The Christmas tree has come and gone. The champagne and eggnog have run dry. There's not a slice of fruitcake in sight. Yes, it's the New Year all right—and with the best part of the season behind us, we're likely left with a messy, cluttered house. How to get things back to normal? Why a good ol' post-holiday house cleaning, natural style.
While many people wait until spring to do a full, deep cleaning, I find it's actually one of the best ways to kick off the New Year. It's not only inspiring, but a clean, organized, and comfy home makes hunkering down for those cold winter months all the more enjoyable.
Phase 1: Removing the holiday remnants
I know. You don't want the holiday season to ever end! But it must, and it retains its sanctity if we don't drag it out, either. Start with the decorations—are they all down and packed away? Perhaps you might want to mark those boxes before you toss them into the attic so they're easier to find next year?
And what about that tree? Don't just chuck it out for the garbage men. Some can be replanted, others can be turned into firewood, or check out this awesome tip for using your discarded tree in the most unexpected way: make balsam fir scented satchets.
Do a sweep of your kitchen cupboards, too. Will you use some of those leftover baking ingredients? If the answer is no, why not donate them to a food bank?
Save the holiday cards if you got 'em—they can be turned into art, place settings, or be used in your 2013 vision board. If they can't be used, make sure to recycle them instead of dropping them into the trash.
Hold on to all the boxes the gifts came in, they may be useful for your organization project!
Phase 2: You are a Buddha! De-clutter, organize & feel the zen
One of the best attributes to being an adult is that you don't ever have to clean your room…or your house. But if you're suddenly feeling as if your parents were way underselling the importance of a clean room, you may be due for an overhaul.
Clutter can build up fast, especially when we're preoccupied during the holidays. Spend an afternoon, or a few, to organize and de-clutter your home. We often hold onto items people have given us, but remember, memories and experiences are far more valuable in the long run. If you're not regularly using an item, why not donate it? If it's too sentimental to donate, store it away safely (use one of the holiday box leftovers).
Use small boxes or containers to organize drawers, cabinets, and closets. Try to keep surfaces clear and clean.
Clothes that haven't been worn in a year should probably be donated or stored away.
Commit to a regular de-clutter program—once a month or at the start of every season. You'll find the more organized and systematized your home is, the less time you'll spend losing or looking for things.
Phase 3: The deep clean!
Did you know that the more we stare at our dusty bookshelves and un-mopped floors, the less dirty they can actually look! But just because we acclimate to the grime and slime, doesn't mean we should leave it be.
Inside of our home can be five times more polluted than outside, so it's important that we regularly clean and sanitize our homes. And we can do this without toxic chemicals. Although most of us associate the smell of bleach and detergents with "clean" we can actually achieve the same effects with natural products such as vinegar, lemons, salt, baking soda, and essential oils.
Mix one part white vinegar to four parts warm water. Add in your favorite essential oils (lemon and lavender are great clean scents). You can use this to clean all your countertops, porecelain, wood, and stainless steel. Use salt or baking soda for stuck on ick or stains. Move the furniture. Get into the corners. Blast music. Have fun.
Need a little incentive?
Try giving yourself a reward. Maybe it's a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant, a bottle of wine, chocolates…there's no shame in rewarding yourself for a job well done! After all, what's the point of a clean home if you aren't enjoying it to the fullest?Learn more about Jill Ettinger
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