Before and After: A Thanksgiving Cleaning Checklist

thanksgiving dinnerPeople often attribute Thanksgiving sleepiness to eating too much turkey. However, if you’ve ever hosted one of these events, you know the real reason for being tired after dinner - you’re exhausted from all the Thanksgiving cleaning and cooking you have to do.

Ready for a secret? A little preparation can make holiday clean-up much easier. Check out the following Thanksgiving checklists to discover ways to make your Turkey Day less stressful.

Before Dinner Thanksgiving Checklist

Your Thanksgiving cleaning will be a bit more intense before dinner than after, as you’ll need to start cooking and you want to have your home ready to welcome guests. The following Thanksgiving checklist can help you plan accordingly.

  • Wash holiday-specific items such as cloth napkins, tablecloths, placemats, special dishes and silverware. You’ll also want to make sure any serving dishes and platters are clean – and large cookware items, — like roasting pans or stock pots, — may need to be washed if they haven’t been used in a while.
  • Clean and organize your kitchen so that it’s ready for guests and also prepared for the massive amount of cooking it will soon see. Check the inside of the fridge to be sure there’s ample room to hold all your ingredients before you cook, and plenty of room for leftovers afterwards.
  • Tidy guest rooms if you have visitors coming in from out of town. As you dust and vacuum these rooms, you’ll also want to freshen up linens that have been sitting in storage. Additionally, your Thanksgiving cleaning should include scrubbing the guest bathroom and washing the shower curtain, if need be.
  • Aside from guest bathrooms, any half-baths or powder rooms your guests will be using should be cleaned from top to bottom. Tackle the toilet and sink, and don’t forget to wipe down the mirror and buff bathroom hardware. In addition, stock your bathroom with plenty of toilet paper, tissues, hand soap and hand towels.
  • Before guests arrive, dust and vacuum common areas like your living room and dining room. (Remember to look up for those sneaky cobwebs.) Ensure that there’s plenty of seating for guests by stashing those bulky throw pillows and setting out extra chairs. Washing the windows should definitely be part of your Thanksgiving cleaning routine, so make sure that glass is streak-free and shining.
  • Wipe down your dining room table and any leaves you’ll be installing before guests arrive. If your dishes are ready, you can go ahead and set the table, too.
  • Clear out space in a convenient closet so friends and family have a place to store coats, umbrellas and purses.
  • Close the doors to any rooms you haven’t had a chance to tidy or don’t want guests to enter, such as your master bed and bathroom, home office or kids’ rooms.
  • Sweep or vacuum porches, mudrooms and foyers before guests arrive. You may also want to take time in your Thanksgiving cleaning to blow the leaves off your driveway and sidewalk so that the first thing your guests see is a clean, welcoming pathway and your festive autumn decorations.

After Dinner Thanksgiving Checklist

Thanksgiving cleaning is always much simpler after dinner and, hopefully, you’ll have one or more guest offer to help you with clean-up. The key to getting everything done quickly is to divide and conquer. Here’s a Thanksgiving checklist of tasks you and your helpers will need to tackle:

  • Packing leftovers into take-home containers or plastic food-storage bins
  • Collecting glasses, plates and silverware and loading the dishwasher
  • Clearing napkins from the table and wiping the tabletop down
  • Washing the dishes the dishwasher can’t hold
  • Wiping down the stovetop, backsplash and countertops
  • Sweeping the dining room, living room and kitchen

Don’t let Thanksgiving cleaning stress you out. Plan ahead and know what to expect before and after dinner, and you’ll be wowing your guests with the calm and grace you display while hosting this major holiday event.