Tips for Cleaning up After the Holidays
Cleaning the House After the Holiday Festivities
We had such a wonderful time this holiday season.
Amongst the noise, confusion, fuss, and emotional tears of joy, we loved it all. I hope you did too.
I know for many cleaning is not at the top of the wish list, definitely not around the holidays. But, it is a great way to begin a fresh new year. You wait and see.
So, let’s get up off the couch and get the house back in shape. Before you know it, you’ll have the kitchen cleaned and decorations stored for next year.
With all our helpful tips for cleaning after the holidays, you will have fresh, clean spaces waiting for the New Year to come.
Below are five of the most common areas used around my house during the holiday season.
Let’s get busy cleaning!
With all the cooking and conversations going on in the kitchen, it may just have been one of the busiest places in the house. It’s possibly one of the places where the most spills happen too.
Start by working at the highest point and work your way down.
- Clean the outside of cabinet doors.
- Clean walls and back splash with warm soapy water or a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. (If you have marble or natural stones, don’t use the vinegar on any of it. Vinegar is slightly acidic and can damage the surface.)
- Clean the refrigerator. First take out any food that were not stored properly and toss it in the garbage. Clean and organize the shelves. Then clean the outside of the fridge, remove the fingerprints, and get it sparkling again.
- Clean the grime from the stove and stovetop areas.
- Clean countertops.
- Sweep and wash the floor, getting in all corners.
Tidy the Guest Room
If you had overnight guests throughout the holiday, go through the room and get it ready for the next guest. Oh and don’t forget to check under the bed for any guest leftovers.
Dust from top to bottom, vacuum from back to front, clean windows, change the sheets, and create new guests baskets.
What’s in a guest basket you ask? You can put any helpful items in a guest basket that you think will help them feel special and get along the first day or two.
I put a bath towel, wash cloth, hand towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand lotion, mouthwash, mini soaps and bath oil, and mints in my welcome basket. Yours can be made any way you like.
Living (a.k.a. Entertaining) Areas
I think holiday or special occasion cleaning requires a little extra. I mean with all the people coming and going the debris may end up where you least expect it. Like behind the couch, under the couch, etc.
After all the decorations have been put away, it’s time to dust, vacuum, and clean windows (just like in the guest room). Make sure when you vacuum you pay extra attention to the area of the tree, especially if you had a live tree. Even artificial Christmas trees can leave leftovers behind.
Move the furniture around and vacuum behind and under tables and chairs.
Cleaning the Game Room or Bar
Do you have a game room in your house? Does it have a bar area? If it does, this is probably another popular room for gatherings and conversation.
Spills, fingerprints, splatters, shoe prints all need to go.
Depending on the surface of your bar you can use either plain warm water, warm, slightly soapy water, or a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.
- Bring a tray or something to carry dirty dishes in. Carefully put all dirty glasses, dishes, silverware in and bring them to the kitchen for washing and clean off the bar area.
- Pick up all food debris on the bar, behind the bar, stale snacks and throw them in the garbage.
- People sit on stools, kick their feet or tilt the chair back and use the face of the bar for stability. A lot of bars also have the foot rest where amazingly you might find a bit of apple pie or some gravy. Give these areas a good cleaning.
- Clean the inside of the refrigerator and wine storage unit. Give the glass a good cleaning and get it sparkling again.
- Mop and/or vacuum in front of and behind the bar.
- Give the counters a good cleaning and replace what items belong on the bar.
Does your house have one of those little closet sized bathrooms that never gets used until the holidays are in full swing. Ours does and it got used a lot.
It’s a small room so it won’t take long to clean, gather your supplies and you’ll be done in no time at all.
- Fill the sink with a little warm, soapy water. Just a drop of dishwashing liquid, you don’t need much. Use a sponge or cleaning rag to wipe down the walls (especially around the toilet as there may be a few little boys using the bathroom) and the outside of the cabinet.
- Drain the sink and clean with your regular cleaner.
- Clean the toilet. Get the tank, top, sides and underneath. When cleaning the bowl, get the outside of the bowl and around the bottom edges.
- Mop and clean the floor.
These are some of the spaces that may have been in constant use over the holidays. Once you get done with these the rest of the house will be a breeze.
Putting Away Decorations and Gifts
I know how daunting the task of putting decorations away can be but it’s time for them to be stored away until next year.
Storing Christmas Ornaments
If you still have the original box for decorations, carefully place them in the box. Then when you go to place all the ornaments in a larger container for storage, put a piece of batting down on the bottom of the container and a piece of batting in between the rows of boxes.
If you don’t have the ornament boxes, you can either purchase ornament containers or you can use a plastic storage container. If you use a plastic storage container, place a piece of foam or batting on the bottom first and in between the rows of ornaments. You can recycle the tissue paper from gifts to wrap the ornaments in and use the shipping peanuts from the gifts that were mailed to you.
Storing Christmas Lights
Instead of putting your lights away in a messy heap, wrap them up nicely to save you the frustration of taking them out next year.
You have a few different options, all recycling things you most likely have in the house already.
- Instead of throwing wrapping paper tubes away, save a few to wrap lights around before storing. Just cut a slight in each end. Start by placing the plug in one slit, wrap the lights, place the last of the string in the other slit to finish and hold the lights in place.
- You can also recycle a few pieces of cardboard from shipping boxes to wrap the lights around. Make slits on each end as mentioned above.
- Plastic coat hangers are also a nice way to wrap your Christmas lights and store them. For this you will need to use tape when you get to the end of the strand.
Garland, wreaths, and other decorations should also be wrapped prior to storing. For the best protection, use sturdy containers for storing these precious items.
When you’ve finished clearing the tree, store it in the box it came in. If you have a real Christmas tree, place it on the curb for pick-up.
It also helps if you label containers and place the labels facing out when storing.
Don’t Toss Those Cards Yet!
Before you throw away the cards you received, go through them and check the names and addresses. If you don’t have someone on your card list, you can add them to it, or update addresses.
If you’re the creative type you can repurpose those holiday cards. If they have cute images on them, you can cut them out and use them as gift tags next year.
I Have No Room for More Things!
In with the new, out with the old! If Grandma and Grandpa got the kids a new pair of pajamas for Christmas – replace the new pair with the oldest pair. Same goes with other clothing items received.
If you received new cookware – in with the new, out with the old.
You see how this is going, don’t you. There’s no reason to create more clutter. Donating items that are still good is a great way to pass on useful items that others can use.
As a matter of fact, save a couple of shipping boxes to put your donations in.
What to do with Unwanted Gifts
Oh boy. This happens every year doesn’t it? The unwanted gift. I know you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but do you really want to keep it? It will just take up space.
There are a couple of ways to handle unwanted gifts.
- Take the gifts back and get something you can use and that you do want.
- Do you have a hope chest started for your kids? If so, can they use the unwanted item when they move out? If yes, add it to the hope chest.
None of these needs to be done in a day. Pace yourself so you don’t get burned out and end up letting everything stay as it is until next spring. (Kidding)