Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away, and many of us are in the full swing of preparation for the meal, a houseful of guests, and (unfortunately) the cleanup afterward. Getting your house back to baseline after a major holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas can be difficult at best. The sheer amount of food and cooking that takes place, along with the higher number of people making use of your home, can leave you with hours of cleaning and tidying up after the fun is over, and unless all of your guests are overnight guests (which holds its own set of challenges) you’ll probably be doing most of it yourself.

That’s why we have compiled these 5 tips for making Turkey Day cleanup easier and more manageable, whether you are hosting 4 people or 40.

  1. Cook your turkey in a bag! Not only does this technique usually result in a better, more moist bird, but it also makes cleanup a breeze. Let’s face it, cleaning that turkey pan is usually one of the most dreaded tasks at the end of the meal! Unlike traditional roasting pans alone, cooking your turkey in this way means you don’t end up with a greasy, sticky pan to soak and scrub. Simply package up leftovers, and throw the roasting bag right into the garbage!
  2. Opt for disposable when possible. Yes, we know this isn’t the most environmentally friendly option, but when you’re trying to cut down on labor time on Thanksgiving day, it makes the most sense. Disposable, aluminum pans make great options for cooking casseroles, keeping side dishes warm in the oven, or baking desserts in. Many come with lids, so leftovers become as simple as popping the top on and putting it in the fridge or pantry. On the table, heavy duty paper plates and plasticware are a wonderful way to feed a crowd without standing and washing dishes for hours afterward. If you want to go a little more green and have a little less guilt, look for heavy duty paper plates that are recyclable!
  3. Keep paper towels and wet wipes handy all around the house. This is an especially important tip if you have children attending your holiday gathering. Messy hands and your furniture and walls aren’t a great mix, and having wet wipes on hands makes like easier for parents who are trying to clean sticky fingers (and save your white armchair!). For the occasional spill or smudge, paper towels being conveniently located means the offending party will likely clean up on their own, and you won’t find a dried puddle of gravy or a spilled soda left to attract ants later on in the afternoon.
  4. Take care of leftovers ASAP. While it’s easy to let things pile up when you’re enjoying the party, leaving all of the leftovers and dishes out for hours after the event means you’ll not only have dried out food that might not be able to be saved, but you’ll also have an overwhelming amount of cleanup when the final guest says goodbye. Pre-select containers for different leftovers and have them out and ready to go if possible. For things like breads, cookies, etc. you can even label plastic storage bags and have them handy for packing up leftovers as soon as the eating is done. If you put away leftovers quickly, you’ll be surprised when you turn around after the party and realize most of the hard work is already done!
  5. Have a plan for garbage. This is a big one. Even if you use your great-grandma’s traditional china and silver, and put out a traditional spread without a disposable dish in sight, you will still need to manage garbage on the big day! Try to have more than one garbage can available for guests (or cleanup helpers) when it’s time to throw away paper towels and napkins, scrape plates into, etc. Pro tip: opt for the heavy duty garbage bags for these types of events! The last thing you want is a trail of dripped gravy, crumbs, and other “ick” from your cooking across the floor when you take the garbage out.

Hudson Square Furniture wants to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. We hope you enjoy a holiday full of the food, people, and places you love most.