There's always so much to do this time of year. You have several parties to go to - and perhaps even parties to host. And, you're in a constant struggle to keep your home picked up through all the blur of activity. Then, there is all the work that needs to be done after the holidays - taking down and storing the decorations, getting the house back in order and cleaning everything up.
To help you through all of this, we've compiled a list of 12 holiday cleaning tips and suggestions:
1 | Disposing of your Christmas Tree
Many Arizona cities pick up trees on trash days after the holiday. Other cities have tree drop-offs at parks and other locations where trees are recycled for mulch. Check times and locations now – before Christmas – so you don’t miss out on these opportunities. Remove lights and ornaments before dumping the tree. Artificial trees and wreaths are not accepted.
2 | Untrimming the Tree
Get organized for next year while storing everything. Draw a map of how you decorated the tree and house and where all the lights went. Label strands of light with tags that say where they go. If you can, use plastic storage bins to put everything away instead of cardboard boxes. Label all the containers with their contents to speed up the decorating next year.
3 | Storing Strings of Lights
If light strings are always a mess after a year in storage, try something new this year. Among ideas online: Wrap strings around heavy pieces of cardboard and tape ends to the cardboard; wrap a light string around your hand and elbow to build a circle and then secure the circle with wire zip ties; store individual strings in plastic bags with zippers.
4 | Recycling Wrapping Paper
Use leftover paper to gently wrap around delicate ornaments and decorations as you pack them away.
5 | Organize Christmas Cards
Before tossing them, save photos you want to keep and record addresses you need.
6 | Making Room for Gifts
If you have lots of gifts you love, you may need to toss out or give away old clothes and equipment to find storage space. Use this as an opportunity to clean closets and make donations to the right places.
7 | Follow-up on Spills and Stains
Of course, you plan to act quickly after a spill. Try using a spray bottle of cleaner or a light mixture of warm water and mild dish soap to spritz spots on furniture and carpeting. Keep on spraying and blotting them up. If it’s a really bad stain – like mustard or red wine – try pouring club soda on the area. Or pour salt on red wine stains to keep the stain from setting. In the worst cases, call in a professional later after the holidays.
8 | Filling in that Dent in the Drywall
If the hole is small, this is easy. You need drywall mud compound, small drywall patches, fine sandpaper, a 4-inch and 8-inch drywall knife plus paint to match the wall. Also buy a spray can of wall texture. Before starting the job, practice by spraying a piece of wood. If you want a smooth texture, you’ll need a trowel to use on the sprayed area. Start the actual fix by trimming rough edges of the hole and pasting a self-adhering patch over it with the 4-inch knife. Scrape drywall mud over the patch and smooth it out. Let dry 24 hours; then add a second coat with the 8-inch knife. Dry that thoroughly as well and sand lightly. Then lightly spray the area with texturing and trowel it if necessary. If the texture doesn’t look right, you can scrape it off and start over. After the spot dries, you repaint.
9 | Caring for Pricey Stone and Quartz Countertops
Granite, marble, quartz, engineered stone all need tender care. Use a mild soap and water solution for regular cleaning and polishing; avoid harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia or acids. Don’t use commercial bathroom cleaners on these surfaces either. You can use a sealer on them occasionally, but not often.
10 | Saving the Poinsettias
Clip off a few dead leaves and flowers and junk the foil surrounding the pots. Then give poinsettias lots of bright indirect light next to sunny windows. Water them once or twice a week. They prefer moderate temperatures, so you’re not going to move them outside in the summer. They will flourish inside the house. Soon you can transplant them to new pots.
11 | Cleaning the Oven
Did that 16-pound turkey and all the trimmings mess up your oven? You can find lots of recipes for naturally cleaning oven walls like spreading a mix of baking soda and vinegar all over the insides, letting it sit overnight, then removing it. But supermarket oven cleaners, although smelly, can be faster and easier. You can also use your oven’s self-cleaning cycle if you have one, but don’t wait to do it until it’s hot outside. Some homeowners also avoid self-cleaning for fear of damaging the oven. See more ideas here.
12 | Polishing Stainless Steel Appliances
Slightly dampen a microfiber cloth or regular towel with water and then apply some stainless steel cleaner to the cloth. Then polish the surface and wipe it dry with another dry cloth or towel. Don’t apply a heavy coat of cleaner onto the appliance surface even though directions on the cleaner may say so. This toweling method works faster, is less messy and will save on costs of the cleaning compound.
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