The Best Ways to Keep Up On Holiday Mess

Here we are at week 2 of my September Christmas series.  In case you missed it, last week I posted a quick roundup of some adorable Christmas Treats.  Today we're going to tackle the dreaded Christmas Mess.

Arguably the busiest time of year for a lot of families, it seems like the Christmas season has become synonymous with clutter, mess, and havoc.  Because we're running here, there and everywhere, we have little time and energy to clean up around us.  Not to mention all the new items coming into our homes.

If this isn't you and your family, please, tell us your secrets!  The rest of us struggle year after year with energy-zapping Christmas mess.  I'm going to help you by outlining a few strategies to implement in attempt to keep the clutter and mess to a minimum.

Before Christmas

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, focus on what you want your house to look like during the season.  Keep this image in mind as we go through the next few tips.


If the thought of tinsel and popcorn strings gives you the shakes, don't use them.  While you still want to give your family and guests a bit of Christmas cheer, don't let it stress you out.  Check out Pinterest for some nice minimalist decoration ideas.

Only keep the decorations around for as long as you enjoy them.  I refuse to buy our tree or put up a single Christmas item until after December 1.  I take the time to enjoy trimming and primping.  For 25 odd days we revel in our beautiful smelling evergreen.


Be thoughtful in your gift buying.  Especially for your own family.  Think of the space you have in your home and where everything will need to be put.  Once you have an idea of what you'll be bringing in, go ahead and get rid of a few items to make room.  I'm sure your kiddos will receive some new clothes so go ahead and eliminate a couple items that are past their prime.

Take out any old toys, games and books that are missing pieces or broken, as well as those that don't get played with anymore.  Either store them for your younger kids, donate or sell them if they're in good shape, or just garbage them.

As you wrap gifts, keep the mess to a minimum by cleaning as you go.  If you like to do one giant wrapping marathon, have all your supplies at the ready, as well as a garbage can.  Or, if you like to wrap gifts in small spurts as you have the time to do so, be sure to put all the supplies away in between sessions to cut down on clutter.

This is similar to the awesome space-saving wrapping organizer I use in my home.

Your Home

Keep the house tidy throughout November and into December.  Streamline your cleaning routine so that you're able to be more efficient during the busy season.  Not sure how to do this?  Check out my post on Starting a Cleaning Routine.

For further inspiration sign up for my free 5-day email course to be a more efficient homemaker.  Day 4 discusses your cleaning routine.

Your Vehicle

With all the running around you're doing for shopping, parties, drop offs & more, it's a miracle if your vehicle stays clean for a week!  The Christmas Mess takes no prisoners.  Follow these quick tips to keep things a little more organized while you're out and about:

  • Unload your car after every trip.  Take out everything that needs to come in and put it away immediately.
  • If you find yourself needing certain items every time you go out (playpen, stroller), find a way to keep them in the vehicle without disrupting the organizational ability.
  • Keep a garbage box, bag, pail, whatever, in your vehicle for easy clean up.
  • Have a few select toys and books that stay in the car to entertain the kiddos on drives.  This will eliminate the last minute struggle of trying to take toys when you're walking out the door.

During Christmas

If you've been keeping up on your cleaning and reduced your tripping hazards decorations and clutter to a minimum, you should be able to stay on top of the bulk of the Christmas mess.  With a little foresight you'll be relaxing with your hot cocoa in no time.

Your Home

The time leading up to the big day can get stressful, especially if you have multiple functions to attend.  I've put together a little list to help you stay organized and in control of your Christmas Mess.

  • Have a family chat about working together to keep the house tidy and mess-free.  Explain that Mama is going to need some extra help and it's important to operate as a team so everyone can enjoy the holiday season.
    • Designate special tasks to each family member if need be.
  • Gather scissors, screwdrivers, batteries, garbage bags or bins ahead of time for the Christmas morning mess.  By having everything at the ready you'll be prepared, allowing you more couch minutes before you have to make breakfast or jet off to the next party.
  • Keep up on dishes.  Clean up the supper dishes quickly to provide you more time with your family and guests.  Start the dishwasher before bed and unload it in the morning so dirty dishes can go straight in during the day.


Are you playing host this year?  Concerned about how you're going to get your house in shape before hand, plus deal with all the extra Christmas mess that comes with more people?  The best advice I can give you on this is to follow all the other tips.  By having a tidy house, your guests will be more likely to pick up after themselves and even help you with the day-to-day tasks.

If you can present an organized home, you will feel more relaxed and hospitable. Make it fun by adding some festive decor in the guest bedroom and bathroom. Plan out some easy decoration ideas that make you excited to be a host.

Hauling Gifts

While this typically doesn't constitute as Christmas mess, per say, it can cause extra stress and be more time consuming than necessary.  When you're wrapping your gifts, organize them in such a way that makes it easy to grab and go when it's time to head to the appropriate gathering.

  • If you like to display all the gifts under the tree, keep the ones destined for the same party together.
  • Prefer to have everything out of reach of little ones?  Put the same-party gifts into boxes, ready to transport.  Your husband will thank you when it's time to load up the car.
  • Try not to put all of the gifts for the season into the vehicle at once if you don't have to.  This will cause confusion and stress when you end up having to rifle through everything to find what your looking for.  The last thing you want is to be forgetting a gift somewhere.

Cleaning Up the Christmas Mess

Earlier, I eluded to the fact that our Christmas tree stays up only for a few weeks. Typically it comes down on Boxing Day, but is absolutely down by New Year's Eve. I'm the type of person who enjoys routine and systems, so having my house back to normal is important to me.  Because I keep up on the Christmas mess throughout the month, clean up and decoration take-down is a not-so-daunting breeze.

What I do to keep my sanity during clean up:

  • For best results, work at this during the kids' nap time.  If that's not an option, set them up with their new toys, a craft or snack.  You'll likely end up with little helpers, but if you can grab a few minutes without them underfoot, all the better.
  • Before I take down any decorations, I take the tree skirt and throw it in the machine for a quick wash.  By the time I'm done putting everything away it is washed and dried and ready for storage.
  • Have efficient and simple storage containers for ornaments.  This one is similar to one of mine.
  • Work in sections.  Tree first, then wall hangings, stockings, and other decor.
  • As soon as the tree is hauled out I do a quick sweep and vacuum to get rid of the bulk of the needles.  After that, I give the tree stand a good wash and let it dry so it can be stored.
  • Keep one large tote for all the items, in stead of multiple smaller ones.  This allows for easy set up and clean up.
  • Do one final sweep to grab anything I've missed, then initiate a thorough dust, sweep & vacuum to get rid of the remaining tinsel, garland, dust, nettles, etc.
  • Sit and enjoy the rest of the day, because tomorrow is back to regular scheduled events.

Operation Clean Up Christmas Mess is anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on the type of “help” I get from Sweet Girl.

Pulling It All Together

Once you have the necessary tools and systems in place, your Christmas mess won't be so damning.  My hope is that you can find more time this year to enjoy the magical season and be present with your family for all the special memories that come with Christmas.

This content was created by original creator of this website, Katelynn Hegedus.

Got any more tips for us?  Leave 'em in the comments or shoot me an email to  If you loved this post, don't forget to share it and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter.

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