Cleanup After Your Holiday Meal
The holiday season is known for being a festive time. There are cocktail parties, fun gatherings and, of course, holiday meals with friends and family. For the most part, these events are sources of joy. However, if you’re the one hosting a holiday meal or get-together, the cleanup associated with parties and dinners can cause quite the headache.
Make sure you enjoy this time of year by using the following tips to quickly and painlessly clean after Thanksgiving dinner or other holiday meals.
Clean as You GoTidying up after a holiday meal should actually start while you’re still cooking. When dinner is over and you’re trying to determine how to wash dishes fast, you’ll thank yourself for taking the time to clean pots or pans you’ve finished with while rolls and sauces are baking or simmering. Other ways to get ahead of the housekeeping game include:
- Wiping up spills and prep surfaces immediately
- Lining baking trays with foil or parchment paper so they don’t require as much effort to wash
- Preparing breads, casseroles and pies in dishes that come with lids so that you can cover them up rather than transferring them to a new container
Prep SmartMaking a plan for holiday meal cleanup can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to quickly take care of housekeeping chores so you can spend more quality time with friends and relatives. Here are some ideas to help make tidying up more efficient:
- Put a wicker basket for used table linens or placemats near the dining room table
- Have plenty of clean plasticware (with matching lids) set out and ready to go
- Make sure your fridge and freezer are cleared out for leftover storage
- Set out extra waste baskets and recycle bins so guests have plenty of options and don’t leave cans or wadded up paper towels lying about
- Have a surplus of clean microfiber cloths handy for wiping spills and washing countertops
Know How to Deal With DishesPreparation is key when it comes to figuring out how to wash dishes fast, which is why you want to make sure you clean as you go. After all, the fewer skillets and pie pans you have left to wash at the end of the meal, the easier your cleanup.
When it comes to using your dishwasher vs. hand washing the dishes from your holiday meal, there are some factors you want to consider:
- Some nicer and more decorative plates should be washed by hand as they could get chipped if they’re knocked around in the dishwasher. The same goes for cleaning wine glasses, crystal stemware and your fancy cocktail tumblers.
- Larger casserole dishes and roasting pans could probably do with a good soaking before they’re loaded into the dishwasher.
- Rinse all dishes and stack them neatly in the sink while they’re waiting on their turn in the dishwasher. This will save you time later as you won’t have to scrape off hardened bits of turkey or pecan pie.
- Reduce the time spent cleaning up by washing some dishes by hand while the dishwasher runs its cycle.
- Ask a relative to help out by hand drying the dishes and putting them away while you wash, so you don’t have to put the chore off due to a full dish-drying rack.
Ask For Some HelpHoliday meals are typically warm family occasions. You’ve done the hard part in hosting the event and preparing the meal. Most of your guests probably won’t think twice if you ask for assistance with the cleanup. (In fact, many may offer to pitch in!) Tasks that you can ask guests to lend a hand with include:
- Taking dishes, glasses and silverware off the table
- Packing, labeling and storing leftovers
- Scraping plates into the garbage can
- Clearing tablecloths and napkins
- Drying the dishes
- Taking out the trash