Thanksgiving hosts, listen up. This is NOT A DRILL! Turkey day is right around the corner, and you’ve got a lot to do to get ready.
And while you might think it’s the turkey and stuffing that makes you tired after the big feast, we think it might actually be all the messes you’ll have to clean. But don’t worry, we’re here to help!
If we’ve learned anything after many years of hosting, it’s that a little Thanksgiving preparation can make holiday clean-up a whole lot easier.
So don’t wait until the last minute to get your house ready. That’s a surefire way to end up being a stressed-out host. We know you want to spend as much time as possible with family and friends. Here’s how to plan ahead, so you can enjoy the festivities, too.
Check out our pre and post-Thanksgiving cleaning checklists, along with cleaning tips for all kinds of surfaces and stains, to ensure you’ve got everything covered. That way when the turkey comes out of the oven, you can sit down, relax, and enjoy your guests.
Countdown To Thanksgiving: Your Cleaning Checklists
You’ve probably been going over your Thanksgiving dinner menu in your head for weeks. Making sure you know everyone’s dietary restrictions, checking out recipes, planning your grocery list, etc.
But have you put together a cleaning and house-prep plan to make sure you’re ready to host? Without an organized Thanksgiving checklist, chances are you’ll forget a few things. Then end up scrambling at the last minute to get it all done.
Not you, not this year. You’re organized! You’re one step ahead of the game. Armed with our cleaning cheat sheets, uh we mean checklists, you’re leaving nothing to chance. You got this!
Before Thanksgiving Cleaning Checklist
The first thing to consider when making your Thanksgiving cleaning plans is whether or not you will have overnight guests. If yes, it’s best to start putting the guest room in order a few days ahead of the big meal.
The last thing you want to be doing on Thanksgiving day is running around trying to find sheets, pillows and air mattresses. So plan to complete all your guest room tasks at least 3-5 days in advance.
Guest Room Prep:
- Tidy up your guest bedroom(s) and make sure they’re ready for guests.
- Clean your bedroom carpets or bedroom floors.
- Freshen up guest room comforters or duvets.
- Make sure you have plenty of clean blankets and bedding available.
- Dust thoroughly.
- Inspect the bedroom curtains to see if they need a thorough cleaning.
- Check to be sure you have enough pillows, and clean any pillows that may need it.
- Give your guest bathroom a thorough scrubbing.
- Make sure you have enough towels and prepare toiletries for your guests.
Once your guest rooms are ready to go, you’ll want to turn your attention to the rest of the house. Any space where people will gather needs to be cleaned and decluttered.
You’ll want to spend extra time and care prepping the kitchen and dining room, since that’s where most of the Thanksgiving activity happens. These tasks can be done 1-3 days in advance.
Living Room, Bathroom and Patio Prep:
- Walk through common areas where guests will mingle and declutter those spaces.
- Vacuum and dust common areas and be sure there’s plenty of seating for guests. (you may have to get those extra folding chairs out of storage).
- Spot clean your couch.
- If you plan to use your fireplace, be sure it’s clean to avoid chimney fires.
- Scrub your main bathroom.
- Be sure the bathroom is stocked with towels, soap, and plenty of toilet paper.
- If people will be gathering outside (weather permitting) clean your deck and patio furniture.
- Clean any windows that look dirty or dingy.
- If you have a cat, be sure to clean out the litter box so your house smells fresh.
- Clean out a convenient closet or entryway so guests have a place to store coats, umbrellas, and handbags.
Kitchen and Dining Room Prep:
- Make sure you have enough place settings and chairs for everyone coming to dinner.
- Wash any holiday-specific laundry such as tablecloths, place mats, and cloth napkins.
- Polish silver and clean any baking pans and serving dishes you will need.
- Clean and organize your kitchen and pantry.
- Take inventory to see if you have all the spices and condiments you will need.
- Clean out your fridge.
- Clean your dining room table and any extra tables you may need.
- Make a grocery list and go shopping.
IMPORTANT: If you buy a frozen turkey, be sure you have plenty of time to thaw it out! A 12-16 pound turkey takes 3-4 days, a 16-20 pound turkey will take 4-5 days.
Day-Of Thanksgiving Hosting Checklist
The big moment has finally arrived! Here’s your Thanksgiving day checklist to ensure everything goes smoothly when your guests arrive.
- Figure out cooking times for all dishes so you know when to put them in the oven.
- Clean and prep your vegetables.
- Start chilling your white wine, rosé, or champagne in the fridge.
- Be sure you have plenty of ice for drinks and an ice bucket.
- Empty all your trash cans.
- Grab a bottle of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner and do a last minute wipedown of any surfaces in your bathroom, living room, kitchen, and guest rooms.
- Set and decorate your Thanksgiving table.
- Set out glassware and drinks so that guests can help themselves.
After Thanksgiving Cleaning Checklist
First off, take a moment to congratulate yourself. You did it super host! You managed to pull off Thanksgiving without a hitch, and all your friends and family had a great time.
Then it’s time to tackle the after-dinner cleanup.
- Pack away leftovers in take-home containers or food-storage bins.
- Collect all the plates, silverware, and glasses. Load and run the dishwasher.
- Hand wash any dishes that are too delicate or won’t fit in the dishwasher.
- Spot treat any stains on holiday laundry (like tablecloths). Wash all your party linens and put away for the next get-together.
- Clean your stovetop, kitchen countertops and backsplash.
- Clean the carpets and floors where any eating or food prep took place.
- Strip the guest room beds and clean any bedding, blankets, or comforters.
Then sit back, relax, pour yourself a drink and raise your glass to celebrate a well-organized and stress-free Thanksgiving. You’ve earned it!
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