We’ve all been there: After HOURS of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, there are still another two to three hours of clean-up. From storing leftovers to soaking pots to loading the dishwasher, it seems there’s an endless list of things to clean up after the feast.
But fear not! With a bit of planning, your Thanksgiving doesn’t have to end in an evening of scrubbing.
The key to easy cleanup is making some of your favorite side dishes ahead of time. Most dishes — from mashed potatoes to sweet potato casserole to cranberry sauce — can be made ahead and refrigerated a day or two in advance. Search online for recipes for make-ahead Thanksgiving sides. Do as much as you can before the big day, so all you have to do is cook your turkey and reheat your side dishes.
Clean as you go
Mise en place, or “everything in its place,” is a technique French chefs use to quickly and effortlessly prepare meals. Before you start cooking, have everything cut, prepped and measured. Put dishes, bowls, utensils and measuring cups into the dishwasher as you go. You can clean up more thoroughly as dishes are cooking — so when it’s time to eat, you can enjoy the meal rather than stressing about cleanup.
If you’re having guests over, invite them to bring a favorite side or dessert. If you know what they’re bringing, you can cross it off your list and save yourself the time — and the cleanup.
Do a quick sweep while the turkey rests
Turkeys should rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving, so use that time to put away ingredients, load the dishwasher and give the counters a quick wipe down. Scentsy Counter Clean creates a dirt-repelling barrier on sealed surfaces with regular use — and leaves behind amazing, mood-lifting fragrance.
Do a load of dishes during dinner
Though we’re big proponents of running several small loads throughout the day, go ahead and fire up the dishwasher before you eat. By the time you’re ready for dessert, the dishwasher will be ready to empty, meaning you won’t have a sink full of dishes piling up.
Put away food first
One of the things that causes the biggest mess during Thanksgiving is the barrage of food and plates that flood the kitchen. To make things easier, clear the leftover food from the table first. Once you have the food in the kitchen, you can cover and store it. Make sure you have plenty of zip-top storage bags and plastic cling wrap on hand. Then, clear the table.
Clean dishes from cleanest to dirtiest
Scrape dishes and give them a quick rinse. If you’re handwashing dishes, wash the least dirty dishes — like plates and glassware — before greasier dishes like gravy boats and the roasting pan. And if you’re loading your dishwasher, soak big, greasy pots and pans in the sink overnight rather than taking up space in your dishwasher. A biodegradable dish soap with particle-dissolving enzymes — like Scentsy Kitchen Soap — will make quick work of even the greasiest dishes, meaning you can soak them overnight and wipe them clean, without the scrubbing.
Toss linens in the wash
If you used a cloth tablecloth and napkins, now’s the time to toss them in the wash. Treat any spots with stain remover before adding them to the washing machine. To keep stains from setting in, use the coldest setting and a detergent with dirt-lifting enzymes, like Scentsy Laundry Liquid.
The finishing touches
Finish up by wiping down the counters, sweeping the floors and taking out the trash. Even if you have a few pots soaking in the sink, you’ll have cleaned up in record time. Now, you can put your feet up and enjoy some pumpkin pie!
Got any great tips for cleaning up after Thanksgiving? Share them in the comments section! And if you’re interested in trying the products mentioned in this article, contact your Scentsy Consultant.
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