After the whirlwind of Christmas, it can be tempting to walk out the back door, sit on the porch and not go back inside until after New Year’s Day. But with a few simple tasks, you can organize your home and get back on track in no time.
From figuring out what to do with all that leftover food to storing decorations and recycling wrapping paper, here’s how to tackle the Christmas clean up efficiently and start the new year on the right note.
1. Set small goals.
Tackling the entire home at once? Ugh, that’s exhausting. But thinking of clearing up as a series of smaller decluttering tasks. Suddenly, it seems a lot more achievable. Especially when you start delegating.
2. Organize your ornaments as you pack them up.
When packing away decorations, separate breakables from non-breakables (egg cartons make great packaging for anything delicate) and from there, divide your ornaments into categories to make your life easier next year. Categorize into tree ornaments, miscellaneous ornaments, wreaths, stockings, and tinsel and other garlands.
3. Ditch old decorations.
As you pack up the decorations, toss anything that’s broken, tattered, or just plain tired. Don’t put it away until next year — if you know it’s not going to last, thank it for its service, and let it go. (If you want to recycle old or broken Christmas lights, check out this guide.)
4. Wrap fiddly fairy lights.
Don’t get yourself in a tangle. Wrap your fairy lights around a coat hanger or wrapping paper tube so they’re easy to unravel next year.
5. Donate unwanted gifts.
Keep a bag near the front door for any items or unwanted gifts you plan on donating. But make sure you’re offering the right stuff and are aware of the dos and don’ts of donating to charity.
6. Reuse or recycle.
Reduce waste this Christmas by recycling wrapping paper and cards you don’t intend to keep. (If you’re feeling sentimental, take a picture first.) Unwanted cards and wrapping can also be kept for kids craft projects.
7. Stubborn stains.
Spills and stains may be a sign of a good time but that doesn’t make them any less annoying. Check your carpets/rugs/upholstery for stains immediately because the longer they’re left, the harder they’ll be to remove.
8. Refresh your home by airing it out.
Open the windows and doors to let some fresh air in, and a little of the honey ham smell out. Better yet, simmer a pot of water with cinnamon sticks and halved lemons for an instantly fresh scent.
9. Deal with the leftovers.
If there’s simply too much food for you and your family to eat in the foreseeable future, freeze what you can. Many desserts (including pies) freeze beautifully.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love, and First for Women.