Episode 45: January 9, 2013
by Amanda Thomas
The month of January can be a pretty uneventful month around the house. We’ve just gotten through weeks and weeks of cooking, entertaining, decorating, organizing, and cleaning, and we have at least another month until we can open the windows to start enjoying Spring Cleaning. So what is a domestic god or goddess to do in the middle of January?
There are a few projects that are especially great to tackle after the holidays because they can help you recover from the holiday chaos. If you are snowed in this January, or just looking for a couple of ideas to keep you busy until you are motivated for Spring Cleaning, this episode is for you!
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Project #1: The Holiday Decorations
Post holiday time is the perfect opportunity to clean out your holiday decoration stash. While it may be tempting to try and quickly cram all the holiday spirit into boxes and deal with it next year, it is actually much easier to sort through the items before packing them away. Chances are, when you were putting up your decorations, there were a few things that didn’t make it out of the storage boxes. These items may not match your home’s décor, look really dated, or possibly even remind you of a past relationship.
For whatever reason, if they didn’t make it into your home’s holiday décor this year, now is the time to move them out. Otherwise, next year, you are going to go through the same process again: Pull out the decorations, fish out your favorites, look over the other less-desirable ones while trying to figure out where you can put them, then close the box feeling guilty and vowing that you will find a way to incorporate them into the holiday display next year. This cycle can go on for years, so break it now by removing the decorations you haven’t used in 3 or more years.
This is also the best time to toss out broken items that you found while unpacking. Chances are, if you didn’t take the time to repair them during the 2 months when the holiday decorations boxes were easily accessible, you aren’t going to do it during the 10 months when the items are packed away. Toss anything that would take significant work to repair. Items that seem like they could be easily repaired can be donated, along with any of the good condition items, just make sure any broken pieces are put into a bag and taped to the larger item. Some people will specifically look for “fixer” projects at thrift stores, so it never hurts to donate easily fixable items.
Project #2: The Fridge
I don’t know about you, but my fridge seems to take on a whole different style during the holidays. It is normally pretty well-kept, with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, just like Nutrition Diva recommends. During the holidays though, it suddenly (magically?) fills with plastic containers full of goopy leftovers, boxes of desserts, and things like canned whipped cream.
Post holidays, that fridge starts to take a nasty turn. There always seems to be a container that got pushed to the back that holds a mystery blob of…something. And I’m pretty sure there is currently a single potato that has been patiently waiting its turn in our veggie drawer since Thanksgiving. Since all that stuff has to be cleaned out anyways, why not use the time to make sure the entire fridge gets a good once-through?
Now that it’s a new year, it makes checking expiration dates on refrigerated items easy. If it’s the wrong year, give it a toss. I realize that some people use expiration dates on certain items more as a recommendation than a rule. Growing up, we would keep salad dressing in our fridge until it was gone. The fact that the expiration date was 5 years earlier didn’t bother anyone.
My inner frugal girl can see that side of the argument against throwing away seemingly good food, but even items with long shelf-lives are still supposed to only be kept 3-6 months after opening to avoid gathering bacteria. So, if the mustard bottle says last year, give it a toss and at least start with a fresh bottle for the New Year.
Project #3: The Toy Room
If you have kids, post holiday time means the kids are playing with all their new, fancy toys. Even the most minimalist parents have a hard time controlling the amount of toys that come into the house during the holidays. Well-intentioned grandparents, aunts, uncles, and godparents all show their love through gift-giving. If this is the case in your house, take an afternoon and go through all the old toys before moving any of the new ones into the playroom.
Unless you want to hear your child cry, “But that’s my faaaavoriiiiite,” every time you lock eyes with a stuffed animal, I would advise to do this project while the kids are out of the house. Wait until they are back at school, at the babysitter’s, or offer to do a child-swap with one of their friend’s parents. The kids will think they are having a normal play date, but each of you are really getting a free Saturday to go through the toy room.
If you find yourself having a tough time figuring out which toys should stay and which should go, start with packing up the types of toys you’re pretty sure they haven’t used in a while. Put them in an opaque plastic storage bin, and then store it on a high shelf in a closet or in the garage. If your kids don’t ask for the dinosaurs again, you know the dinosaurs have been outgrown and can be donated. If you need a little more help getting your toy room in order, make sure to check out the episode Back to School Organizing Projects. Also, the episode Tips for a Happy Toy Room has some great ideas on getting your kids involved in the process from the amazing Mighty Mommy.
So now that you have a few ideas, you should be ready when your cleaning bug starts to itch. Do you have any favorite post holiday projects? Post all the details in the comment section below or on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall. You can also find me on Twitter, where I’m @TheDomesticCEO.
Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.
Broken Decoration, Refrigerator and Stuffed Animals images from Shutterstock