Monthly Archives: January 2016

How to Take Down a Christmas Tree

Most of us know, physically, how to take down a Christmas tree – it’s similar to the way we got it in the house, right? True, it’s possible to lug a tree out of your house, leaving a trail of sap and needles in your wake (more needles, to be sure, as your tree has likely dried significantly since you first bought it) – but why not minimize the mess by trying out a new means of getting rid of your tree?

After carefully removing all of your ornaments and checking the highest, lowest and most hidden corners to make sure you don’t accidentally throw out any cherished memories, follow these tips to get your tree to the curb or backyard with the least muss and fuss possible.

Don’t neglect the lights. Hold on a second; we know a naked tree is a depressing sight, post-Christmas, and you’ll want to get it out ASAP, but take the time to put away lights and ornaments in a manner you’ll be happy to find next year. You’ll save yourself hours of meticulous untangling and foul language if you take the simple step of winding lights around a plastic spool or any cylindrical object instead of simply shoving them in a box or bag; delicate ornaments should be repackaged in their tissue paper or bubble wrap. We promise you’ll thank yourself next year.

Wrap the tree. Did your tree come with a tree bag? Great – time to make use of it once more by placing it over your tree prior to hauling it from your living room to its final destination. If you don’t have a bag, find an old sheet (really old, as trees are both dirty, pungent – though not necessarily in a bad way – and full of sap), and wrap your tree up like a mummy, from top to bottom. The fewer pine needles are exposed, the fewer can scratch up your floors or find their way into crevasses, where they’ll somehow only reappear in July.

As an alternative, you can also cut branches off your tree, bag them, then remove them from your home. While this is likely to scatter needles locally, they’ll be less likely to get tracked through the entirety of your tree’s path.

Invest in a rubber broom. We’re not sure why, but this tool works better than anything when it comes to removing pine needles (and other larger litter that finds its way on our floors). Do a thorough sweep after you’ve moved your tree AND any other evergreen flourishes from your home – THEN vacuum. Pine needles aren’t great for a vacuum or any other mechanical parts, so try to avoid getting them in this manner, by any means possible.

Go green with your tree. Sure, you could just put it out on the curb and wait for the trash truck to pick it up, but there are many other uses for an old Christmas tree that can keep the spirit alive through your flourishing garden and backyard. The smaller branches can be used as mulch in the garden, while you can also put the entire thing through a chipper in order to make a great-smelling, high-quality, finer mulch for either now or in the spring.

Post-Holiday Cleanup Planning: 4 Quick Tips for Success

While the holiday season is one of the most enjoyable times of year for many families, there’s definitely some dread-worthy cleaning that usually comes into play immediately following the glow of Christmas. Soft candlelit scenes give way to the harsh daylight of December 26th, which betrays the same household scene across the nation: mounds of crumpled wrapping paper, sticky fingerprints, thrown-aside packaging, and other markers of a well-spent gift budget. On top of interior cleaning, homeowners are also limited to a very short grace period when it comes to taking down decorations (let’s say January 2nd, at a stretch), adding on to the holiday cleanup stress.

Yet, there’s no need to fret – follow our helpful post-holiday cleanup tips, set up a plan in advance, and you’ll be jumping into spring before you know it (though that reminds us that spring cleaning is right around the corner…a topic for another blog!)

Think ahead. We know it’ll be tempting to put off the more “difficult” tasks, but that means that by the time you get to them, you’ll be desperately trying to finish them as quickly as possible. One of the first chores to be completed much too hastily? Packing away lights. You’ll save yourself plenty of irritation in 364 days if you take the simple step of carefully winding lights around a paper towel roll or other cylindrical object to help keep them in order. Be sure to pack away large objects (inflatable snow globe, anyone?) in a fairly remote place, so that they won’t get in the way the rest of the year; if you only need them annually, might as well use more convenient space for other supplies, rather than just cramming your holiday decorations wherever is convenient.

Get generous. It’s pretty much guaranteed that, every year, we’ll get something as a present that we either don’t like, don’t want or already have; meaning the undesired gift we received serves very little purpose but to take up valuable space in our home. It’s understandable to feel guilty giving something away when it was bought specifically for you, but donating unwanted objects to someone who can use them – whether a friend or a charity – is ultimately the best thing you can do to help others. It will also help you with your cleaning efforts both now and in the future, as less clutter means less to dust and work around.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. You’ll help save the earth AND your wallet if you hang on to holiday decorations that made it through the season in relatively good shape. While it may be tempting to toss tinsel or hanging décor, finding space for them in a box will prevent them from making it to the landfill while providing you with a pleasant reminder of your excellent planning the next year.

Bring in the pros. Believe us, as no one knows cleaning better than we do: it’s not cheating to bring in a little professional help! There’s no reason to spoil the spirit of camaraderie and generosity that winter holidays bring with an overloaded schedule and too much house cleaning – that’s why calling our professional residential maid service in Philadelphia can help save you precious time and energy you’d much rather spend elsewhere. Interested in learning more about our rates? Give us a call today!