Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it takes work to make it so. And then that wonderful time of the year results in additional clean up work afterward. It’s good work, and it’s meaningful, but it can be overwhelming.

More than the extra dishes or the laundry backup, after Christmas chaos comes with the packaging, new toys, wrapping paper bits, and did I mention new toys?

So much stuff strewn all around!

Reveling in some chaos is part of the holiday, but eventually it has to be dealt with. Here’s how I tackle it:

Three steps to recovering the house after Christmas

1. Throw away all trash.

Grab a big garbage bag and go around collecting all the trash you can. Orange peels, lego pouches, wrapping paper bits, torn boxes, ads from packaging, used kleenex – every little thing that can be thrown away, do it now. Don’t worry about anything but the trash. Go around collecting only trash, and collect up as much of it as you can.

Run it out to the dumpster and feel the relief of your home losing 10 pounds.

2. Put away all normal things that have homes.

Next, ignore all the new toys and presents and focus on the other out-of-place stuff. Put away shoes, socks, coats, dishes, tape, groceries – anything that already has a home in your home and just needs to be put back there.

3. Give new homes to new things.

This is the hardest step. There are so many new, incoming things at this point that it can be overwhelming. What they need are homes. Books need to go onto shelves. Legos go into the Lego bin. Doll things go into the doll chest.

Whatever you have already, fit in the new things in the home that works for them. You might need to (after kids’ bedtime) thin broken or unloved items from the toy bins to make room for the new things. But you’ll probably also have new things to find new homes for. Sterilite and rubbermaid containers are my favorite for these, and with the lids on they stack.

When things don’t have homes or aren’t in their homes, they are clutter.

Give all new things homes as soon as you can after Christmas to avoid having the hazy chaos hold on in your house and in your mind.

Set up your own EHAP habit:

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