Picture of Sheila Chandra

Sheila Chandra

How to get tidy again after Christmas

Christmas causes organising chaos!

As wonderful as Christmas is, it does bring a whirlwind of activity and untidiness. Unfamiliar routines, lots of extra people, cooking unfamiliar dishes, pine needles and wrapping! All in all it means that the spaces we so need to be a beautiful backdrop to our lovely family celebrations look like anything but…

Little and often…

The one time I do advocate a general tidying up session every day is over Christmas. If you’ve organized your home well, generally it won’t be needed. But if there are visitors in the house who are unfamiliar with where everything goes, and when you have extra items which you haven’t yet found a place for knocking around, some extra effort is usually essential. For instance, load the dishwasher and run it immediately after a meal. Keeping on top of things can stop you feeling like a bomb has just hit your home – and it’s well worth roping in partners and children for a little ‘spot’ tidying just to help you stay on top of things.

Find the right place for new items straight away

Chances are, you’ll have got some lovely presents over Christmas – which haven’t got regular places yet. Make it a rule to work out where they should be stored pretty quickly. So that fabulous new microplane grater? It goes in the utensils drawer where you’ll know to look for it. Don’t leave it on the mantel or living room floor until someone trips over it. Similarly that new jumper should be hung up straight away, or folded and stored with your other knitwear. Or bypass the whole process and encourage people to give you experiences or food they know you’ll enjoy, rather than things.

Make space before Christmas arrives

You can make things easier for yourself by preparing – alongside feeding the Christmas cake or menu planning. First, if you’re a parent and you know your little darlings are going to get lots of toys for Christmas, how about encouraging them to clear out and donate some toys in November? These can be passed on as presents to other deserving families via the local charity shop. And your pantry… how about using up those tins lurking at the back of the cupboard and the items almost past their best in the freezer? Incorporate them into November meal plans and you’ll save yourself lots of headaches when you want to prepare Christmas vegetables or starters in advance and freeze them. Or buy unusual ingredients which need to be stored. If you know someone is gifting you a floor lamp – why not make space for it beforehand?

Set up a recycling bin when unwrapping presents

The test of whether paper can be recycled is whether it stays ‘scrunched’ when you crush it. Encourage everyone to put scrunchable paper in a big bag or bin ready to be left out for recycling. That way, you won’t be picking up wrapping debris all the time. Ditto for cardboard. Keeping a Stanley knife (or similar) available when presents are taken out of boxes, means you can cut the tape and flatten them immediately, ready to be put in a box or bin to be taken out. If you save ribbon or cards, again, provide a bag or bin into which people can put them. A little forethought and preparation means you can cut down on effort.

Implement ordinary routines as soon as possible

It’s tempting to let things slide, but do clear up that sofa bed as soon as your guests have left. Reach for leftovers so that they don’t clutter up the fridge. It saves cooking again and they’re often even more delicious. Become a fridge forager and make bubble and squeak out of leftover vegetables or sandwiches and/or curry out of turkey. It will save you money too! Empty bins frequently. A tidy home encourages everyone to keep it that way…

If you need some new year inspiration to get your home in order, I’m offering clutter coaching. Contact me to find out more about how I work….


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