Decking up the house, hosting guests, buying new stuff, and getting presents over the holidays can leave your home in a mess. And starting the New Year with chaos all around isn’t a good idea, particularly because it’ll make it difficult for you to fall back into the routine!
With the holidays behind you, it’s time to get into action and get your house in order. If you’re feeling lost and don’t know how and where to begin, here are some tips to help you get started.
Getting rid of clutter means you’ll have less stuff to clean and organize. If you’re already short on storage space, clearing clutter will leave you with more space to properly store items that you really need.
- Follow the simple practice of eliminating one old item for every new item that you buy or receive. Extend this rule to clothes, linens, decorations, toys, DVDs, etc. Cutting ties with some older items may be difficult, but it’ll be easier if you think of the new items you possess!
- Go through all items in detail before you put them away. If you come across items that are worn out, broken, or non-working, get rid of them. Find different uses for items- for example, old clothes can be repurposed as cleaning cloths and wine corks can be used in crafts.
- If you’ve received gifts that you don’t have any use of, consider hosting a gift-swap with friends or colleagues. You can also consider re-gifting items later in the year- just be sure you keep the tags on so you don’t end up making a faux pas.
Staying organized will keep your sanity intact when you need to find particular items. What’s more, organizing things will also keep them from being damaged!
- Avoid storing holiday décor items alongside items you use regularly. Make storage space in the basement, attic, or garage for seasonal stuff so that it isn’t in-your-face at all times.
- Store holiday cards and card cut-outs in clear plastic boxes or files, or in Ziploc bags. Store with your craft supplies or with other seasonal decorations.
- Take down tree lights and wrap them around a piece of cardboard so that you don’t have to deal with a tangled mess of lights next Christmas. Cover with bubble wrap and place into plastic bins or directly into cardboard boxes. Store other string lights and garlands similarly.
- If putting Christmas ornaments back into original boxes seems difficult, just use egg cartons to keep them safe. You can also make your own ornament organizer using a deep plastic storage box- glue paper cups onto cardboard pieces that fit into the box to create storage levels. Wrap tissue paper or newspaper around ornaments and place them into the cups. Remember to use acid-free tissue paper for vintage items.
- Linens, table runners, and mantelshelf decorations can be stored in clear plastic bins along with scented sachets or candles in a cool, dry place.
- Wreaths should be packed loosely in clear plastic bags or cardboard boxes. Line bags or boxes with acid-free tissue paper if required.
- Outdoor holiday décor items like reindeers and sleds can be stored in the narrow space between two shelving units or in the space between a storage unit and a wall. Cover decorations with plastic before storing.
- Holiday china can be stored separately or in kitchen cabinets that you rarely open throughout the year. Holiday baking gear like Christmas tree shaped cookie cutters can be stored with your holiday china or at the back of kitchen cupboards.
Clean Everything in Sight
Now that all the extras are out of the way, you only need to clean up the house to start the New Year on a fresh note! Here are some all-important cleaning tasks to check off the list first.
- Get your holiday glassware spotless clean by washing them in warm sudsy water. Rinse and allow to dry upside down on a rack. Protect glassware from breakage by lining the sink and area around the rack with rubber mats or heavy folded towels.
- Stainless steel sink fixtures, door handles, furniture, and other surfaces are bound to have greasy fingerprints all over them. Clean surfaces with a soft cloth dipped in a solution of water and mild detergent or simply with a multi-surface cleaner.
- Clean mirrors and glass surfaces with a glass cleaner. A solution of water and vinegar mixed in equal parts works great too!
- Clean wood furniture, especially the dining table to restore its beauty. Dust with a soft cloth first and then clean with a mixture of water and vinegar. Allow to air-dry; rub mineral oil over nicks, dents, and watermarks. To bring back shine, polish with hard carnauba wax.
- Check drapes, upholstered furniture, expensive linens, and the carpet for stains. Spot clean stains according to the fabric material. Avoid rubbing stains aggressively; simply blot them to minimize damage to the fabric.
- Change linens in the guest bedroom and also clean the wardrobe and drawers with an all-purpose cleaner. Wash plastic hangers, towels, and linen.
- Give the bathroom a deep clean starting with cleaning the toilet bowl, shower curtains, and the bath.
Now that you know how to go about cleaning and organizing your house after the holidays, don’t worry about the magnitude of work you’ve got to do. Just start getting your house in order step-by-step and you’ll be done!