Throwing a party is so much fun, but half of the work ends up being the dirty job of cleaning up. When you’ve put so much work into planning the menu, prepping and cooking the food, putting up decorations, and creating a fun schedule of party games, it can be a real bummer to clean up the aftermath. If post-party cleanup is keeping you from enjoying more parties with friends and family, we’ve got some great suggestions to help cut back on the mess.
*Post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure can be viewed here.
Dishes can pile up fast even with small parties. Using as many disposable items as possible will significantly cut back on time spent scrubbing and scouring dishes and serving trays. (You can check out these biodegradable party supplies for a more planet-friendly option). Coordinating matching plastic cups, paper plates, napkins, and plasticware also helps your party’s theme take center stage! Decorative plastic table covers are perfect for when the party is over because you can wrap up all the mess and throw it out.
Aside from the typical tableware for guests to eat and drink with, you’ll also want to cook and serve food in disposable aluminum trays. Any greasy aftermath can just be chucked in the trash, or you can cover your aluminum trays with foil to store leftovers.
Sometimes it’s not possible to use all disposable kitchen and tableware items when throwing a party. If that’s the case, choose one area of your kitchen counter space to place dirty and used items. This will keep the rest of your counters free for snacks, drinks, desserts, and any other prep work that still needs to be done. If soda and/or beer cans will be present at your party, make sure to have a recycling bin in an accessible spot. Announce to your guests where they can place recyclables and give any special instructions for rinsing or crushing cans.
If you like putting things off until later, then you’ll love this cleanup hack. After cooking a big meal, there’s bound to be some tough stuck-on messes. But those dirty pots and pans will be much easier to clean with a little dish soap and a soak period. When you’re done cooking, get those dishes straight to the sink so they can soak while you and your guests eat. After your meal, they should be ready to clean—or at least easier to scrape bits off and throw the items into the dishwasher.
When guests have settled into their chosen seats, it can be easy to simply keep used plates, plastic wear, and beverage cans sitting nearby while they chat it up. Walking around with a garbage bag encourages guests to clean up after themselves and helps make room for additional courses or party games. It will also help in avoiding after-party pests by reducing spilled crumbs and scraps of food. If your party is fairly large-scale, it’s best to keep trash cans in high-traffic areas like the kitchen, dining room, and living room.
A cleaning caddy is a great way to get all of your cleaning supplies in one place as you work your way from room to room. Fill your caddy with essential cleaning supplies like disinfectants, degreasers, mild dish soap and water in a spray bottle, sponges, rags, and brushes. Choosing to clean by category instead of room-to-room may help some people avoid losing momentum as well.
One of the simplest and most stress-free ways to throw a party is to do so at a restaurant, indoor play place, or similar business that can provide the food, drinks, tableware, and atmosphere.
Many restaurants and indoor play places that offer party hosting have a large room where your party can happen in privacy away from the other restaurant guests. When the party is over, the business’s staff or a professional cleaning service does all the dirty work to clean and sanitize. While this option can be a bit more pricey than doing everything yourself, you might never go back to hosting a party at home again when you see how easy it is!
For annual holiday parties, organizing your decorations is a must, especially if you place your decor in similar locations every year. Putting your decor away in an organized way also sets you up for easy assembly next year. Label what should go in each box or bin and what location in your house they are usually set up in. It can also help to store and label your decor by the color. Don’t forget to discard or donate items that haven’t come out of the storage box in years.
If you know the guests who are the most likely to stay the latest at your party, consider asking them to help clean up before they go. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to help with this task if you just ask. When you recruit a cleanup crew, it can make the tasks of gathering garbage, putting away chairs, and moving tables go so much faster. Being the host doesn’t mean everything has to fall on your shoulders.
If you don’t already implement this tip into your daily and post-party cleanups, you definitely need to! Cleaning from top to bottom is a common sense hack that saves you time and helps you get an area as clean as possible.
First, take down decorations that are hanging on your walls, and don’t worry about any little bits of crepe paper or string that fall to the floor.
Next, clean your tables, dishes, and countertops, once again not worrying about crumbs falling.
Finally, sweep and mop your floors. If you had done the floors first, you probably would have had crumbs and other trash bits fall on your freshly cleaned floors.
We hope you’ve now discovered a post-party cleanup hack that best meets your needs. These hacks will help you be the host with the most and build your confidence when hosting your next get-together!