The 1-Hour Thanksgiving Cleaning Plan

published Nov 25, 2015
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(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

Hosting a large group of people for Thanksgiving can be stressful. The days leading up to the meal are focused on prepping as much food as possible in advance, which means you’ll probably be running around at the last minute to make sure your home is in order.

To make things a little bit easier, here are a few last-minute cleanup chores for the whole family. Take a break one hour before guests arrive to have everyone help tidy up.

Young Kids: Pick Up Anything That Doesn’t Belong

Arm your youngest child (the one who likely got out a few toys to play with right in front of the dining table) with a basket or bag and have them pick up anything that is out of place — toys, newspapers or magazines, iPads, and so on. It can all go in the bag and be stashed in a bedroom or closet until guests have gone home.

Grade School-Aged Kids: Make Closet Space for Guests

Have your slightly older child gather empty hangers from everyone’s closet so there are enough extras in the coat closet for everyone to hang up their jackets when they arrive. You can also designate this child to be in charge of greeting guests and hanging up coats.

Tweens: Take Out the Trash

Even if trash day was yesterday, you’ve been doing a lot of cooking and are having a lot of people over soon. Have your tween empty out all the trash cans in the kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure they put new trash bags in as well. They should also be in charge of checking periodically throughout the afternoon or evening to make sure the trash doesn’t need to be taken out again.

Teen: Spot-Clean the Bathrooms

You’ve likely done a full clean already, so this is just a quick wipe-down of the sink, mirror, and toilet seat to make sure everything is still clean. It’s the one place where guests will have a moment to themselves to notice if things are messy. Make sure your teen also puts extra toilet paper somewhere that’s easily accessible, and put them in charge of checking on it throughout the evening.

(Image credit: l i g h t p o e t)

College Aged-Kid: Help with the Dishes

If you have a kid who’s home from college, they can probably get all of these tasks listed above done and still have time to help you with the dishes so you’re not facing such an enormous pile of them once everyone has gone home. Have them either start the dishwasher, or wash some of the bigger pots and pans (including drying and putting them away).

Spouse: Anything Listed Above, Plus Last-Minute Errands

Have your spouse help with anything on this list that’s not covered by someone else in your family. Then make sure that you have everything you need. If you don’t, have your spouse call to find an open store (convenience stores or bodegas are most likely to be open) and run out to get what you need.

You: Relax for a Minute

If you’ve been the one doing the cooking, take at least a 15-minute break to sit down and check Instagram or Facebook, or just delete all those inevitable Black Friday emails. Even just a little breather will help you be a more relaxed host.