Christmas parties are great – it’s a time when family and friends gather and bond over stories, food, and wine. At the end of the night, however, someone has to clean up the mess. When your last guest has finally left and you’re alone with the “aftermath,” apply these tips to help you through the post-party clean up:

Having an organized container for baubles helps you avoid post-Christmas clutter
Having an organized container for baubles helps you avoid post-Christmas clutter

Refrigerate and set aside leftovers

As the party is winding down, take some time away from the fun to package and refrigerate any unfinished food lying around. Doing this early on in the night means you don’t need to go through the leftovers to check if any of the food has gone bad. This also includes taking stock of unfinished bottles of wine (useful for some recipes like beef bourguignon), and candy canes and peppermint sticks which you can use as toppings for cupcakes and other sweets.

Do the dishes early

Create a space in your kitchen for your guests to leave their dirty dishes in and periodically check to see if there are dishes that need soaking before being loaded into the dishwasher. At the end of the party, run your first load before cleaning up the rest of the space. Once the rest of the areas are cleaned, run your second load and then head to bed. You can do the next load (if still needed) when you wake up the next morning. No point in waiting around for the load to finish when you can be catching up on your sleep instead.

Make sure garbage is disposed properly

Prior to the party, place sufficient bins around so your guests can properly dispose of their trash. It’s easier to just grab these bags and leave them by the curb, or throw down the garbage chute at the end of the day. To clean up the rest of the mess that gets inevitably left behind, do a sweep of the entire place with garbage bags in hand. This way, you can quickly throw any leftover trash in the bag.

Get rest, and reserve the big tasks for the next day

Do the rest of your cleanup the following day. After a long party, the last thing you want to be doing is general cleaning in the middle of the night. So go to bed and tackle the rest of the chores in the morning when you’re more refreshed.

Post-party cleanup doesn’t have to be a huge chore. By thinking ahead and planning a cleanup strategy, you’ll be able to breeze through the task faster. Don’t spend your Christmas party worrying over the huge mess your guests may be making. Enjoy the festivities and worry about the cleanup later.

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