The holidays have come and gone once again. Although Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are supposed to be times for relaxation, reflection and creating memories with family, it may feel as if you need a holiday from the holiday. Not to mention the Christmas and New Year’s decorations and gifts can leave you feeling overwhelmed at best.

Your priority should be to clean up in stages. If you have a Christmas tree with decorations, you may want to take those down first. Bring out all the decoration boxes and start removing the decorations from the tree and place them into their corresponding boxes. Once you have removed the decorations, now take down the lights and store them in their original boxes or storage cases. Be careful when taking down ornaments or lights, you want to be able to use them again next year.

Look for Christmas centerpieces and remove those from tables, mantles or other rooms in the home and place them in their boxes. You will find that as you start removing decorations, the process gets easier and less overwhelming.

Take down any lights hanging up outside or along windows. Store them according to their manufacturer’s instructions and again, be careful when handling them so that you can use them again for the next holiday season.

If you have lots of boxes from gifts and you don’t need them, you can take them to your local recycling center along with recyclable gift wrapping paper. It helps to call the recycling center first to see what they take. This way, you don’t have an excess amount of boxes to store and you contribute to the environment by recycling them.

Get a few big baskets or clear plastic storage containers for new toys and presents. This helps when trying to locate the toys and the children can get to them easily whenever they want to play with them.

Get a large folder to save any Christmas cards. You can use the cards as decorations next year as well or read them when you need a break from decorating.

Donate any extra hangars from clothing items if you don’t need them. Using hangars you already own will help with storage and leave more space in your closets.

Use a vacuum cleaner and broom to clean up any extra debris such as glitter, tinsel and tree shedding. If you have a live tree, it is guaranteed to shed but cleanup is relatively easy.