A house decorated with Christmas lights. 1

8 Steps for Cleaning Up Your Yard After the Holidays

Although the holidays are upon us, they’ll soon be ending and the dreaded post-holiday clean up will be a painstaking task. Here are 8 steps to prepare you for cleaning up your yard after the holidays.

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The end-of-year holidays always come with lots of decorations to put up. Your home probably shifts between the holidays with decorations you like to reuse. Ghosts, goblins, turkeys and elves all have their time to shine, both inside and outside your home. Putting everything out can be lots of fun, but it’s not as exciting to take everything down.

A house decorated with Christmas lights. 1

Once the new year comes, it’ll be time to put everything away again until the holidays swing back around. Typical yard work is a challenge you’re used to, but cleaning up your yard after the holidays is a project that entails several unique steps. If you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about how you’re going to get your yard back to looking like it usually does, read on for some easy steps you can take to make cleanup easier and faster this year.

1. Make Sure You Have Time

Whether you don’t have an inch of free space in your yard because of decorations, or you only have a few strings of lights around your home, make sure you have plenty of time to put everything away. A Saturday afternoon should be enough to get everything cleaned up, especially if you know people who can help.

If you don’t have a free weekend coming up any time soon, you can take things down throughout a couple of weekdays by staggering out the work. Just make sure that while you’re cleaning up, you don’t try to rush through your work. Speeding through the post-holiday cleanup could lead to accidents or injuries.

2. Get the Best Storage Bins

Everyone is going to have something different in their yard to put away, so take note of your decorations so you can predict what you’ll need to store them. Large rubber bins work well, especially if they’re clear. You’ll be able to fit a lot in them and even see inside them next year without opening them.

Even if it puts off your cleaning for a few days, look at some of the best storage containers for putting away holiday decorations. Anything that helps keep things neat will take stress off your shoulders when you’re trying to sort through your decorations next year. Make sure to label, so you know what’s in each container!

3. Throw out Damaged Decorations

Decorations that get reused end up becoming sort of like a family heirloom. You might want to keep them forever, but that doesn’t mean you should. Throw out broken decorations or frayed lights after the holiday season has passed. You can replace them next year when stores have their decorations on sale, and you won’t have to spend lots of time setting them up, only to remember they don’t work anymore.

4. Wrap up All Cords

There couldn’t be yard decorations without the modern miracle of the extension cord. They’re a lifesaver around the holidays, but they can be a pain to put away. It can seem like if you leave an extension cord in your garage closet, it finds a way to knot itself up by the time you need it next.

One black extension cord.

To avoid this problem, check out some wrapping techniques you may not have tried before. The old over-under technique is easy and quick, but trying something new like the contractor’s wrap will make your extension cords look expertly cared for.

5. Test and Label Lights

At the start of the holiday season, it’s time-consuming to work hard to set up strings of lights, only to plug them in and find out half of them don’t light up anymore. Some lights don’t store well, even if you keep them in the best airtight container. Before you pack everything away, make sure all lights work. Then you can label them, so next year you’ll remember how you tested them and proved they would work before you stored them for the year. When taking down lights and other decorations powered by electricity, be sure to turn them off first and unplug them properly. From 2012-2016, 800 house fires were started by Christmas decorations, be smart with how you take everything down to avoid a fire as well as injuries like electrical shock.

6. Clean up Minor Debris

The chilly holiday season is a time where you don’t have to worry about doing too much regular yard work. Not much is going to grow while it’s cold out, but you’ll still have storm debris to deal with. As you clean up your decorations, sweep away debris like leaves to reveal a clean porch, sidewalk or driveway. You can get out the trusty rake to clear up your lawn, too.

Teen boy and girl raking dry autumn leaves

7. Consider Your Yard’s Future

After you’ve boxed up all your decorations and your yard is back to looking like you usually keep it, it’s time to consider your yard’s future. What did you like about it during the past year, and what do you want to change? Now is a good time to think about future yard projects you might want to do, like building a fire-pit or constructing a grill area. Add your ideas to your New Year’s resolution list, so you’ll feel more encouraged to tackle these great projects once it gets warmer outside.

8. Store Everything Away Neatly

You’ve tested your lights, tossed away the broken decorations and stored everything in high-quality containers. The last step in cleaning up your yard decorations is to store everything away neatly. Group strands of lights together, and organize decorations by size or purpose. When you have to get back to your decorations next year, you’ll be glad you made everything easy to find.

Cleaning up your yard after the holidays is something people tend to dread, like unpacking your suitcase after a vacation. It doesn’t have to be a chore, though! If you approach your yard with a plan in mind, the work will fly by.

When you’ve finished all your hard work, don’t forget to dream about the future of your yard. The new year will be full of free time you can use to transform your yard. By the time the holidays come back around next year, you could have a new space to decorate! Don’t forget about these indoor clean up tips as well.

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Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, Hotel Online, SevenRooms, Point 2 Home and more!

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