A Little Post-Holiday Organization

The gifts have been exchanged and stockings emptied. Time to get your house in order.

By FamilyTime


A few days after Christmas, many of the gifts you so lovingly wrapped and placed under the tree have been absorbed into your household. Others are still in their boxes or bags, waiting to be returned to the mall. Many have left the house, clutched in tiny hands or stuffed into bulging shopping bags.

The tree still sits happily in its annual place of honor, the wreath is on the door, and a few cheerful poinsettias decorate the living room. But as welcoming as it is, let’s face it: the house is a mess.

This week is a time of limbo: The holiday continues through the first of the year. Family and friends are still coming and going and you want to put your best foot forward. This means that you want the house presentable and festive.

What to do?

Pick Up the Paper

The first thing to do to make your life livable is to deal with the wrapping paper and empty boxes. You may have pushed this detritus to the side of the room for now but it can't stay there forever.

Many municipalities recycle cardboard and colored paper and if yours is one that does, the best option is to flatten the used paper and break down the boxes. Put them in the recycling bin or a brown paper bag, ready for curbside pick-up or a trip to the town dump and recycling center

If not, stuff the trash into a large plastic bag and put it in the garbage can. It’s not a good idea to burn it in the fireplace or wood stove. Some of the dye used to tint the wrapping paper may be toxic and escape into the atmosphere. Foil and other shiny paper should not be burned for the same reason.

Sure, you say. How many toxins could a handful of wrapping paper release? The amount you burn might be negligible, but multiply that by millions of households across the country and, well…you get the idea.

Organize the Refrigerator

Chances are your refrigerator is stuffed with leftovers, some better suited for snacking, others for meals. Take 20 or 30 minutes to go through it and assess what is there.

If helpful friends and family members put food away after festive meals, it might be in containers you don’t normally use, or stashed in odd drawers or shelves. Once you know exactly what food is there, you will use it more efficiently and readily — and that means less waste.

Get Rid of Sweets

If you are like so many of us, you have tins half filled with cookies and small cartons holding chocolates and nut brittle. Unless these are especially delicious or represent your favorite treats, consider dumping them.

What?! Waste food? Tossing three of four crumbling cookies does your waistline a favor and your kids really don’t need the excess sugar. On the other hand, if you are going to indulge, the winter holidays are the time to do so.

As with the food jammed in the ‘fridge, go through the cookies, candies, and cakes that have amassed in your kitchen. Reserve those you and your family truly love and get rid of the rest.

Relax, Relax

Once the paper and boxes are cleared away and the kitchen is organized, you can pat yourself on the back and enjoy the rest of the week. When the new year fully arrives, life will once more gear up to warp speed.

So for now, slow down, play games with the kids, take in a few movies, walk the dog along a new path, and maybe even take a nap.

Oh! Don’t forget to sample those sweets you decided deserve to be eaten!