Christmas is a chaotic time of year when time is scarce and the to-do list is long. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of year when having a clean and gorgeous house is a must. Chances are you’ll have some company during the holidays, whether it’s a fancy soiree or unexpected family who drops by. With a constant trickle of visitors, now’s the time to start getting your house in holiday shape. But before you get to it, take a minute to read my holiday cleaning tips:
- Clean before decorating: Before you get your stockings hung and the tree up, give your house a deep clean. Starting with a clean house eliminates having to move decorations around for after-the-fact cleaning. Plus, so many things that come with the holidays (like cookie baking and parties) will mess up your house — so best start with a clean slate!
- Add a decoration, take one away: Most people accumulate a pretty large collection of Christmas decorations. These on top of your home’s normal decorations can be overkill. Let your Christmas decorations speak for themselves! I like to use the “add a decoration, take one away” approach: for every new decoration I put up, I take one of my normal decorations down.
- Tame that clutter: Christmas gifts mean there will be a whole influx of new items in your house. Before the gift giving starts, reduce your house’s clutter. If you have children, ask them to choose 5 (or some predetermined number) toys to get rid of. Donate these toys to a charity and let your child know that their old toys could be another child’s Christmas gift. Also make yourself follow the same standards: Remove unworn clothes from your closet and donate them to charity. Coats are a great item to donate during the holidays as well.
- Clean one mess before the next begins: This one might seem obvious, but you know how it gets: After decorating Christmas cookies, the kids are chomping on the bit to put up the Christmas tree or start wrapping gifts. Wipe off the counters and get all the dishes clean before moving onto the next holiday task. It’ll look like a tornado has gone through your house if you don’t.
- Set up a gift-wrapping station: Gift wrapping can get messy. Little bits of paper, tape, ribbon, price tags — all this can cause quite the clutter. Set up a card table or a designated area of the house to be your gift-wrapping station. Equip it with everything you need: wrapping paper, bags, ribbons, bows, tape, pens, gift tags, permanent markers (for crossing out prices), scissors, a garbage can, etc. This way, everything is in one spot.
- Put things away…the right way…: Ah the dreaded de-decorating. There’s not much fun in admitting that the holidays are over, but do be sure to do a good job in taking holiday decorations down. Wrap delicate ornaments in tissue paper and safely tuck them away in boxes. Put ornaments back in the respective containers so you can easily find them next year. And for goodness sake, coil your Christmas lights in an organized manner. A tip from the wise: Save the cardboard rolls from your wrapping paper. Coil the lights around these for tangle-free storage.
Author bio: Sarah Beckman is a newlywed looking forward to her first Christmas with her new husband. She’s an editor at Affordable Style where she writes on everything from styling reading glasses to tips on how to tie scarves.