Create mini-goals. When one views the entire clean up process it’s easy to get a bit frazzled by the scope of what to do. Create smaller objectives and goals. Gather the ornaments. Bring in the tote boxes and sort. Take Christmas lights off outside. Wash Christmas dishes. And gradually it will all get done. It helps to have mini-rewards as well. Like, for instance, a Starbucks latte when the tree is all done. Donate. Say goodbye to unwanted gifts. It’s the thought that counts, but don’t let good intentions add additional clutter to your post-holiday house. Make a clean break, and re-package gifts that didn’t work out. If appropriate, consider giving those gifts to the charity of your choice. Holiday cleaning will be easier without those extra items. Bring a big balikbayan box down and fill it with items that can be donated. Games that got played only a couple times, toys that we’ve outgrown and more. Bring a big black contractor garbage bag down and work to fill it with stuff that is broken, or doesn’t fit the “donate” category.
Clean the guest bedroom. Wash the bed sheets in warm or hot water with a capful of white vinegar to ensure they are fresh. While sheets are in the dryer, use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to clean the mattress thoroughly, paying special attention to the seams. Replace the bedding, and fluff the pillows to make your next guests comfortable. Take down those lights. When you do, you’ll save yourself time next year if you put them away using one simple trick: wrap strings of lights around a piece of cardboard or a paper towel tube to keep them organized and easy to unravel next season. This also keeps you from being the neighbor who still has strings of outdoor Christmas lights up on Valentine’s Day.
Enjoy that moment where the house feels like it’s gained an enormous amount of space. Once the tree is down your house would feel like its gained another room. It’s crazy how much extra space it feels like then — so one truly remembers it for those times when it felt like we’re too crowded. Be thankful. Take a moment and just be thankful. For your family, for the time to spend together, for the freedom to celebrate Christmas, for the year, and for the new year, for health, for the presents that you received, and so forth. Let the process of taking down the Christmas decorations be a lesson of gratitude.