Your home probably feels especially cluttered around the holiday season. As you begin to bring your decorations out of storage and look for places to display cards from your loved ones, you come to the realization that you’re not sure where those things should go because all of the shelves and tables already have things on them. That causes frustration and can dampen your enjoyment of the season because nobody enjoys looking at dust and clutter.

People often use the phrase “spring cleaning” when discussing home cleaning projects, but the truth is that the best time to clean your home is actually around the holidays. Soon, there will be presents under the tree – and when the season is over, you’ll need to find room for all of the new things that you and your family members will receive. You’ll enjoy the season so much more if your home feels clean and organized, and you already know where all of the new things will go when the holidays are over.

Cleaning your home is the best DIY project for the holidays. Here’s a step-by-step plan that can help you get the most done with the least amount of effort.

Identify the Items You Don’t Need and Either Sell or Donate Them

The best way to reduce clutter in your home is by getting rid of the things you no longer need. It’s also the best way to ensure that you’ll have plenty of space for storing presents. Before you begin any major cleaning project, identify the things that you no longer need and come up with a plan for getting rid of them.

If you have large items such as furniture, the best way to sell them is typically by having a garage sale because large things are difficult or impossible to ship. Smaller items like collectibles, on the other hand, will typically fetch more if you sell them online. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of listing and shipping your items, consider donating them to goodwill or giving them to friends or family members. Don’t forget that donating items to goodwill may have tax benefits.

Create More Space in Your Home by Renting a Storage Facility

If you have larger items that you’re not using – but you’re also not ready to sell those items or give them away – a good way to get them out of your home is by moving them to a rented space at a storage facility. If you have convenient access to your storage space, you might even consider putting things there that you only use occasionally, such as seasonal decorations.

After you’ve finished selling or giving away your unwanted items and moving rarely used items to a storage facility, your home should have plenty of extra space. Now, you’re ready to begin your DIY holiday cleaning project.

Reduce Clutter by Using the Extra Space You’ve Created

Now that you’ve hopefully created lots of extra room in your home, the next step is to put away the items cluttering the shelves, tables and other surfaces. Once you’ve done that, you should be much happier with the way your home looks – and bringing out your holiday decorations will be much more fun. Before you do that, though, it’s time to begin the most important part of your cleaning project.

Eliminate Sources of Unwanted Odors Before Giving Your Home a Deep Cleaning

Cleaning your home isn’t just a matter of improving the way your house looks – you also want to improve the way it smells. Covering unwanted odors doesn’t do anything to help your home in the long run. The odors will just return if you don’t eliminate them at their sources. Here are some of the most effective ways to eliminate unwanted odors in your home.

  • If you smoke, you should either switch to vape juice or stop smoking indoors. Smoking is the worst thing that you can possibly do for the way your home smells.
  • If you have pets, clean or replace their beds and toys.
  • If you have trouble controlling moisture in your basement, get a dehumidifier.
  • If you have trouble controlling musty odors in your closets or cabinets, place activated charcoal or moisture absorbers in those areas.
  • If your drains smell, clean them with an enzyme cleaner.

Clean Your Home from Top to Bottom

The reason why people use the phrase “top to bottom” when talking about cleaning a space is because that’s actually the right way to do it. As you clean your ceiling, walls and surfaces, some of the dust will fall to the floor. If you save the floor for last, you’ll ultimately vacuum all of the dust away, leaving your home very clean. Follow these steps to give your home a deep cleaning.

  • Clean your ceilings and walls using a soft cloth dipped in a mild vinegar solution.
  • Dust and polish your shelves, tables and other surfaces.
  • Vacuum all of your furniture. Don’t forget to remove and vacuum the cushions.
  • Vacuum your floors thoroughly. Whenever possible, move furniture to the center of the room to provide access to the edges of the floor.

Use an Air Filter to Keep Your Home Looking and Smelling Fresh

After you’ve finished giving your home a deep cleaning, the final step is to make sure that it continues smelling fresh and clean throughout the holiday season. The best way to do that is by getting an air purifier that circulates the air in your home through a series of filters to remove dust, pollen, pet dander and odor-causing particles. A home air purifier is usually a self-contained unit that you place in the room of your choice, but it’s also possible to find whole-home air purifiers that connect directly to your heating or air conditioning system.

Your HVAC system probably has at least one air filter as well, and it’s always a good idea to replace it periodically – especially when you’ve just given your home a deep cleaning. You should also consider having your home’s ducts cleaned before you turn your furnace on for the winter.