The Pilgrims were on to something when they planned a Thanksgiving potluck. Want something more to be thankful for? Try other good ideas that’ll simplify your T-Day kitchen cleanup.
9 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Cleanup a Breeze
Plan a Potluck
The first Thanksgiving was a potluck, so, let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.
Arrange for Easy Leftovers to Go
Part of the cleanup hassle is putting all those leftovers into plastic containers (after you find the lids) and cramming them into your fridge. Then you throw out most of the food a week later. But if guests bring their own containers, they can load them up at the table after the meal and tote them home. And you can move your empty serving dishes straight into the kitchen for quicker washing.
Set Up a Soaking Station
Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.
Use Triple-Duty Cookware
Cut down on cleanup by selecting cookware that can go from oven to table to freezer. Or, serve food in edible containers, such as bread bowls or hollowed-out winter squash, which you can either consume or compost.
Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and organize your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers.
If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food and make sure it’s empty when you start your meal. Fill it with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.
Prepare Roasting Pans
You won’t have to clean what you don’t get dirty. So line your turkey roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil or cook the bird in a bag. Pour drippings into a pot to make gravy, then throw away the liner.
Line Garbage Cans
Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action.
Don’t let stains on the carpet or rings on the furniture set. While wine stains are still wet, dab with go-to cleaner hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dish detergent; blot with a clean cloth. Get rid of water stains on wood furniture with a dab of white toothpaste (not gel). Rub in the direction of the grain.
Pump Up the Music
Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with a cleaning playlist.