Let me help you get your house back with this post-Christmas organization guide. This is the fail-proof guide to getting back to normal after the holidays.
Christmas brings so much joy, but it can also bring an overwhelming mess if we let it. Whether you hosted Christmas in your home or not, the house can easily becomes a pigsty. December is booked with parties and outings and the house is full of giftwrap, Amazon boxes, and at least one baking mess. Sometimes you have to embrace the chaos of the holidays and take care of the mess later. Welp, now it’s later and I want to help you with this post-Christmas organization guide.
Now that we have a large enough space, we were able to host our very first Christmas this year… twice!! Yes, twice!! We don’t mess around. I spent the week of Christmas getting the house prepped for our guests by cleaning, organizing, decorating, and cleaning some more. However, you would have not guessed that if you would have stepped into our home the day after. It looked like a bomb went off! It was overwhelming to say the least! Where do I start?…
Start in the Laundry Room!
Yes, laundry! I know sorting can take a while, but once it’s done, laundry quickly becomes a “set-it-and-forget-it task. Now, you can switch loads while barely interrupting your cleaning flow somewhere else in the house. So, grab a basket and grab all dirty linens (hand towels, bedding, clothes, tablecloths, blankets, washable rugs, etc.). Be sure to scan EVERY room before sorting! For more ways to organize your laundry room, check out my laundry room post HERE.
What do I do after Laundry?
Now that all linens and articles of clothing have been located, sorted, and the first load has began, it’s time to designate the disaster room.
What’s a Disaster Room?
Getting organized requires making a mess first, so designate one room to be messy. Choose a space you won’t need to frequent for the next day or two. For me, this is my craft room because I don’t mind leaving it messy for a bit. The disaster room is where you will place items that don’t have a home yet, such as decor, holiday paper products, new gifts, wrapping supplies, returns, etc. If available, set up a folding table and a few bins to be able to sort items as you go. The disaster room will be your last room to tidy up. It will be easier to do once everything is in one place so you can categorize, but more on that later.
Where do I Go Once the Disaster Room has been Established?
Start with your easiest rooms first and work your way to the messiest. Why? Think about it. Like most people, we have 8 rooms/spaces in our house. We have 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, living room, and an entry. If I have 4 rooms that are easy to straighten up, then I will quickly have half the house completed!! Brilliant, right? I know it’s a bit of a mind trick, but it’s way more motivating than spending hours cleaning the messiest room and realizing you still have most of the house to do afterwards.
What are your Easy Rooms??
When we host, our easiest rooms are the ones our guests frequented the least, or the smallest. So for us, that would be the master bedroom (least frequented), and our 2 bathrooms (smallest).
Once you have finished the easy rooms (more details one how to complete each room below), work your way around the house, eventually making it to the messiest spaces, and then finishing with the disaster room. The messiest rooms for us are the rooms that contained food or dining which is our dining area, kitchen, entry (where I usually setup the drink and dessert stations), and living room.
What do you do to Straighten Up Each Individual Room?
Although, there are specific steps to organizing each room, there are a few that apply to all. I break down the space-specific tasks further down.
Tasks for All Room:
Grab an Empty Bin
Grab an empty bin or laundry basket to fill up with anything that doesn’t belong in that room. If you are unsure where the items will end up, such as new gifts or toys, place them in the bin too. Remove any dirty linens you missed from the first laundry sweep.
Grab an additional bin, if you are taking down all your Christmas decor.
Gather all trash or unwanted items. Empty the room’s trashcan (if applicable) and replace the bag.
Do a light cleaning by sanitizing all used surfaces and vacuuming the floor. Assuming you cleaned before Christmas, you shouldn’t need to do a deep clean – just a touch-up.
Specified Tasks for Each Room
Be sure to make the bed. A made bed makes a huge difference! Once the bed is made, clean off any clutter that may have been left behind on the dresser, under the bed, or in your closet. I tend to throw random things in my closet when I am hosting, and simply shut the door ;). Toss any misplaced items in your empty bin and collect the trash. Wipe down surfaces, and run the vacuum.
Bathrooms are small and easy spaces to tidy up. Gather dirty towels and rugs, in case you missed them in the first laundry sweep. Gather trash and replace the bag. Wipe down and sanitize the sink, mirror, and toilet. Finish by running the vacuum.
To tidy the living room, remove misplaced items, new gifts, or food remains. Remove soiled linens, and trash. Next, you will want to fold the blankets, fluff all pillows and furniture. Wipe down and sanitize end tables and other surfaces. Be sure to check for toy parts under the furniture.
Like I mentioned above, our entry room is where we setup our drink and dessert stations when hosting. I start tidying up by taking all food remains to the kitchen, while taking decor or unused serving ware to my disaster room. Then I breakdown tables and the extra chairs. I finish up by removing misplaced items and trash, wiping down used surfaces, and vacuuming the floor.
Kitchen & Dining Area
Now it’s time for the kitchen! This room can easily become the messiest room during Christmas. Start with dishes by loading the dishwasher, hand washing non-dishwasher safe dishes, drying and putting them way. Don’t let your dishes sit out too long to dry. Our goal is to have cleaned off countertops!
Fridge time! Remove any expired, old, or moldy food and organize so that all holiday leftovers are easily seen and less likely to get wasted.
Pantry time! Remove any misplaced items and organize contents shelf by shelf. Do you have a surplus amount of something? Stick it in the freezer for later. For more ways to organize your pantry, check out my pantry post HERE.
While organizing the kitchen, make a note of of what you didn’t use much of during this year’s Christmas. This will help you save money next year.
Scan the counters, and remove any misplaced items or unnecessary clutter. If there are dishes you only use around Christmas, be sure to store them with your Christmas decor. No need for them to take up space in your cabinets. Once all surfaces are cleared off, wipe them down and sanitize. Finish the kitchen off by vacuuming the floor. For more ways to organize your kitchen, check out my kitchen post HERE.
If you are needing a break, now is the time. You have my permission. The disaster room will be overwhelming, but remember everything is in one space. I use my craft room (spare bedroom), so it’s away from the main living areas. Then I can pick away at the “disaster” for the next few days if I’m not up to tackling it at once. Whenever you decide to take on the space, start by dividing the items into categories like gifts, wrapping supplies, paper products, serving utensils, decor, and unused items. I also like to make a pile of items family members left behind, or items I need to toss or donate. Once everything is categorized, decide what to do with each pile, like where to store it or if you should keep it. Then you can break down the table, wipe down surfaces, and finish with vacuuming.
Tell me About your Post-Christmas Organization
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