6 Things You Should Definitely Clean and Get Organized Over the Holidays

published Dec 18, 2022
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Credit: Minette Hand

I love winter, and the more I’m experiencing an “actual” one in Tennessee after living in Florida for 11 years, the more I can affirm that I love slowing down, hiding out, and snuggling somewhere warm, preferably by a cozy fire with a hot cup of tea and a book

I also love the almost abrupt halt of all of December’s hustle and bustle that happens after the holidays. Sure, there’s one last burst of festivities on New Year’s Eve (maybe, if you still have any energy left), but those few days between Christmas and New Year (or the end of winter break if you have kids) tend to be languid ones where no one expects much from anyone, whether it’s at work or home. 

If you’re anything like me, that new year, fresh start energy is starting to glitter and you might be itching to clear out your home and tap into a physical manifestation of the clean slate a new year promises. 

Here are some things you can clean or organize during this slow week without breaking the spell of rest that you also, no doubt, need: 

Declutter servingware and cookware you didn’t use.

As you’re putting away the Bundt pans and the roasting pan, take a moment to consider what cooking tools and serving platters you didn’t use during the holiday season. Donating items that are doing nothing but taking up precious space means a simplified holiday next year. Doing it now, while what you actually needed is fresh in your mind, means not having to second-guess your decisions. 

Get rid of holiday decor that no longer makes you happy.

Whether it’s that kitschy Christmas tree-shaped platter or the icicle lights that the puppy chewed on before you got them hung, holiday decor that doesn’t make you happy or that doesn’t work serves zero purpose. Throw it away or send it off to someone who will get more joy out of it than you do. Additionally, if you found yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of decor you’ve accumulated over the years, consider paring it down to what you love the most for a less stimulating holiday season next year. 

Toss blankets in the wash.

You’ve probably been using your blankets more this season than during any other. Chances are, those blankets need to be washed. Tossing your blankets in the washer and dryer hardly takes any time or energy, and you’ll enjoy fresher blankets as you’re snuggling. (Don’t forget to check care labels first.)

Lightly organize the fridge.

You’ll need to do this sooner or later, so why not do it a little bit now? No need to make it a full-blown fridge clean-out, but take a look and make a plan to use nearly expired leftovers or produce that needs to be consumed before going bad. A quick straightening out and tossing of items that have gone bad helps prevent waste and maybe even saves you from a bit of additional cooking. 

Dust the bookshelves.

Give your bookshelves and the tops of your books a dusting. The task is quick, and spending time with your books is always cozy. Plus, dusting will help keep your indoor air clean during these shut-in winter months when dust collects. 

Spot-clean your upholstery and carpets.

Now that you’re (probably) done hosting, take a look around your upholstered furniture and carpeting and address any stains. This may seem like a heavy-duty task, but getting rid of stains while they’re relatively fresh is easier than trying to get them out later. The chore is fairly quick and watching stains disappear is quite satisfying.