Tips for Cleaning and Organizing your Home after the Holidays

It’s the moment when the pine needles stop smelling so good. Or the candy canes are beginning to melt on the fireplace. You look around the living room, and although the miniature lights are blinking in post-Christmas glee, they just don’t have the same joyful effect anymore. Clearly, you’ve reached the Last Days of holiday décor, and it’s time to take down the lights, decorations, and reorganize the house that was once, believe it or not, Santa free. So what lies between the mayhem of stockings and leftover gift wrap? Do you dare plunge into the stacks greeting cards and start writing your Thank You cards? Along with preparing a vacuum that have passed staubsauger test and other cleaning tools, here are some tips and suggestions to get your post holiday cleaning strategies off to a roaring start:

  1. Buy some tote boxes. You’ll need to set the stage for your endeavor, so pick up a few 12-gallon or more boxes with lids. These are great storage containers that stack neatly on top of each other in the basement. Next year, you won’t have to rummage around for last year’s seasonal adornments, and it’s easy to label these with a marker or stickers too.
  2. Start with the lights. First things first, take down the lights! Wrap them up neatly and avoid a tangle with this quick accessory: a newspaper rolled up tightly into a tube. Simply wrap the cords around the tube, and you’ll have a light ‘pole’ ready for unraveling at your fingertips next year.
  3. Layer those baubles. Ideally, you will have saved the original box for those Christmas balls and ornaments. If not, use a shoebox or an egg carton to keep them separate from the heavier items.
  4. Create an ‘Open First’ box for next year. This can be a tote or storage box to hold all the things you need to get started decorating; box up the basics such as tree stand, cookie cutters, and new Christmas cards you recently got at the holiday sale! It’s an easy step to get you in the holiday spirit on time next year, without having to search and shuffle through every box.
  5. Start filing those Christmas cards. Stack your cards or gift notes into piles, and organize them for a Thank You card mail out (or not). Do this the first week of January, and you’ll have it out of the way in one clean sweep.
  6. Roll up ribbons and bows in tissue paper. These will fade, fall apart, or loosen up fairly quickly if you don’t manage with care. If they’re still in original packages, this won’t be a problem. Still, any decorations on the loose can be wrapped in tissue, light newspaper, or even small gift bags for simple storage.
  7. Wrap up that wreath. Storing wreaths in the original wreath box is ideal, but for those who don’t think ahead that far, double bag some plastic trash bags, and ‘hang’ them in the basement or garage.
  8. Set aside the porcelain and delicate ornaments: Ziploc bags are perfect for these, as well as those little Ziploc containers. Buy a few different sizes for miniature ornaments, and the airtight seal will keep them safe for next year.
  9. Fruitcake: Assign it to somebody. And just give it away. See my recent article, ‘Five Ways to Give Away A Fruitcake’ for a few suggestions.
  10. Remove that scent of pine/eggnog/cinnamon for good. Spray some Febreze or air freshener with a new smell; try some spring-fresh or beach smells. Multiple glade plug-ins work wonders (now that the lights aren’t taking up every outlet, this will be much easier). A large scented candle in each room will add a nice touch.And you’re done! Beat the post holiday blues with some cleaning and organizing, and the house will feel like a whole new space. Taking down holiday decor and lights can seem like a chore, but will be much more rewarding when you do it right in preparation for next year. An effective strategy will whisk away those pesky pine needles for good; your home or apartment will be fresh, clean, and ready for the Spring season!