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7 Quick Thanksgiving Clean Up Tips

Last Updated: May 5, 2022

7 Quick Thanksgiving Clean Up Tips

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Thanksgiving is the time to express gratitude with great feasts. With great feasts comes great waste, however. Many families find it hard to plan a good cleanup to a Thanksgiving dinner, especially for large gatherings. No need to fear, as there are a few tips that can benefit your next Thanksgiving cleanup.

There are seven quick tips that will benefit any Thanksgiving planner's cleanup efforts. The key with these tips is planning ahead. We all know a big Thanksgiving meal will lead to a lot of mess. Therefore, be sure to plan the following tips beforehand. Nothing is worse than a large cleanup at the last minute, which is why you should read on to make Thanksgiving a clean experience.

Plan Ahead for Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Planning a Thanksgiving dinner often seems like the most detailed aspect of the holiday. However, the meal often tends to be less complicated than the aftermath.

Preparing food is certainly challenging, as any chef or home cook could tell you. Having said that, people often tend to overprepare for the cooking and don't prepare at all when it comes to the cleaning afterward.

One pre-thought strategy for dealing with the meal mess is limiting the dishes you are going to cook. Thomas Keller, chef and restaurateur, advises that you should limit the food items you're preparing. "Just do three or four things instead of eight or nine," Keller says.

Keller's logic applies to both meal prep and the cleanup after eating. In the cleaning sense, limiting the dishes you serve will limit the cleanup later. Even with limited dishes, however, Thanksgiving can still leave messes piling up. The seven easy cleanup tips below will give you an edge when it comes time to clean after the big feast.

An infographic explaining seven quick clean up tips for Thanksgiving
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7 Quick Clean Up Tips

As mentioned, there are seven tips for quick Thanksgiving cleaning. Following the seven mentioned tips will give you an edge when it comes to taking care of the dinner mess. The more you prepare, the more relieved you will feel come cleaning time.

1. Prevent Dirty Dishes - Use Disposables

It may not be fancy living, but using disposable plates and utensils will save you oodles of time when it comes to cleaning. Paper plates and plastic utensils may seem hokey at first, yet you won't feel that way when time comes to start washing dishes.

At that point, you'll probably wish you had used disposable plates and utensils. Utilize aluminum baking pans for your main course and side dishes as well.

2. Create a Soaking Station for Dishes

If you are unable (or unwilling) to use disposable dishware, be prepared to wash lots of dishes. A soaking station is a good way to get ahead of the mess with a deep clean. Simply fill your station with soapy water and place the dirtied dishes there for a few minutes after the food has been served off them.

You could use a sink as your station, yet your home sink won't likely fit big pots and pans. Instead, consider using a garbage can. A large garbage can easily handle the load, and creates more space in your sink for dishware/utensils that may not need to soak. This also makes the workload less severe on your dishwasher.

3. Keep Paper Towels Handy

Paper towels are a lifesaver when it comes to an easy Thanksgiving cleanup. Rather than scramble to clean your dining table and other surfaces, a lot of paper towels can streamline the process.

Having paper towels readily available also lets you clean as messes are made. Instead of waiting to clean after messes have piled up, consider cleaning surfaces as you go. Cleaning as you go gives you less to manage after the Thanksgiving feast, of course.

4. Storage Containers are Your Friend

This cannot be emphasized enough: storage containers are your best friend when it comes to Thanksgiving cleanups. Even better, consider using a rolling cart to wheel away the storage containers. Aside from their obvious purpose (storing food), they can also be used as makeshift garbage areas for the table.

Storage containers can be useful for quite a bit when it comes to large gatherings like Thanksgiving. Its always good to get creative with what you have so cleaning up doesn't become more than you can handle.

5. Invest in Triple-Duty Cookware

Triple-duty cookware are designed to go from stove to fridge. Rather than having to transfer leftovers into separate containers, these specialty roasting pans can cut down on your clean up efforts.

As a fun side-project, you can actually make your own cookware. You read that right! Bread bowls, for example, are a great homemade cookware. Not only can they go from stove to fridge, you can eat them too!

6. Prepare Trash Cans and Extra Bags

You can never be too prepared to tackle trash on Thanksgiving. Depending on how big the family gathering is, you may want to keep a spare trash can or two handy. Also, be sure to have a lot of trash bags ready to go.

Never underestimate the waste that can come from a large meal, Thanksgiving especially. Messes are easy to make on the big day. To avoid the messes getting out of hand too fast, invest in trash cans to streamline the clean up process.

7. Get Help from the Whole Family

If you have a big family, get them to help you! This may seem obvious, but we all know a holiday perfectionist that wants to do everything themselves. Thanksgiving clean up is not something you should have to tackle alone.

Divide responsibilities between adults and kids, making sure to keep plenty of cleaning supplies around. Some family members can tackle the dining room while you're washing dishes. The more hands cleaning, the faster the job will get done.

Serving Dishes Cleanly has Never Been Easier

You can make thanksgiving a quick-clean experience by following the aforementioned tips. No one likes being stuck with a daunting clean up task, and the task doesn't have to be daunting.

There are easy ways to speed up the after-dinner cleaning. Don't get stuck with the messy leftovers of the year's accomplishments, plan ahead and save the stress!

Consider a Roll Off Dumpster for Large Thanksgiving Events

If your Thanksgiving feast is large enough to plan a small event, consider utilizing a roll off dumpster for your clean up. It is not unheard of for communities to throw large Thanksgiving dinners for hundreds of people. In this case, you may need some heavy-duty help to handle the waste.

A 20-yard dumpster is perfect for community events, making the after-dinner clean up a breeze. There is no such thing as being too-prepared for a Thanksgiving meal. This is especially true when it comes to cleaning after bellies are full and the turkey drowsiness sets in!

About Julian Drury

Julian Drury is a Content Specialist with Discount Dumpster, with a good array of knowledge on waste management topics. He has been writing since he was 10, and makes it his mission to present engaging and informational content for all readers who need waste management solutions.

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