How to declutter as-you-go on Christmas Day to stop your home spiralling into chaos

We asked our decluttering and organizing experts for their best tips for how to tidy as-you-go this Christmas

a sideboard styled for christmas
(Image credit: James Merrell)

Christmas – the day you want your home to look its cleanest and tidiest just also happens to be the day where it will inevitably look its messiest. Gift opening in the morning, hours of preparing food and drink, spillages, breakages and endless chocolates consumed on the couch. 

But fear not, there are ways to keep on top of the Christmas clutter. We asked decluttering and cleaning experts for their advice on how to declutter a room on Christmas Day to keep your home tidy as the day unfolds, ensuring that among all the chaos, some peace and order can be restored.

1. Give each family member a box to organize gifts

A living room decorated with a Christmas tree

(Image credit: Soho Home)

First things first, managing explosion of wrapping paper, cardboard, bows and ribbons that may occur in your living room, or wherever it is you open your presents. Cleaning expert Georgia Ward (@cleaningcorner) advises a trash bag sweep at the end, which will make a huge difference to how messy the room looks. Separate each family member’s gifts to keep as organized and tidy as possible, too - in fact, Georgia recommends finding a box for each ahead of time.

Then a quick vacuum around will transform the space from a very messy Santa’s workshop, back to your tidy and organized living room.

2. Declutter countertops ahead of time

christmas in a kitchen diner

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Now into the kitchen. This is likely its busiest day of the year, so it is crucial to have some control over the mayhem to ultimately end up with a show-stopping Christmas dinner for your guests. Think about decluttering your kitchen countertops ahead of time - this will ensure you have room for all the parts of the dinner you'll be cooking. 

Christmas dinner is a particularly greasy affair, as Georgia notes. Her advice? If you’re using your dishwasher, put it on a cleaning cycle or use soda crystals with warm water to wash out the drains, and always keep a bottle of dish soap handy. 'It will tackle any kind of grease or grime with ease. I always have mine diluted in a spray bottle ready for go,' she says. 

Likewise, cleaning brand Astonish’s Cleaning Chemist, Olivia Young advises keeping 'track of spills and wipe all kitchen surfaces immediately.'

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3. Take care of the dinner table 

Festive table scape with blue plates and red ornaments

(Image credit: Dobbies)

When tidying away the Christmas meal, it’s all hands-on deck for a speedy clear-up. Georgia advises that as soon as those dishes are cleared away, you should wipe down your dining table to prevent any stubborn spillages from staining. 

'If spills happen regularly in your household, you should use a tablecloth or spill-friendly wax cloth table covering to ease the clearing away process,' suggests Olivia. Depending on how young, clumsy or just messy your guests are, there are ways you can quickly get your Christmas table back to its original state after a full day of entertaining.

Alex Berry

Alex is a MA Magazine Journalism student at City University of London, with experience writing for several online magazines for students and young women in film, lifestyle and politics. Proud and particular about her bedroom decor, Alex has always found interest in interior design, insisting on full control over Christmas tree decorating each year. Her favourite aesthetic is definitely small cozy spaces, cluttered with cushions and throws of different colors and textures, surrounded by warm fairy lights and candles. Her only strict rule is, 'Never have the big light on.'