Holiday Aftermath Clean Up Challenge
Well here we are in 2018. I don't know about you but I'm still stuck in a "Holidaze" too many celebrations, big meals and lazy days. In my previous post Hello 2018 I talked about some of the goals I want to achieve for 2018, however before I can even begin to make head way on those goals I need to organize my house.
I like to start a New Year off with what I like to call a "Holiday Aftermath Clean-up". Let's face it all those holiday goodies need a home. Even with all the holiday decor put away until next holiday season my house is still stuck in this Holiday mess.
Below is the list of things I like to tackle to really get a fresh start on the New Year. Beware it is a pretty lengthy list. It doesn't have to be done in a day either. This is why I am turning this into a challenge. Last year a friend of mine did a similar challenge in the spring. Each Day a new task was posted on Facebook and you would post before and after pictures in the comments. I plan on doing the same thing with this. So stayed tuned to our Facebook and Instagram page for a similar cleaning challenge in the coming days. I usually start room by room and purge and de-clutter in the process. The end result is a clean fresh start in all areas of the home for the New Year. Talk about putting a best foot forward.
Between holiday baking and family meals my kitchen takes a serious beating during the month of December. I like to give it some TLC come the new year. These are a few of the things I do to get my kitchen ready to tackle the New Year and challenges ahead.
- Clean out the Fridge and Freezer: This is something I like to do to really deep clean the fridge. Maintenance is easy after this is done. I take everything out of the fridge and clean and wipe down all the doors, shelves and crisper bins. While I am putting things back in the fridge I am able to check expiration dates and move things to the front that need to be consumed first as well as get rid of any expired condiments or jars and containers of food that have been in there for a while. I also take everything out of the freezer and wipe down shelves and check dates on foods. I'm great at dating my food, but sometimes it gets shoved to back. Get rid of freezer burnt food or the 1 chicken strip sitting all alone in the bag. **Pro Tip: Do this on a day before Garbage Day that way compost, recycling and garbage aren't sitting around for too long**
- Spice Cabinet Clean out: Did you know that even though spices have a pretty long shelf life they do lose their aroma and potency over time. Spices should be keep in air tight containers, in a cool dark place. You can tell if a spice is starting to lose it's flavor by taking a small amount in your hands rub it and smell and taste it. If the aroma isn't strong and the taste is hard to detect it probably means it's time to toss it and buy new. Bulk spices should be kept in air tight containers. The reason I like to go through the cabinet is sometimes I throw in the random spice packets from salads etc and they collect and hide in the cabinet and are forgotten about.
- Pantry Clean Up: I don't personally have a pantry, we have a very small place, so dry goods are stored between a couple of cupboards and my Hall closet. I like to pull everything out give it a good clean and then as I am putting things back check the expiration dates and move things around according to when it needs to be used. Organizing your pantry with baskets and clear containers is a great way to see what you have in stock and it looks a lot nicer than the store packaging.
- Cupboards and Drawers: We all have those cupboards and drawers that hoard many random objects, from cutlery, dishes, junk etc. I like to empty out the cupboards and drawers and give them a good wipe down interior and exterior. It lets me get a visual inventory of what I own and organize based on what I use the most. It also allows me to check on the small kitchen appliances and make sure all parts are where they should be and get rid of the random useless kitchen gadgets I may have acquired over the year thinking they were the greatest thing. (Like the microwave potato chip maker or mini pie press).
- Baseboards, Walls and floors: The final thing I like to do is wipe down the walls, baseboards and wash the floors. Our apartment is in a century home, there is no air circulation, so dust sticks to everything, especially in the kitchen. I even pull the stove out and clean up any lost treasures that may have made their way under or behind it. It's nice to walk into a clean kitchen and wiping everything down makes it that much easier to maintain in the long run.
I only have one bathroom so this is fairly easy challenge for me, however those with multiple bathrooms have a little more work on their hands.
- Cabinets: I like to start by taking everything out of the cabinets in the bathroom. I like to take everything out and sort through it. Cosmetics, medications, cleaners you name it. This is a good time to swap out tooth brushes (Conveniently we received new toothbrushes in our stockings at Christmas) It also lets me do an inventory on soaps, shampoos, etc that we may be running low on. **Pro Tip I do usually keep one old tooth brush for scrubbing window tracks, or other odd jobs.**
- Medicine Cabinet: I also go through all the medicine in the medicine cabinet. That stuff expires, it starts to lose it's potency over time. I collect all expired medication, prescriptions etc and put them in a ziploc bag. (You should never flush old medication down the toilet) I take this bag to our local pharmacy and they dispose of the medication safely for me.
- Cosmetics: This purge also gives me a chance to go through my makeup products. Did you know there is a an expiry date for cosmetics too? There is and with good reason. Holding on to that mascara or eye shadow? The bacteria that stays on these products is actually really gross and can cause serious harm. I toss all expired cosmetics and take this time to wash all my make up brushes.
- Baseboards, walls, rads and Floors: I take this time to do a thorough clean of the bathroom, wiping down the walls, baseboards and giving the floors a good wash. We have radiator baseboard heating so I like to vacuum out the rads and give them a good wipe down. This is usually where I discover lost bobby pins and hair elastics.
- Sinks, Tubs and Toilets: Everyone's favourite job, NOT! I take this time to really clean out our shower. Of course I clean it on a regular basis, but almost empty shampoo bottles and slivers of soap get the boot. I take this time to check grout on the tiles, silicone etc. (We just redid our bathroom so we are good this time around)
Each Household is different in the amount of bedrooms it has. We have a tiny 2 bedroom apartment, but the idea is the same for each room. I plan on painting and redecorating our room this month so this is a perfect place to start before painting. The less I need to remove from the room the better.
- Dressers: I take this time to empty out our drawers (I also do this at the changing of the seasons when I need to swap out clothes). I then take inventory. Socks with a missing partner or one that has a hole in it. We're not darning the socks here so they get tossed in the garbage pile. I also have two other piles, keep and donate. This is where I will place gently used clothing items that we don't wear anymore. (For my son's room Anything that is in good condition from the oldest gets put in a space bag for my youngest. I also like to clean off the top of the Dresser. It has become a dumping zone and landing place of receipts, pens, pocket change, jewelry etc.
- Closet: This one can sometimes be an entire day task on it's own. I take everything out of the closet. Because we have such a small apartment we use all closets and storage that is available. That means that my bedroom closet houses not only mine and my husbands clothes but a slew of other things as well. I take everything out and sort it into piles. Things I haven't worn in forever I put in the donate pile. (I remember seeing a tip that you hang all the clothes hangers backwards and once you wear something you place the hanger correctly then you know at the end of the year what you have worn and what you haven't anything that hasn't been worn gets donated) I never actually remember to do this but I have what I Call "the maybe section" and there are a ton of maybes that never actually get worn. They are finally going to go to someone who will wear them. Once the closet is completely empty I'm able to take inventory and look at what we have and what can be tossed. Last year I found a biology test from High School crumpled in the back corner.
- Under the Bed: As I mentioned before we utilize every little bit of space we have to store things and under our bed is one of them. I purchased these under the bed bins from Ikea they are made of fabric but they are perfect for putting the space bags with the out of season clothing in them. I also have much of my hubby's hunting clothing and decoys under our bed too. I like to pull everything out and give it a good vacuum and check for lost toys and socks.
- Nightstands: I like to clean off my night stand, it houses books, the home phone, and all the other random stuff that lands there. I like to give it wipe down and purge anything that doesn't belong.
- Floors, Baseboards, Rads and Walls: Notice a pattern yet? I like to give it all a good wipe down. This is a good time to clean out window ledges too.
This differs only slightly from other bedrooms as this room also houses toys. So I do the entire list above: and go through clothes that are ripped, don't fit etc.
- Toys: I like to go through all the toy bins that are in the bedroom and get rid of Happy Meal toys and Broken toys **Pro tip DO NOT Attempt this while your children are home or awake, smuggling toys and broken crayons is like working for a Cartel** Once I have done the "Mommy Purge" I usually ask my oldest to go through his toys and find things he would like to donate to kids who don't have all the nice things he does. There isn't as much resistance this way.
- Books: I like to go through the books it gives me a chance to check and see how they are fairing. My toddler likes to destroy books at this time, so this gives me a chance to see if any repairs need to be made and I can find any lost library books that have been in hiding.
- Stuffed Animals aka Stuffies: The bane of my existence. No matter how much we plead with family members they still buy the boys stuffed animals. We have one of those toy nets but it is overflowing. I don't know how my kids sleep with so much stuff on their bed. I like to take this time to weed out the stuffies. I usually take them and wash them in the laundry on delicate and none are the wiser. As cute as these little critters are they are an allergy Haven. We have a rule no new stuffies unless we get rid of 2. My oldest is getting better with this concept. Any bears that cannot be repaired will be tossed. **Protip check for local programs that clean and reuse stuffed animals**
Our living room also acts as our play room. So often there are toys scattered about. All those new toys from Christmas need a new home. Organization is key.
- Toy Shelves: I take this time to purge any broken toys, cars, or ripped books. We love the storage shelves from Ikea. They offer a space to put everything and the fabric bins keep toys out of sight. I like to also take this time to to move the furniture around and find any lost toys or books. I try to keep things in designated bins, cars, dinosaurs, trains etc. You get the idea. It makes it easier for the kids to find a particular item they are looking for.
- Furniture: I pull all the furniture away from the walls give them a good clean too. I vacuum out of the couch and chairs and at the end of the evening or when I know we will be out of the house for a few hours I sprinkle baking soda over all the furniture and let it sit. I vacuum it off later or the next morning. It's a great way to refresh fabrics.
- Cabinets: We used to have an entertainment cabinet that housed all of our tv equipment etc. But after my youngest decided to climb everything my husband built me a floating shelf to keep the little one from pulling on cords. I do still have a cabinet that houses a slew of DVD's and Blu-Rays we have accumulated over the years. Those things take up space. So I got some storage boxes and disc sleeves from the local office supply store and have removed most of the movies from their cases. This lets me see what we have and sometimes things get placed in the wrong cabinets so low and behold lost items.
- Walls, baseboards and floors: I take our area rug after giving it a thorough vacuum and roll it up so I can clean the entire floor area. Nothing like a fresh start. Stray crumbs from snack time, pieces of paper and lego often make their way under the rugs. I also do the same baking soda trick on the rugs. I take this time to vacuum out the rads and give them a good wipe down. You would be amazed at what ends up in there.
Closets and Cabinets
Not bedroom closets but hall closets, linen closets etc. Cabinets in hallways or entrance ways. We only have 1 main hall closet and it acts as a place for coats, shoes etc, but it's also our linen closet, pantry and main storage for the apartment.
- Clear out: Remove everything from the closet and give it a good vacuum. Wipe down shelves and wire racks. Wipe down doors and handles. This is a good time to look and see if anything needs a touch up of paint.
- Sort: Put things in piles before you start putting things back in the closet. 3 piles, Keep, Donate, and Trash. Hopefully your "keep" pile has been decreased slightly than what it was. Put things back and when storing items think of what you use most and organize accordingly. We space bag all out of season clothing and keep it at the back of the closet. Items we frequently use are easy to see and access.
There you have it. My Holiday Aftermath Cleanup. The list does seem daunting and I would be lying if I said it wasn't a ton of work. However, once it is done you get the most satisfying feeling. Everything is clean and organized, after a big purge it's far easier to maintain. Out with the old and in the with New. It truly gives you a fresh start to the New Year.
I look forward to seeing all the Before and After photo's of those going along in this Cleaning Journey with us.
Cheers to a Fresh Start and coming out of the "Holidaze"