentally preparing myself to go home to my own two wild ones as I wipe. I do a lot to help make my classroom look good and run effectively, but this has been one of the very BEST (and easiest) strategies.
This year, to help off-set my personal out-of-pocket costs, I’ve created this cute little image to post on my class website in the late fall and display on my active board at Back-to-School night in September. Feel free to save it and use it yourself if you want! Most parents are already in the habit of donating a box of tissues every year, and you’d be surprised how many don’t think twice about grabbing a canister of wipes too! Likewise, I often ask for them as Christmas or Teacher Appreciation gifts and am easily stocked for the year. I like using Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes specifically (and I really do use them in my classroom) because they eliminate the need for a grubby rag (that I’d have to take home to launder – and we all know laundry isn’t my strength) and make clean-up fast and easy. On the days when I need to leave right after class, I just hand out six wipes and have the kids run them over their own tables before they are dismissed. I also love the way they make my tables sparkle, and the lemony scent makes it feel clean and fresh even after a full day of adolescent boys! Along with binders and pens, I definitely consider Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes to be one of my most important “school supplies.”
Speaking of school supplies, I LOVE what Clorox is doing this back-to-school season: They’ve partnered with DonorsChoose.org (an awesome charity website that helps teachers get the funds they need for various classroom projects and supplies) to give back $100,000 and additional donations with their Clorox for Schools program: For every $5 you spend on Clorox, Hidden Valley and Glad Products, you’ll receive $1 (up to $5) that you can either redeem as a donation to DonorsChoose.org or as money off on future purchases.
- Buy it. Buy any Clorox®, Glad® or Hidden Valley Ranch® product.
- Snap it. Snap a pic of your receipt.
- Upload. Upload your receipt to earn a donation or cash back.
Between 7/12/16 and 9/30/16, purchase any qualifying Clorox, Glad or Hidden Valley product(s). Then, choose to participate in the Offer or the Donation program. If you choose to participate in the Offer, your Offer will be fulfilled 10/31/16. If you choose to participate in the Donation,Clorox will donate $1 for every $5 spent to DonorsChoose.org (up to $100,000 in donations). For all details, including a list of qualifying products, see the Program Terms www.cloroxforschools.com. For details about DonorsChoose.org, visit DonorsChoose.org. I LOVE a company that supports schools and teachers (and bonus points for disinfecting dirty classrooms)!