Literally Everything You Need to Clean After the Holiday Season

Living room with Christmas decorations and tree
credit: Amber Thrane

There's so much to love about the holidays: decorating trees, making ornaments, baking cookies, wrapping (and unwrapping!) presents, and visiting with friends and family. However, once the holidays are over, let's face it — you can be left with quite an overwhelming mess. No need to get stressed out. Here is what, where, and how you will need to clean after the holiday season is over.

How to Clean up a Christmas Tree

Holiday decor in white living room
credit: Amber Thrane

1. Whether your tree is artificial or live, you'll need to start by removing the ornaments and topper. Store them in a tote, making sure to wrap fragile ornaments up in tissue paper or newspaper to keep them from breaking. There are many storage bins available in stores that are made just for storing ornaments as well.

2. Remove the lights. Store them by wrapping them around a cardboard cereal box to keep them from being a tangled mess the next year.

3. Vacuum up any pine needles (real or artificial).

4. If you have a real Christmas tree, check out this guide for disposing and cleaning up a real Christmas tree.

5. If you have a faux Christmas tree, you can either store it in its original box, wrap it in a large sheet, or purchase a Christmas tree storage bag.

6. If your tree has ribbon on it, gently remove it and wind it up, then store in a plastic bag. Ribbon can be used for many years if stored properly.

7. Launder your Christmas tree skirt according to the manufacturer's directions and store in a bin.

Pro Tip: Label, label, label! Be sure to label any totes, bins, bags, or boxes before storing. This will make decorating and finding what you need year after year a breeze!

How to Clean and Store Tabletop and Mantel Decorations

Christmas mantel with wooden forest trees
credit: Trisha Sprouse

1. Start by removing and wrapping tabletop and mantel decor and store in a tote or bin. Fold things like stockings and linens, and then wrap them in tissue paper before storing. Use a dusting wand to remove any dust from surfaces. If there is glitter left behind, use a lint roller to remove any particles left behind.

2. If you have used removable sticking hooks to hang stockings, gently remove them and store in a baggie. Even if the sticky parts are no longer usable, you can reuse the hooks and buy more stickers for them.

3. If you have scented holiday candles that haven't been burned completely, you can store them in a plastic baggie and they should maintain their smell the next year.

How to Store Holiday Dishes

Holiday table using mini rosemary wreaths
credit: Caroline Burke

1. To store holiday dishes, it's best to wrap each dish individually in tissue paper or newspaper, and pack them in bins. Be sure to nestle like pieces together to keep them from shifting in the bins.

2. If you have holiday cookie cutters, place them together in a plastic baggie and store in a bin with other holiday kitchen items.

How to Store Outdoor Holiday Decorations

Faux Christmas Tree Using a Tomato Cage
credit: Sara Albers

1. To store faux greenery, wrap it around a large cereal box to keep it from tangling, and store in a bin or large plastic bag. You can store outdoor lights in the same manner.

2. Store large inflatable decorations in bins.

3. Wrap any large outdoor decorations that cannot be deflated in old sheets or blankets.

Pro Tip: Make sure all outdoor holiday decor is completely dry before storing to keep them from smelling musty and growing mold and mildew.


Jessica Kielman

Jessica Kielman

Jessica owns two blogs, Mom 4 Real and Pour Me a Cocktail. She has been sharing easy cleaning tips, recipes and ideas with her readers for over 7 years. She has been featured on the Rachel Ray Show, TODAY Parenting, MSN, Country Woman Magazine and more.