Your Thanksgiving was a success! Family and friends had a great time visiting, stuffing themselves and watching the big game. You’ve sent everyone home with an extra slice of pie. Plus, you’ve enjoyed a well deserved, turkey-induced nap. Now it’s time to clean up. Whew! It’s enough to make you want to go back to bed. Read on for helpful hints and tips on prepping for cleaning up after Thanksgiving.
To Cut Down on Clean Up, Prep Ahead
Do these tasks beforehand to speed up after-turkey tidying:
Clean the fridge of any old or expired food to make room for Turkey Day ingredients. If you have room, designate an empty shelf for leftovers. After a few days, use any remaining turkey and veggies in a hearty soup. Freeze soup in containers for an easy meal.
Aluminum Foil – It’s Your Friend
For easy clean up after Thanksgiving, line your roaster and baking pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil. After baking, just remove foil and toss. Easy! Or, cook Mr. Turkey in a turkey oven bag. The bird will stay moist, taste delicious, plus there’s no scrubbing the roaster afterward.
Triple Line the Trash Bin
Layer two or three extra liners in the garbage bin. As the cleaning squad heats up, there’ll be additional bags ready for action.
Clean As You Cook
Stay on top of the kitchen mess by washing and putting away pots, pans, and utensils as you go. After prepping the turkey, be sure to disinfect your countertops with Wet & Forget Indoor. A few minutes before friends arrive empty the dishwasher. It will be free and clear for the next round. Empty the garbage can, too.
Soak the Roaster
Immediately after transferring the turkey to the platter, add warm water and liquid dish soap to the roaster. Let the roaster soak in a warm oven, (250 degrees) while you enjoy your meal. The baked-on mess will loosen, making clean up easier.
If you’ve hosted overnight guests, remove all bed linens from the guest room. Wash, fold and put them away for the next visit.
To clean up after Thanksgiving, wash and store all holiday china, stemware, and silverware. To store fine china, place a round of felt between each plate and saucer. Here’s how:
- Purchase a yard of felt and lay it flat on a table. (Choose a color that will complement your dish pattern.)
- Place your dish on top and trace the outline with a thin tip marker or sewing pencil.
- Cut out the rounds with pinking shears.
The soft felt will help prevent damage to your delicate china. You can also trace and cut felt liners for your serving platters, too.
Quickly Take Care of Stains
If you notice a carpet stain, be sure to tend to it immediately. Remove the stain with a little hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of liquid dish detergent. Add the cleaning mixture to a clean cloth and blot. Eliminate ring marks on wood furniture by rubbing the area with a little white toothpaste.
Get Creative with Serveware and Containers
- Ask guests to bring side dishes or desserts in disposable containers.
- Use a baking dish that goes from oven to table, then to fridge or freezer.
- Use disposable serving platters, bowls, and utensils. Inexpensive and pretty disposable items are available at party supply stores.
- Serve spinach dip in a bread bowl. A clean pumpkin makes a fun serving bowl for soup or stew.
Cook and Bake Ahead of Time
Streamline cooking and cleaning by prepping sides, desserts or appetizers a few days before. Casseroles can be made and frozen two days ahead. Bake pies and desserts the day before. The Thanksgiving foods below can be prepared and frozen for up to two weeks:
- Sausage stuffing
- Sweet potatoes
- Turkey gravy
- Green bean casserole (leave off the fried onions until reheating)
Check out a few easy make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizers and dessert recipes here.
Save on clean up by hosting Thanksgiving, potluck style. Ask family and friends to bring their favorite dishes. Diplomacy is important. If your sister-in-law is proud of her homemade rolls, don’t ask her to bring the sweet potato casserole. Reserve the simple, ready-made treats for your cooking-challenged attendees. Single guests can bring soda for the kids or a veggie tray from the deli.
Take on the bird, stuffing, and gravy yourself while allowing your guests to fill in the rest.
When sending out potluck invitations let the guests know what you’ll be providing. Ask them what they would like to bring. If you find you’re short on one category, ask your most talented cook to make an extra casserole. Or just fill in the gap yourself. Once you’ve determined what each guest will bring, check to make sure all dishes add up to a balanced meal.
A little pre-planning and meal coordination with family and friends can make the clean up after Thanksgiving go faster. Plus, you’ll have more time to spend with your guests!
For more Thanksgiving hints and tips, click here.