Congratulations! You survived arguably one of the busiest times of the year – the winter holidays. The visitors have come and gone, and now it’s time to get our house clean and back to normal. While the entertaining may be over, the cleaning is not – is it really ever? Call us crazy, but this post-holiday cleaning is actually one of our favorites. That’s because we’re not doing these chores for anyone but ourselves. When deciding what to clean after the holidays, there’s no wrong answer. In fact, there’s a lot of right answers since everything can be cleaned! Your best bet is to create your own after holiday cleaning checklist using our tips below for inspiration.
- Taking Down the Tree
If you put up your Christmas tree, you know how time-consuming decorating it can be. Luckily, taking down the tree, artificial or real, takes less time. What’s important is that you take it down correctly. Start by carefully removing ornaments, dusting them off as you pack them away neatly for storage. Then move on to the lights and tinsel. (See tip #5 for our in-depth steps on storing Christmas lights.) If you have pets, make sure no tinsel is left behind. If pets eat tinsel, it can be very dangerous and expensive to have it removed by a veterinarian. You’ll also want to vacuum up where the tree stood to make sure you’ve cleaned up all the debris. And if you rearranged furniture to accommodate for the tree, consider deep cleaning your carpets before you put the room back together.
- Outdoor Decorations
Putting away outdoor holiday decorations is another big task that you should consider adding to your after holiday cleaning checklist. Be prepared to be flexible with this one since you’ll want to do it when the weather cooperates – which can be tricky in late December or early January. When storing outdoor decorations, and any Christmas decorations, keep your future self in mind. Think about the ways you can pack things that will make it easier for you to decorate next year. Labeling your decoration storage boxes is always a huge help, too.
- Focus on Fabrics
Take time during your post-holiday cleaning to give your holiday fabrics some TLC. Check for things like sap stains on your tree skirt, lipstick marks on cloth napkins, candle wax on tablecloths, and general dirt on stockings. The fabrics that make up these decorations may have special cleaning instructions, so check those first. If they don’t have special washing instructions, you can find steps for cleaning holiday stains on our interactive stain removal guide. Making sure these things are clean and stain-free at the end of the holiday season will set you up for success for the next one!
- That’s a Wrap
Since you’re done wrapping Christmas gifts for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to put all your supplies in storage. Now is also a good time to take inventory of what you have, so you don’t end up buying a third roll of gold ribbon when you see all of the crazy-good wrapping paper sales in the weeks following Christmas. Stick a label on whatever box you store the supplies in too. This way you won’t go through the trouble of digging out the box to wrap a birthday present in April only to discover you pulled out the Christmas wrapping supplies.
- Lights Out
We know we mentioned them above, but Christmas lights are such a big part of holiday decorations that we believe they deserve their very own, special instructions. People put lights up outside, on the tree, on the mantle, and other places around their home. When it’s time to put these lights away, it’s important to first check that they’re all working. If there are bulbs that need to be replaced, replace them. Once you’ve decided which strings of lights you’re going to keep, wrap them neatly in a circle or around a piece of cardboard so they don’t get tangled. If you don’t wrap them in cardboard, use a piece of string and tie it around the lights so they keep their shape in storage. Doing so will save you a huge headache when it comes time to decorate next year.
- Un-deck the Guest Halls
If you had guests staying with you over the holidays, give their home away from home a good clean once they leave. It’s nothing against your guest, it just helps make sure the room is ready to welcome whoever your next guest may be. Pack away any holiday decorations you put in there, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, wash linens, and vacuum and deep clean the carpets. When the linens are clean, put them back on the guest bed, so you’ll know it’s ready to go should you have any surprise guests.
- Purge your Pantry (and the fridge, too!)
Food is one of the main attractions during the holidays. It starts with Thanksgiving, and in many cases, doesn’t end until after the New Year. Once the holidays are over, go through your pantry and fridge and toss anything that’s expired – like those leftover mashed potatoes that are getting close to spending their fourth week in the fridge.
Cleaning after the holidays shouldn’t be stressful, and if you start to get overwhelmed, just think about how nice it’ll be to start the new year with a clean home!