Make holidays less stressful with a pre-Christmas cleanup

Make holidays less stressful with a pre-Christmas cleanup

The last thing you want to do during the holiday season is add yet another item to your list of things to do. But giving your home a solid declutter before Christmas will actually make the holidays less stressful. Everything runs better in a clean environment, so use this guide to tackle a few areas each day, and by the time Christmas Day is here you’ll be ready to relish in your accomplishments.

  • Start low. Under the bed is the perfect storage place for wrapping paper and other small items, so tidy it up now before it’s time to start storing.
  • Whether you’re traveling near or far for the holidays, a clean car will make commuting merrier. Clean out trash and give it a quick swipe with the vacuum. Keep it clean by hanging bags on the back of chairs for future trash.
  • Manage your coat closet for snow days by purging little-used or too-small outerwear. Put lighter jackets on one side and heavy coats on the other for easy grabbing.
  • Then head to the rest of your closets. It doesn’t need to be an all-day project, but do get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a few months. Consider an inexpensive organizer for shoes or even socks.
  • You’ll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen, so make it an enjoyable place to be by decluttering the fridge. Make space for your favorite dishes in the fridge, and clean up the storage bins and shelving.
  • Next, tackle the junk drawer. It’s easy to close the drawer and ignore the mess, but it’s even easier to clean it once and organize it for life with silverware trays. This might be the least fun task, but trust us, it’s worth it.
  • Tupperware is a holiday staple if you want to send guests home with leftovers, or take Tupperware with you for your own leftovers. Organize your Tupperware stash and finally toss those extra lids. Then find a good sale on a new Tupperware sets to permanently “loan” to hungry friends and family.
  • While the kids are home from school, clean out their backpacks and start fresh in January. Take a few extra minutes to clean out purses and wallets too.
  • Christmas break is a great time to cuddle and watch movies, so make sure yours are organized. Get each DVD back in its original case, and weed out any movies you don’t watch anymore.
  • Take a deep breath … and then tackle the toy room. Purging is absolutely necessary before the kids bring in their haul of new Christmas toys. Chances are they won’t even notice what’s gone.
  • Finally, the key to a good declutter is giving back. Don’t just toss your hard work in the trash; donate it to a good cause. You can enjoy your clean home, and others will enjoy your generosity.

Easy Ways to Tackle Fall Cleaning

fall cleaningThere are certainly more exciting things to do in the Fall than clean. Pumpkin patches, holidays, sipping warm apple cider and doing absolutely nothing. But your home and your sanity will thank you this winter if you do some simple Fall cleaning now. A little bit of effort will ensure a more relaxing winter season later on.

Work on the outside:

  • Re-painting your house numbers will give your home new life, and all in under 15 minutes. Take a cup of coffee with you and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.
  • Your garage will need a little upkeep after Summer festivities. Sweep out dust and debris, and stash away all of those summer toys. Get a head start on Winter by creating your own impromptu mud room right in the garage with a new door mat. Also check your Winter essentials (like the snow blower and shovels) so you aren’t scrambling when the first snow falls.
  • Start of your seasonal porch decorating by first giving it a good sweep. A hose or pressure washer will make cobwebs and leftover dirt practically disappear. Then grab some pumpkins, and put that clean porch to good use.
  • If you’re experienced and have the right tools, make sure your yard is ready for snow by trimming tree branches and bushes. It’s a great way to make your yard look sharp, but it’s also preparing your landscaping for a heavy dose of snow. You can also outsource this task to a professional to save some time.

Cleaning indoors:

  • Once you’re ready to move the cleaning inside, start with a clean vacuum. Replace old filters, and make sure the canister is clean. Trust us, you’ll be using it a lot.
  • Make dust bunnies your enemy. Dust all of those places you’ve been ignoring while you were having fun this Summer. Check light fixtures, ceiling fans, and window treatments for any dust hiding out. Use a dust cloth or your trusty vacuum to make dust disappear.
  • It’s been a few months since the coat closest was put to use. Take a peek at what’s been hiding in there and sort through your winter outerwear while you’re at it. Take note of any items you’re missing (hates, gloves, etc.) and make a trip to a thrift store with any items you no longer need.
  • Find all of the stray crumbs under cushions and furniture and get rid of it! Pests will start looking for a warm meal once the temperatures start to drop, and you don’t want your house to entice them inside.
  • Don’t worry, you’re almost done. Finish up your Fall cleaning by going through the pantry and cupboards. Toss anything that expired, and if you find you have way too much of some items, consider donating them and brightening someone else’s autumn with the gift of a full stomach.

 

4 tips to make your home sparkle this Spring

spring-cleaningSpring is well on its way, and it’s time to clean up the last remaining messes of winter. If Spring Cleaning is a ritual you keep annually, then you are definitely not alone. Up to 72 percent of homes get a down and dirty scrubbing each spring.

But don’t get overwhelmed, take little steps at a time to get everything sparkling this season.

Let the breeze in

If your motivation is still in slow motion, take a whiff of that beautiful spring air coming through some open windows, and let it amp up your inspiration for cleaning. Before your house starts looking clean, let it start smelling clean. But beware of the seasonal allergies that open windows bring—let it get you geared up for step number two:

Dusting

Get rid of the dust, and clear up those allergies. Your ceiling fan blades might be looking a little intimidating after a long winter, but make them shine with a quick sweep from your vacuum attachment. Or go the extra mile with an old pillow case: put it around each fan blade, one at a time, and swipe away dust by trapping it inside the case. Clear cobwebs from high ceilings, and suck dust out of vents while you have the vacuum going. Don’t forget the bathroom vent; you may not notice how clogged it’s become, but you’ll be sure to notice how amazing it looks once it’s clean.

Starting High

The trick to spring cleaning is working smarter, not harder. So it’s important to start at the top and work your way down. Don’t sweep and polish floors until you’ve removed dust and debris from high places. Falling dust will only make you backtrack, re-cleaning areas you’ve already covered. When you’re ready for those low spots, use a dryer sheet on baseboards for a fresh scent and to make dust disappear. They also help to keep new dust from resettling on woodwork.

De-Clutter

Not even a gleaming stove and spotless floors can take away the distraction of cluttered counters and shelves piled with old newspapers. Take this time to slowly chip away at the clutter that has been piling up all winter. But do it slowly, one day at a time, and you’ll get fabulous results without getting overwhelmed. Give yourself 30 days to declutter one area each day. A bedroom closet, the junk drawer, the living room shelves, anything with excess “stuff.” Toss unusable items in the trash, but keep totes handy for dropping off at a donation center or for organizing items for a future garage sale.

Once the house is clean, keep those windows open and relax in a sparkling house with that magical spring scent wafting through the air. But don’t stop there. Keep up a regular cleaning schedule—just little bits at a time—to keep next year’s spring cleaning much more manageable and satisfying.

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