The Ultimate Day-After-Christmas Cleanup Guide

After Christmas Cleanup

Cleaning up after Christmas is over is always a bittersweet event for me. On the one hand, it’s sad to say goodbye to the magic of the holidays. But on the other hand, it always feels really good to reclaim the space that the Christmas tree takes up! Whatever your feelings on the matter are, it’s a task that inevitably needs to get done. But rather than thinking of it as a chore, you can choose to see it as an opportunity! There are several things you can do to not only make your cleanup more enjoyable, but you can also set yourself up for success when the holidays come back around next year. Check out these tips to making the most out of your holiday cleanup.

After Christmas Cleanup

Make It Fun!

Dreading the cleanup only makes it worse. There’s a great line in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, where Newt Scamander said, “My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.” So true! So put on some music, get the family together, and knock out the cleaning with a smile.

After Christmas Cleanup

Take A Picture

Before you start your cleanup, use your phone to snap a few photos. If you loved how you arranged everything on your mantle, having a photo to reference will help you recreate it next year!

After Christmas Cleanup

Decide Where You Need Help

Make a list of tasks that need to get done, and decide which ones you’ll want help with. This can be based on the difficulty of each task, or which tasks aren’t kid-friendly (like storing ornaments.) That way you can call people in as you need them, rather than have several people just standing around.

After Christmas Cleanup

Make An Ornament Storage Box

Ornament storage boxes are great for keeping your ornaments safe during the year, but you don’t need to go out and buy one! If you have a regular storage tote, you can easily turn it into a storage box for your ornaments.

Read More: Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments Storage Box

Why Didn't I Think Of That?? - The Holiday Edition

Wrap Your Lights

Wrap your lights around a piece of cardboard to make them easy to identify and unwrap next year. No more tangled mess of lights to contend with!

Read More: Why Didn’t I Think Of That?? – The Holiday Edition

After Christmas Cleanup

Store Wrapping Paper

A long and shallow storage bin makes a great storage solution for your holiday-themed gift wrap. The wrapping paper will stay safe and dry for next year, and you can slide the bin right under your bed or wherever you have a bit of extra room.

After Christmas Cleanup

Keep A Box For Donations

Keep a box where you can corral things that got replaced over the holidays (like decorations, toys, clothes, etc.) It can be helpful to institute a “get one, toss one” rule, or even a “get one, toss two” rule, if you could use some general decluttering. For instance, if you got a new pair of shoes for Christmas, look through your shoes to find a pair you don’t wear much any more, and put it in the donation box.

After Christmas Cleanup

Leave A Note

Write reminder notes for next year to store with your decorations. Maybe you want to remind yourself of decorations that were broken and need to be replaced. (Although you could just replace them in the coming days, since most holiday decor will be significantly discounted pretty much everywhere!)

After Christmas Cleanup

Recycle The Tree

If you’ll be disposing of a real tree after the holidays, hit the web to find out when and how your city collects trees to be composted. Composting trees is environmentally friendly, creates great compost for gardeners, and doesn’t take up space at the landfill.

After Christmas Cleanup

Store Gifts For Next Year

Let me just say that I am not supporting OR condoning the practice of re-gifting! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you got a gift this year that you plan on re-gifting next year, put together a box where you can store them. Make sure it’s labeled, put it in the closet, and you won’t have to struggle to remember where you put it next year.

After Christmas Cleanup

Double Check The Tree

It’s easy to make sure you got all the ornaments out of a fake tree, because the tree usually gets disassembled and packed away. But it can be tricky to be sure you got everything down from a real tree! Make sure you got everything by rolling your tree around on your lawn. Any hidden ornaments will fall right out!

After Christmas Cleanup

Check For Stains

Do a sweep of your carpet, upholstery, and tablecloths for stains. The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to remove, so you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort by addressing those stains now!

After Christmas Cleanup

Clean Out The Fridge

Take a good look at the contents of your fridge. Toss out expired foods, and things you know you won’t use. Now take a look at all those leftovers. Which ones are you REALLY going to eat, and which ones are you just saying you’ll eat? Toss out the ones you won’t eat, so they don’t get pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten about.

After Christmas Cleanup

Do Your Dry Cleaning

Take any holiday sweaters, dresses, and linens that need cleaning to the dry cleaners. You’ll be glad you got it out of the way when the holiday’s come back around again next year!

After Christmas Cleanup

Christmas Card Inventory

Take an inventory of the Christmas cards you received this year. Make a spreadsheet of who you got cards from, and their addresses from the envelopes. (Or check over your existing address book to make any necessary updates.) You’ll have a great head start for sending out Christmas cards next year!


Read This Next

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • When you put gifts away for possible re- gifting put who gave it to you so that you don’t accidentally give it back to them, or someone that they know.

  • I have used a box with dividers still in it that a case of wine came in….for rolls of wrapping paper for years. The liquor store will be happy to save you one. Also….we roll up sections of newspaper and roll the tree lights around it, leaving the ends plugged to each other….works great….one strand on each section. Our address book is stored on line in an excel report so each Christmas I print one for Christmas cards and highlight as I go the persons receiving paper cards. When we receive a card in return from that person I highlight their name in a different color so we know who sent one. Also gives the opportunity to double-check their address to be sure it’s correct on our address list. Merry Christmas all and I LOVE Jillee and all the wonderful tips we get all year.

  • And there are those who are downsizers and have no storage room for anything beyond the minimum necessities. One new clothing item in, one old clothing item out. The up side is nothing to clean up. No special day fanfare means no extra work afterwards. That said, we do spend the efforts to cook something special and time consuming for the family. There may be no space in our home, and there’s lot of love in our heart.

  • I agree. Who takes their stuff down the after Christmas. We usually do this task on New Years Day. Every year when it times to take stuff down I actually feel a little depressed.

  • I leave mine up til January 2 nd. Such good ideas, pictures of tree and mantel. Where I hung what pictures. The card board for the lights has me very happy. I spent 3 hours untangeling lights this year. I saved egg cartons I will put my antique ornaments in and have a container fro them. I will get the long narrow one when I get same one to build a backyard water feature this spring. Gee I feel much better all ready. Thank you again for great ideas.

  • Since we host New Year’s Eve, I take down the tree and convert things into silver and gold. Thanks for the great tips, especially the “Clearance list” for next year!

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