Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Between all that delicious turkey, fine ham, ham stuffed turkeys and turkey stuffed hams, what’s not to love? Well, except the cleanup of course.

The only downside to a great thanksgiving feast is the nigh herculean task of having to clean up after the fact. Well, fear not. We’re here to help you out with a few simple and effective tips you’ll really be thankful for.

1. Get help.
Don’t feel bad about asking for help! It is much easier to scrub the bottom of that turkey pan knowing that someone is there to dry it when you’re done. If your guests are slow to take up the torch, give them a choice between two jobs (taking out the trash or wiping down the table, for example) and they will feel obligated to choose one.

Working together makes cleaning quicker so you can get to the best part of Thanksgiving- spending time with your friends and loved ones.

2. Jump start your cleaning.
Don’t wait until dinner is over to start the cleaning. Clean as you cook, making sure to clean up any cookware or utensils you’re done using. Empty your trash right before dinner, so it doesn’t overflow once the dishes start. Once your turkey is done and carved, fill the cooking dish with warm soapy water and return it back to the warm oven. The water and heat will help loosen up any stuck food or grease while you are eating.

By the time dinner is finished, you’ll only have to deal with what’s on the table. Have you guests bring their dishes to the kitchen, and you’re practically done!

3. Be smart about leftovers.
If at all possible, cook your meal in dishes that can be easily covered and stored after dinner. If you’re planning on sending food home with guests, you can get inexpensive cardboard take-home boxes that can be easily packed with food. That will ensure you don’t have to send them home with your favorite Tupperware, never to be seen again.

When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is about good food, good company, and having a good time. Slaving over dishes by yourself doesn’t exactly fit within that description. Taking these simple steps will help minimize your after-dinner cleanup, leaving you with more time to relax and enjoy the holiday.

Happy cleaning, and of course, happy Thanksgiving!

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