After the festive holidays, the magic evaporates slightly. You’re probably looking at piles of wrapping paper strewn everywhere, an assortment of gifts that need to be stored properly and there’s an entire mountain of things to organise and clean.
However, don’t worry, getting your home back to its normal state is easy and doesn’t require much heartache.
Want to add some pep and motivation? Switch on some music, as Alina Moyanno, a Dubai-based American organising and decluttering expert says. It’s all about your perspective. If you keep dreading cleaning up the house, you’ll keep postponing it, she says. “And then, you get more irritated and stressed seeing a messy house. So, take the plunge, start, make it fun, and get your friends or family to join in.”
Make the to-do list
Where do you need help?
Make a list of tasks, says Moyanno. You can assess what seems difficult and what you require help with, she says. If you have kids, and some tasks aren’t easy for kids, you can leave them out of it. “Decide who can help you with what, so everyone gets to do something. Otherwise, people are just standing around unnecessarily and that’s a waste of resources,” she says.
The packaging and the presents
Look at all the presents, wrapping paper and boxes around. “Remove the boxes that you don’t need,” explains Shelina Jokhiya, a Dubai-based decluttering and organising expert. “You don’t need to keep the empty boxes after you have used the items for at least a week,” she says.
Put all the wrapping and ribbon into a recycle box. “If it is in a good state, and you will reuse it again, not just leave it in a cupboard to get dusty, then keep some of the wrapping. Not all of it,” she warns. If your children have new toys, you can apply the 2 for 1 rule. For every toy, two items could be donated, preferably ones that they don’t play with, or don’t work, says Jokhiya, “If items are broken, put them in recycling. You want to make room for the new toys coming in.”
If it is in a good state, and you will reuse it again, not just leave it in a cupboard to get dusty, then keep some of the wrapping. Not all of it. If your children have new toys, you can apply the 2 for 1 rule.
Most of us have the tendency to leave the presents under the Christmas tree, or on top of the cupboard. However, it adds to the clutter. So, after the festivities are over, you need to move them to their proper place, says Jokhiya, which could be the kitchen cupboard or playroom. “There should be a place for all your new items in your home.”
What about the presents that you didn’t like?
It happens; you can absolve yourself of the guilt if you didn’t like some gifts. As Jokhiya explains, if you received or bought presents that you didn’t like, you can put them back in their boxes. Find the gift receipt, put them in the car, or in a bag to take with you next time you go back to the shops to exchange the item or get a refund. “Check how long you have to return the item,” she adds.
Store your wrapper paper, advises Moyanno. Find a long bin, where you can store your holiday-themed gift wrap. You can keep it under your bed, or wherever you have a little room.
If you have a Christmas tree…
For those of you who went the whole nine yards and got a Christmas tree, you might have a little more work to do. “Remove the decorations and lights that are broken that you don’t like being on your tree or home or bring bad memories,” says Jokhiya. “Put them in the recycle bin or give them for donation. Then wrap your Christmas decorations, store them in a proper bauble box, or plastic boxes, which is labelled clearly. You want to make it easy for you to find all your Christmas items next year,” she adds.
Wrap your lights around cardboard, so you can identify them easily next year, adds Moyanno. So, you don’t have to deal with a tangled mesh of lights. Write notes to yourself for next year, about items that were broken or that need to be replaced, she adds. Ensure that you took all the ornaments from your tree, otherwise they will roll and fall out, and possibly break.
Check your fridge
Your fridge will be a sight, after the holiday feasting. Look at things that you don’t need, and toss out the ones with expiry dates, says Moyanno. “See what you will eat and what you won’t. Make sure you inspect your fridge thoroughly, so that items don’t get pushed to the back of the fridge and be forgotten, which will create other hygienic problems,” she adds.
"Get all the items that you bought for Christmas which are left and try to finish it in the next few days before they go off, otherwise if the items are unopened and not going to be eaten or used, give them to the food banks,” says Jokhiya. Now, you have decluttered spaces in your home.
Time for deep cleaning and getting rid of stains
Whew, you made it this far. Now as both the experts explain, do a thorough deep cleaning and mopping of your house. Sweep your carpets and vacuum, says Moyanno. Check your upholstery and dining cloths for stains. Remember, the longer a stain persists, it will take longer to remove. Wash all your linens and clean out your containers. Make sure you begin the new year on a fresh start, says Jokhiya.
2) The microwave will invariably be a mess. So, squeeze some lemon into a bowl full of water. Heat it up for six minutes. The steam will allow you to wipe away all the dirt with a towel.
3) If you're worried about the sink, spray some light flour and then use a microfibre cloth to scrub away at the mess that has accumulated. You'll see the sparkling difference in no time.