Cleaning & Organizing

Beat Holiday Stress With These Homekeeping Reminders

Don't get lost in your to-do list. Here are ways to enjoy the season while keeping your home in tip-top shape.

Photography: Vincent Coscolluela | Pexels (Main Photos)

With the holidays just around the corner, many of us are prepping a long to-do list involving grocery shopping, buying gifts, and preparing a hearty menu. It's easy to get lost in the blur and as we get ready for the most joyful time of the year, we oftend find ourselves tired and too stressed out to keep the home in order. Manage the holiday hustle and avoid stress with these tips:

1. Declutter your home first before bringing out your Christmas decor.

Whether you're expecting guests, giving your home a makeover, or bringing in new decor pieces, it's a must to declutter first. Oftentimes, we use it as a reason or as a deadline to clean out the clutter at home. Review and edit the things you have accumulated over the year, sort your belongings, and organize them properly.

If you've decorated the house for Halloween, make sure the spooky accessories are taken down and put away neatly before you bring out your holiday ornaments. This way, you won't feel overwhelmed with the things you need to accomplish. Do it step by step and try preparing a checklist as your guide.

2. If you have a peg or theme for your holiday decorations, check if there are items you can reuse before buying anything new.

We hear Christmas songs being played on air as early as September and malls put up decorations, vignettes, and items for sale quite early, too. I won't lie, it's quite tempting to purchase new things! If you are able to declutter and sort your belongings first, you'll know what you have or what you lack. Plan the look you're going for this year, make a list of the items you'll need and see if there's a need to shop for a new Christmas tree or lights. Consider reusing or repurposing what you already have to save on money.


3. Discard properly and donate that others can still use.

Out with the old, in with the new. What can you do with the things you no longer need? You can donate these to charity. We're seeing a trend of people having their holiday celebrations at charitable institutions or giving in kind just in time for the merry season. Aside from doing something similar or donating your pre-loved items, you can also give your time and energy to others as a way of spreading holiday cheer. Try volunteering or joining outreach programs before the year ends.

In the spirit of giving, think about what you're giving to your friends as gifts. With much attention to our environment, be more conscious of the things you buy. Beyond the material things, Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones and sharing peace and love to everyone.

4. Do a pre-holiday and post-holiday clean up.

Don't forget to prepare the home for the blessings the New Year will bring. While it's fun to open the presents when the clock strikes 12, make it a point to dispose the trash from your party and that you deal with clutter first. Once you've opened the gifts, store these properly and that there are no wrappers on the floor. Unopened presents can be kept as well.

Don't stress about this too much. Start with small steps like keeping unopened gifts in one cabinet. Then try to find a place for those you've opened around the house. Store them properly so as not to create eyesores around the house.

5. In the spirit of love and giving, let’s give back the same, not only to our home, but also to the people living in it and for all those who visit your home.


Organizing and decluttering can be therapeutic for some, but most people find it too daunting. Make sure that when you get into it, you get your family and the people you share the home with on-board. You don't want to stress yourself out by doing everything on your own. It can be a family activity or a special bonding with friends.

6. Be considerate.

When you do your cleaning, make sure it doesn't hamper on anyone's schedule. If you have children, you can turn it into a fun game or a bonding activity. If you are living independently, consider inviting your parents and friends to help you prep the home for the holidays.

7. Reward yourself.

All these holiday-related tasks—before, during, and after—can work up an appetite. Whether you're doing it by yourself or with others, I find that it's rewarding to celebrate with a meal or share a meal. It's not easy to do holiday decluttering, so it's nice to have something to look forward to at the end of it all.

Joanne Endaya and Maan Sicam are two of Real Living’s Style Spotters, and are the ladies behind Happy Helpers, a professional home cleaning and social enterprise in Metro Manila. To learn more and to see the list of cleaning services they offer, visit their website and Facebook page.

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