The holidays are a joyous time with family and friends, but that seasonal glow can fade quickly when you’re faced with the aftermath: a house to clean up once all your guests have left. Getting your place back into shape can be a daunting task, but in similar fashion to our Thanksgiving clean-up tips we presented a month or two ago, we’ve got a few smart tips to help you do it in time for the new year.
Strip the Christmas tree carefully.
Use as much care taking your tree down as you did putting it up to save you some headaches next year. Some double-duty tips for packing ornaments:
– Keep Christmas lights from tangling by wrapping them around the empty paper towel tubes or tubes from your wrapping paper. Loop the cord around the roll, starting with the side opposite to the plug, then insert the plug into the tube’s opening. If you’ve already thrown away your gift wrap tubes, paper towel tubes work, too.
– Take down the ornaments and, instead of tossing them back into their boxes, wrap them safely. You can repurpose used wrapping and tissue paper (if you haven’t recycled it yet) to wrap around them as you store them neatly into their boxes. For added cushioning, place the tree skirt at the bottom of the storage box and layer the ornaments on top, using tissue paper between the layers.
Check your carpet and furniture for stains.
The longer they set, the more difficult they will be to remove. If you spot any, use a spray bottle to lightly apply a mixture of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid. Blot with a paper towel and continue spraying and blotting until the stain is removed. Rinse with clear water and blot again. Fluff the pile and allow it to dry. If all else fails, go in with a heavy duty carpet and upholstery spot cleaner.
Use this time to get rid of what you don’t need.
Did you get some great new gifts for your kitchen or other places in the house? That’s great! But you may not need two or three chip and dip sets in your cabinet. Either discard old ones or donate them. Have kids? Recruit them to help by creating a race to see who can gather their toys first. Store toys that are of no interest at the moment and rotate or bring them out every once in a while to keep their spark.
Disposing of the Christmas Tree
Many cities have posted pick-up times for Christmas trees, allowing you to put them out with the trash in the first few weeks of the new year. But if you miss your window or want put your tree to use around the yard, you can use the boughs as compost. Layered in with the rest of your compost, these branches are great spacers that allow air in, hastening the decomposition process. And the tree’s trunk, stripped bare and left to season for several months, will make great kindling for the fireplace next winter.
Keep Your Silverware Sparkling
For many people, the fancy silverware gets a lot of use in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then gets stashed away for the rest of the year. If you’re ready to pack up your finest flatware, but loathe the thought of having to polish it again next year, you’ll want to store in a tarnish-free fabric. Sold as individual pouches or bolts of cloth that you can cut to size, this cotton fabric is treated with a substance that keeps tarnish-causing gases at bay.
What post-Christmas clean-up tips can you add?