Post-Holiday Cleanup Tips
The holidays are the busiest time of the year. Inevitably, your house is going to need a thorough cleaning once the festivities are over and your guests have gone home. Settling back into your daily routine can cause some people to feel overwhelmed with all the tidying up left to do.
There’s no need to rush to get the entire house spotless. Start small by gathering up your reusable paper towels and tossing them in the wash or tackling those dirty dishes. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can ease back into life: one holiday mess at a time.
Take Down and Store Holiday Decor
How many of us have pulled a jumble of half-broken lights from a box of holiday decor in November? Carefully clean and store your decorations to set yourself up for success the following holiday season.
Cleaning and storing your decorations in airtight containers, boxes, or plastic bags with prominent labels should be done as you take them down. Specialized storage containers may seem like an unnecessary luxury, but they are made to protect priceless decorations from dust, mold, and breakage. Put the decorations in groups if you can, such as “dining room,” “mantel,” “front entrance,” etc.
By tackling your home one room at a time, you can avoid the decorating frenzy. Removing all the extra knick-knacks laying around will quickly open up space in your home and make the space more relaxed. An abundance of holiday decorations, while fun at the moment, can leave your home feeling chaotic and overstimulating.
Start by taking down any interior lights (leave the outdoor ones for another day), stockings, garland, and any other hanging decor. This is also a great time to work as a family to take your tree down if you have one. Dust off any lights or ornaments before packing them away.
Next, you’ll want to wash any stockings, tree skirts, or other washable items. It’s as easy as tossing a few loads in with your laundry detergent sheets and forgetting about them while you work on other things. Finally, pack away any tabletop or large decor items when you’re feeling up to them.
Give the Kitchen a Deep Cleaning
Okay, your kitchen has been through the ringer this holiday season. After facing several holiday parties and probably at least one food-related disaster, you’re going to want to give the kitchen some much-needed TLC. Working top to bottom is always a great approach when taking on a full kitchen cleaning. Start simple by wiping down your cabinets and range hood, especially if there have been any grease splatters. Next, it’s a good idea to take care of that stack of dirty dishes.
Luckily, in the modern age, all you have to do is load up your dishwasher and drop it in a dishwashing tablet. That frees you up to take inventory of all the dishes you accidentally left at your relatives’ homes. Once your dishes are all clean, you can get your kitchen organization back to its former glory.
After that, disinfect your surfaces. Make sure to get under your countertop appliances like your coffee maker and toaster. Once everything else is complete, give the floor the attention it deserves.
Freshen Up the Guest Bedroom
If the kitchen seems like too daunting a task, why not take care of the guest bedroom? Once your guests have left, start by checking for any personal belongings left behind. Strip the bed of sheets, collect any used towels and wash them in hot or warm water with a capful of white vinegar. Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum to clean the mattress while the sheets are in the dryer, paying close attention to the seams.
To ensure the comfort of your future visitors, replace the bedding and fluff the pillows. Make sure any mirrors in the room have been wiped down, as well as the windows. This is especially important if any little ones have been staying the night. Last, but not least, vacuum the carpet or any rugs in the room. Now your guest room is ready for your next guest!
Donate Any Unwanted Items
It’s super awkward to get a gift you don’t want or already have. The guilt you feel for not liking a present you’ve gotten can easily convince you to keep it around out of politeness. Unfortunately, many of us fall into this trap year after year. What if Grandma just happens to ask about that weird thing that cooks your eggs in a cylinder that she bought six years ago? You know the one that’s collecting dust at the top of your pantry.
After all, it’s the thought that counts. Don’t let anxiety or good intentions add even more clutter to your home after the holidays. Don’t be afraid to donate any gifts that didn’t work out. Someone out there will make use of these gifts that would otherwise go untouched.
This is also a great time to get rid of any unwanted decorations that may need to be retired. Over the years, our holiday collections grow without us even noticing. Cutting down on decorations that are old and not sentimental will save you storage space and time next year.
Recycle Your Cards
Take a look at the cards you have received and write down the names of the people who sent them to you. If you‘d like, use this as a list of people to send thank you cards to or get an early start on next year’s holiday card list. Afterward, upcycle parts of cards you like by cutting out the pictures, tying a string to them, and using them as gift tags for next year.
Anything you don’t use, shred to use as box filler or throw in the recycle bin. This is a creative way to reuse something that is typically seen as a single-use item.
After a much-needed holiday break, it’s nice to get your home back to its normal state. There’s no need to rush into anything, so make sure to take it easy so you don’t get burned out. Try one of these excellent starting points and your house will feel like home again in no time!