Is the holiday aftermath overwhelming you? Why is it the tree that looked so festive begins to loom larger than life after New Year’s Day? And that darling collection of glass snowmen glares accusingly from their place on the mantel?
Take a deep breath and a few easy steps to restoring order to your post-holiday home.
• One thing at a time. Unless you have a sudden burst of energy and a space of several hours, work on one section of the house at a time. Clear one tabletop at a time. Then concentrate on the tree. Family members can be responsible for removing their gifts from under the tree and putting them away. Clean the leftovers out of your refrigerator, freezing what you can and discarding small bits of this and that. If you live in a cold climate, take advantage of any break in the weather to remove outdoor lights. By breaking holiday cleanup into smaller, manageable pieces taken on one at a time, you will see steady progress and not end up with an even more overwhelming chaos of cartons and boxes all over the house.
• Motivate yourself with some fresh organizational helps. Replace a jumble of cardboard boxes with a few sturdy plastic tubs to store Christmas ornaments and decor. Wrap fragile pieces in pretty tissue saved from gifts. Label clearly for easier access next year. Wreaths can be covered with labeled garbage bags with the hook poking through the top so they can be hung in a basement or attic. If you buy a new comforter, save the plastic bag it came in. It will store and protect a large wreath easily and visibly.
• Lights can be less annoying. Want to avoid the choice words over tangled strands of lights next year? Save cardboard wrapping paper tubes or buy plastic pipe, then wrap your lights around them, securing them at both ends. Next year, you can unwind them by circling the tube around the tree.
• Bundle up Christmas cards and store. Next Christmas, you can revisit them to keep your own card list current. Use the fronts of last year’s cards as pretty gift tags.
• Transfer dates onto your new calendar. Save last year’s calendar and use it to mark important dates like annual medical checkups, birthdays and anniversaries in the coming year. If you have a space for them, old calendars are worth keeping; they can be useful records of family history.