No one likes handling the mess after a big party. And as much as we all love the holiday season, it means having to do several of those resets back-to-back! We barely have time to get our homes back in order after Thanksgiving before the winter holidays roll around and throw us into chaos again. It can seem impossible to keep up. But post-party resets don’t have to be daunting. All you need is a plan.
We’re here to help you get your November cleanup done as soon as possible so that you’re ready to dive into the holly and snow. While every household is different, sticking to a basic system can help give your cleanup some structure.
Battle Plan: Break your cleanup down into a checklist of rooms (or “zones”) and work one zone at a time. Tackle each zone in three stages: declutter, put-away, clean.
Have your garbage bag ready? Good! Make your first sweep of the zone by gathering up all the obvious trash (napkins, paper dishes, wrappers, etc.). Make sure to check in corners and under/around furniture. Don’t forget to peek between the couch cushions! Once you’re done, keep a garbage bag in reach just in case any more stray trash appears during your cleanup.
Now that the garbage is out of the way, you can focus on the rest of the clutter. It may be tempting to just grab things as you see them and walk them back to their proper places. If the mess is relatively small, it’s not a terrible method. If you’re facing a much larger cleanup, however, it’s a good idea to work in clearly defined stages.
Before transporting anything, gather up all the clutter and sort it by category. Do yourself a favor during this step: don’t leave any stone unturned! Scoop up every bit of clutter, even if it seems minor or hard to categorize. Once you’re done, you’ll know that you’re completely done, and the difference in your home will be obvious.
Moving items is the step where categorizing your clutter pays off. Instead of wandering back and forth across your house, you can determine where everything is going beforehand (taking serving items back to the closet, dropping linens to the laundry room, etc.). You’ll finish up in just one or two trips per category! Waiting to transport items until the end also keeps you from losing track of your task by getting stuck in other rooms.
Garbage gone, check. Clutter wrangled, check. Now you can focus on getting your room back in order! Depending on how things were before the party, this step could go quickly or it could be the most cumbersome. For example: if you haven’t downsized your table linens in a while, stuffing them all back into the sideboard might seem like a battle all on its own!
We’re all about getting organized here at Abundance. But if spaces in your home need serious reworking, post-party resets are not the time to tackle them. Just focus on getting your rooms as functional as possible again. Save the deeper organizing work for when your home isn’t as busy.
If your spaces are disorganized to the point that a clean put-away seems impossible, here are a few of our favorite shortcuts:
- Are your storage spaces are too crowded for you to easily keep your categories together? Go broader. Do a quick appraisal of what’s already stored in the space and reshuffle it into very general categories. Merging similar categories isn’t ideal, but it does keep you from getting lost in the weeds. Once that rough sort is done, re-store the items from your post-party reset according to your new, more general groupings.
- Completely out of storage space? Cut surface clutter by binning everything you can. Don’t just sweep items into boxes indiscriminately: use the categories you made during the declutter process to keep like with like. Use sticky notes or labels to mark each container. Your future self is going to have enough work on her hands–she’ll thank you for making things straightforward!
- Get rid of the excess! Now isn’t the time to dive into reorganizing, but you can still make small edits. Are you finding it hard to put away your used party supplies because your furniture is filled with supplies you didn’t use? If those supplies have gone untouched for several months or a year or more, it may be time to let them go. Every inch of storage in your home is valuable real estate. Save it for the possessions that earn their keep!
The best thing about this system is that it saves the easiest step for last! Sure, cleaning isn’t fun, but it requires a lot less brain power than organizing. And now that your spaces are clear, you can blast through your chores without anything getting in your way. Just remember the basic rules of thumb when it comes to cleaning:
- Work top to bottom. Don’t vacuum the floor and wipe counters afterwards. You’ll just be knocking mess back onto what you already cleaned!
- “Dry” cleaning comes before “wet” cleaning. Dust and vacuum before sponging and mopping.
- Sometimes simple is better. If you’re overwhelmed by all the different kinds of surface and specialty cleaners, try dialing it back. Distilled white vinegar and baking soda are excellent all-purpose cleaners that can handle most day-to-day messes without the need for bleach or a million different spray bottles.
Stick to this process and your post-party resets should stay on track. How are the holidays treating your home so far? Are you facing any other challenges as we get into the season? Let us know over at the Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook!