Weekend Projects

One Thing You Can Clean to Put Your Family’s Tumultuous Year Behind You

published Jun 11, 2021
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Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

The school year was different this last time around. Whether you’ve been navigating digital school from home or you’re the one making sure kids have clean masks to wear every day, no one foresaw the challenges the year would bring. Now that we’re used to it and/or at the end of our ropes (I’m both), the school year is over (or close to it, depending on where you live).

Closing out the school year is a relief, the end of a chapter, bittersweet, and full of the promise of lazy summer days. Much like coming home from a vacation and putting the dirty laundry in the washer right away, dealing with the school year’s stuff before it sits around for weeks is the best way to ensure it gets done at all before back-to-school season hits. Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing when it’s time to fulfill the supply list is clear out old binders.

Take the opportunity to close out this school year with a particular task that’s been a long time coming. All year, your kids’ (or your!) backpacks and lunch boxes have been getting tossed on the floor, spilled on, slid over tables, and shoved into cubbies. It’s time to clean them.

(If you don’t have school-age children and don’t use a backpack or lunch box yourself, consider washing your reusable bags. Or just give yourself the weekend off!)

Credit: Sarah Crowley

This Weekend: Clean and store backpacks and lunch boxes.

Start by clearing out each backpack — empty out every single compartment and pocket. Toss trash, save keepsakes (like the standouts in an art portfolio), and store items like pencils and folders for use next year.

Next, check the washing instructions and follow them. You may only be able to spot clean, or you might be able to toss the whole thing in the washer. Either way, clean the backpack and then set it out to dry in the sun, which will clean it further.

Now for the lunch box or bag. These things are biohazards by the end of the year. Again, you may be able to soak them with a mild soap or wash them in the machine or you might have to clean them by hand. Again, set them out in the sun to dry thoroughly.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.