The big party is over! And now it’s time to clean up the remnants of the a-fabulous-time-was-had-by-all! A party or big gathering can be a blast but it can also wreak havoc on your home. I’m not talking about the kind of mess from Animal House, but let’s face it… parties, holidays or big family gatherings can leave us with a bit of a mess on our hands! No worry, we can get our homes back in before-party shape easily if we have a plan! Here are 10 fabulous tips for cleaning up after a big gathering! Perfect post for cleaning up after Christmas guests!

Hey sweet friends, I’ve been missing for a few days, maybe you noticed. I got a very bad Grinch of a virus Christmas night that landed my in the ER and in bed for a few days. But you can’t keep a good girl down… at least not for long. I’m so happy to be back in my office and blogging again!

Only a few days to enter the StoneGable $200.00 Reader Appreciation Giveaway.  I hope to see you commenting and building the StoneGable community!

Today on Decorating Tips and Tricks we are talking about CHOOSING THE PERFECT SOFA. This episode is hysterical and has lots of information!!! You will also learn Anita’s real name! This episode is a MUST listen to!



You can listen to any or all DDT episode HERE.


I’m digging through the archives to bring you a very revelant post. Today’s is fabulous advice for cleaning up after Christmas or New Years!!!! Let’s begin….

When Bobby and I were younger we could stay up until 4:am getting our home in tip-top shape after a night of fun. But those days are over! If our parties end late into the evening, once everyone is gone we put away the essentials, soak the dishes and head for bed. It’s much easier to wake up in the am, grab a big cup of coffee and divide and conquer! 

Here’s what we do now. It’s really a whole lot smarter!


10 PRICELESS TIPS FOR PICKING UP AFTER A PARTY-let-guests-help-stonegableblog.com

The number one rule for getting your home back in order quickly after a big party, family reunion, holiday or entertaining any large group of people is… IF SOMEONE ASKS TO HELP, LET THEM! I’m not sure why a hostess would turn down an extra set of hands. Make cleaning up a party in itself. Dance, have a libation and everyone will want to get in on the fun!

Can a helpful guest go from room to room picking up used glasses, plates, and napkins?  Can they help put food away after a big meal? Can they put chairs back under the correct tables?  This is so so important! Especially if hosting a family gathering. The more informal and better you know your guests the more you can ask them to do if they offer!

Don’t be shy about this. People ask because they want to help!

I don’t ask a guest to do the dishes or put dishes in the dishwasher. But, if they want to help bring dishes from the table after eating I ask them to stack them on the side of the sink.

Most guests are so willing to help and enjoy the camaraderie of a little cleaning up together!

If your gathering includes your yard for games, like ours does, enlist the kiddos in the group to help clean up the bocce balls or find and collect the whiffle balls and bats and bases!

Just remember people you invite into your home are your guests. Let those who ask do something but don’t put them to work until everything is done! 

Here’s a great idea I use often for big parties, I hire a couple of responsible teenagers to help me keep things cleaned up. It’s a win/win! 

My mom comes and helps out when I have a party. She’s a great help and she loves being involved. And she is absolutely free!

I’m sure you will know what’s appropriate for each large gathering.



This should only be used for family gatherings and for big dinners like Thanksgiving etc. To find out how to make your major holidays with family so much simpler to clean up click HERE. This is probably the best tip you will ever get when it comes to cleaning up!

We just had 12 for Christmas for five days. And EVERYONE pitched in. My house looks almost as nice as when the came! This works because when we are guests at their home we do the same.


When we have big gatherings and people spread out all over the inside and outside of my home I ALWAYS start to get the inside of my home back in working shape and then concentrate on the outside. 


Do this sooner than later. And make sure to share the wealth. If you have lots of leftovers let people take some home! Keep fun Chinese food containers on hand to put leftovers in! Refrigerate or put away all other food.

If you are freezing leftovers wrap them in foil and put them in a freezer zip-type bag. And don’t forget to label what is inside. 


Before I do any serious straightening up after my guests leave I do a sweep of my home for any glasses, plates, bowls, utensils, napkins etc and get them into the kitchen. I ignore furniture that’s been moved, chairs that are out of place, and pillows that have tumbled on the floor! I concentrate on one thing… getting what belongs in the kitchen into the kitchen! 


SPRING HOME TOUR 2016-living-room-pillows-stonegableblog-2

Don’t get distracted! Work on one room at a time. Don’t clean the room (with the exception of the kitchen and bathroom), just straighten up. Fluff the pillows, put away the coasters and make sure everything is in its place. We will get to cleaning in a minute.



For me, if my kitchen is not clean and straightened up my whole house feels messy! Tackle one thing at a time (did I say that before?). I begin with dishes. Wash the dishes! Put as many as you can in the dishwasher and wash the rest. Dry and put away any dishes that are hand washed. Don’t forget to put away the dishes in the dishwasher as soon as they are done.

Clean one countertop at a time. I start with the counter that has my coffee station on it and work around the kitchen cleaning every surface. That includes the stove and any other appliance that has been used! Knobs and pulls often get dirty too so give them a good fast swipe.

Don’t forget the floors! I wash up the kitchen floors when I am working on the kitchen. I don’t like crumby or sticky kitchen floors!  When I leave the kitchen it is often better than when guest arrived!



Bathrooms get quite a workout during a party. Don’t forget to clean them from top to bottom. Work fast and it should take you no time at all!



When all the rooms are tidied up then go from room to room with a dust cloth or feather duster. After a good dusting run the vacuum through the party areas! Easy-peasy!


If the party goes outdoors, make sure to spend a little time cleaning up outside too. 


It’s really great if you have a partner or two or three that can work with you! But if you are working alone make sure to turn on some great zippy music and be determined. Don’t stop until your home is back in order! 

I hope this will give you lots of ideas and ways to CLEAN IT UP!!!! Stay inspired and GET ER DONE!

What is your best clean-up tip! Please share!

If you like this post you might also like: 


HOW TO CLEAN YOU HOME IN 30 MINUTES A DAY! Tips for a clean house-stonegableblog.com


10 TIPS FOR CLEANING MESSY SPACES IN OUR HOMES-great idea for cleaning it up-stonegableblog.com

Home Style Saturdays Logo


Designthusiasm | Transitioning to Winter Decor After Christmas

Transitioning to Winter Decor After Christmas - designthusiasm.com


On Sutton Place | Easy Neutral Winter Decor Ideas

winter decor ideas on sutton place


Shabbyfufu | Five Easy Ways To Transition To Winter Decorating



Savvy Southern Style | The Christmas Farmhouse Style Bedroom

Christmas Farmhouse Style Bedroom


StoneGable | 10 Priceless Tips For Cleaning Up After A Party



So Much Better With Age | New Year’s Eve Party Ideas



Maison de Pax | Quick Tips for Winter Decorating

bookshelf styling tips















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  1. Barbara Bachus says:

    I recently hosted a Christmas celebration for 28 people! Before going to bed and with the help of others, the next morning was met with coffee and cleaning the wine glasses! I definitely agree when you say to take the help of others! Did I mention that I had to scrape the kitchen floor before going to bed??? ?

  2. First of all Yvonne, I am so glad you are up & about & feeling better! Nothing worse than not being well holiday time! And I did miss you!

    Cleaning up after a big dinner & party was a great post! I totally agree with attending to the kitchen first…food, dishes, and putting away what belongs in the kitchen….then attend to the rest of the house. The kitchen is the center of our home and we spend a lot of time here….I have to have order here for the same reason you do…it makes the rest of my house feel messy! So many thanks for sharing your helpful tips! I wouldn’t do anything different!! Happy New Year!?

  3. Thanks for all the wonderful tips, Yvonne! Once again, you have great advice for us! Sorry to hear you have been sick, but hope you got to enjoy all the Christmas festivities with your family. We had 34 people at our house for Christmas, and had a wonderful time!

  4. The dish pan idea is brilliant in its efficiency and simplicity

  5. KittyLuvr says:

    I am so sorry to hear you have been under the weather! Not a fun way to end the holiday season..but I hope this cheers you up! I am a long time reader and I will definitely second your comment about using a dish pan to clean up as the best tip ever from StoneGable blog! I have been using it for several holidays now and for big parties..and it’s definitely party changing! Everything is corralled into one area…and clean up is a zip and a breeze! Thanks for sharing that!

  6. Good morning! I have never been the first to reply, but I have been awake since 1:00 AM! I saw your post arrive in my “in box”, so it provided me entertainment during a sleepless night. Glad you are feeling better! So sorry to hear about the ER, etc.! Great tips on cleaning up after a party…I need to take your advice. I do not like assistance, except from the hubs, who heads straight to bed!

    Let’s take a nap this afternoon!!!

  7. So sorry you were sick Christmas night….Love your cleaning ideas, esp one room at a time. We entertain weekly and getting the kitchen clean is our number one priority. And after that, much can be left until morning!

  8. So glad you are feeling better. Stay well…
    For the first time ever, someone else loaded our dishwasher after Christmas dinner. One of our sons-in-law was at the sink before we could move and grandchildren were clearing the table. We were told it is time for a new tradition!

  9. Glad you’re feeling better! I love your posts and ideas,many of which I’ve implemented. I appreciate your practical Commonsense approach to home keeping. Happy New Year,

  10. Janette @ The 2 Seasons says:

    So glad you are feeling better. I have so loved listening to your podcasts. Happy New Year!

  11. Jill Antonucci says:

    So happy your feeling better. I did miss you!
    Looking forward to writing all of your 2018 post in my Stonegable notebook!
    Thanks for all of your inspiration.

  12. I am not sure how I have missed your dishpan post but I did. How I wish I had seen that before the Holidays, it is a great idea! We have some new people in our gatherings who tend to flounder at meals end not knowing how to be helpful. You have given me the answer to the problem that will not make them feel out of place. I have all prep work done long before guests arrive but the clean up gets a bit complicated with everyone trying to help but actually complicating the process. This will work. My next big “do” will be Easter and I will think of your idea and put the new process into place at that time! Thank you.

  13. Great ideas to remember! I will get this out and refresh my memory before our next big family party at our house! Thanks!

  14. Sorry to hear that you were not feeling well. Sounds like you are on to the road to recovery. So many good tips on your blog for getting the house clean. All my Christmas is down as we are leaving for warmer weather tomorrow. Stay healthy and keep us happy with your informative blogs.

  15. Karen VanLoo says:

    Hi Yvonne! I hope you are starting to feel better! Now that Christmas is put away, I am really getting into the organizing and cleaning mode. My plan is to go through drawers in my kitchen and furniture. I have so much stuff it’s ridiculous and really want to spend January purging things I do not need and throwing them out or donating them! I always love your tips and ideas. Get well soon my friend!

  16. Rita C at Panoply says:

    So sorry to hear you caught what’s going around. That was my biggest fear before hosting 32 of my family, even though there have been a couple who caught that nasty bug.
    These are good ideas, and I keep all the supplies in a caddy on each floor – it’s a big time-saver. Now that all the serving pieces are stored and linens washed, I’m ready to tackle the decoration take-downs.
    Cheers to a healthy 2018, Yvonne.

    1. We had 14 with us and all but 3 got sick! Thank goodness this bug waited until after Christmas for everyone… but me!

  17. Norma Rolader says:

    Thank you for the great tips and information for cleaning up after a large gathering Have a blessed New Year and can’t wait to see what you have for us in 2018

  18. First…so sorry to hear you’ve been sick. Glad to hear you’re up and feeling better. I’ve missed you but figured you were taking some much needed time off….& enjoying your family.
    Second- great post!! The dishpan idea truly is one of the best tips out of all the fabulous tips, you’ve given!!! Thank you for sharing your tips, tricks, menus, and best of all…your Sunday post. I’ve scaled back my subscriptions (just needed to simplify) but look forward to your post everyday- iPad in one hand, coffee in the other- I open my inbox to read what you have in store for us today.
    Happy New Year, Yvonne!!!!! Looking forward to 2018 at Stonegable!!!!!

    1. Hi Linda, I read and comment on the comments every morning with coffee in hand too! So fun to meet here at StoneGable!

  19. Love the dishpan idea!

  20. Yes isn’t that a wretched bug going around?! Even i caught it and I never get sick! Glad you were able to enjoy Christmas. Good tips on cleaning up. Many hands make light the work. Here’s to a healthy and happy New Year!

  21. Great advice! I have a hard time letting people help me clean up after a party, but I am trying to change that.

  22. Hope you’re feeling better; the flu bug can be quite nasty! Love these tips, I do most of them already but you suggest putting on zippy music while cleaning. Since we’ve moved into our new home last year, I find I do my BEST housework when I listen to your podcast!! I have trouble getting motivated if I’m listening to you Ladies!! LOL!

  23. Thanks for all the helpful hints.

  24. I am so sorry you have been sick. Your blog post is the first thing I look for every morning. You have inspired me to change my colors to neutral. Can’t wait to see what you’re doing in 2018!

  25. Oh no! Sorry you had to go to the ER. I know you are in good hands! And what a lovely home you have created to comfort you. I was just thinking about what my New Year’s resolution should be (I don’t usually do this). What came to mind immediately: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul and Love your neighbor as yourself.” God’s gift of guidance for the New Year! I’m all in. Happy New Year, Yvonne!

  26. So glad you are feeling better!

  27. Lana Nicol says:

    I’m having two large events in my home this spring and I’m printing these ideas for clean up. Thanks!

  28. So sorry to hear about that nasty virus and so glad you are better. Thanks for some great ideas to get things back in order after lots of fun with friends and family!

  29. So sorry to hear you have been sick but glad you are better! I love the dishpan tip. Will definitely be using that for future parties! I am a new subscriber but especially enjoyed your post about peace at Christmas. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!

  30. Good tips, but I don’t have much luck with getting clean up help, especially, from the younger generation and the older folks really aren’t able to pitch in that much, so I either hand out the dish towels or do it myself. Anyone else have this problem?

    1. Hi Judi, if it’s your family that are not pitching in you might have to ask for some help.

  31. Thanks for the tips.I can’t go to sleep if my kitchen is a mess ! Happy New year .

  32. great tips on cleaning up after a gathering…I always accept some help and try not ot be tempted to “redo” what help was given, hope 2018 is wonderful for us all!

  33. Jenny Young says:

    One thing I do not recommend…pushing yourself beyond your limits. My last party I’d been feeling run down but did not realize just how bad i was. I ended up in the hospital needing major surgery & didn’t get everything cleaned up from the party for weeks.

  34. I am so sorry to hear you got a nasty virus. It always seems that a bad virus/flue comes around every Christmas. I’m glad you had some family around to help you through it. Thank you for your great cleaning tips. I so agree that if my kitchen is not in order, my whole house feels out of sorts. Glad you are back and I always miss a post from you!! Just figured you were taking some time off like a lot of bloggers do during the Holidays. Happy New Year.

  35. So sorry about your “grinch of a virus”. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
    Best Wishes, too, for a wonderful 2018.
    I love having you share my mornings. When I open my newsletter, it’s like a cozy chat with a friend. Thank you.

  36. Katherine says:

    Your timing is perfect – and makes sense even for those of us who may not be having a large gathering but just a few friends in. So glad to have the “Dishpan” reminder, along with all the other great ideas.

  37. Karen Questel says:

    Hi Yvonne, We had a house full of family this season also. I gave everyone a task! One thing I do right before I sit down to eat is fill one side of the kitchen sink with hot water, then as everyone brings in their dishes I just scrape and put in the water then go about putting food away. By that time the dishes are rinsed and the dishwasher is loaded. I would love to know the brand of that very cool sweeper/dust mop I saw in the above picture??? Thank you & Happy New Year! God bless.
    ~ Karen Q

    1. Hi Karen the vacuum with the mop head is from Dirt Devil. Not sure they make it anymore.

  38. You always have the best ideas for parties. I have learned how to decorate, how to plan a menu, how to get ready before hand, and now, how to clean up afterwards. Thank you for all your wonderful ideas! Your blog is one of my all time favorites!

  39. So glad you are feeling better. Thanks for the great advice that you always share. I especially love your inspirational messages and decorating tips. Thanks again and God Bless.

  40. Sue Krueger says:

    This is my first time, commenting, but have been following you for maybe six months? This is going to sound crazy, but I feel like you are one of my close forever friends. I love your blog on everything…decorating, wrapping gifts, and even faith. And I absolutely adore your home, especially the black and white check which I have also used in part of my home even before I read your blog. Thanks for brightening my day and Happy New Year.

  41. Happy New Year !!! Glad to hear your feeling better. Great post..

  42. Denise carlson says:

    Great tips, always nice when you get your house back in order. I spend a lot of time decorating for Christmas, so I leave my decorations up until mid January. After all Christmas official starts on the 24th so legally I have 12 days! Love the holidays.
    Thanks, Denise

  43. this is my first visit and i find that you have pulled my favorite things together for the kitchen of my dreams!! it shall be pinned before i leave today!!

  44. Connie Fowler says:

    I love these cleanup ideas. I especially think that leaving the dishes to soak is a godsend, but I will try the dish pan idea this year. We aren’t seeing our kids until January 7, so I can try it. The grand kids can collect and sort everything. Usually, it’s one daughter-in-law and I who do the dishes while everyone else sits around. This time, we will leave the dished to soak, and cover the food in the serving dishes and put them in the fridge . That way we won’t be missing the visiting between dinner and dessert. And I think we’ll play a game. Time for a change around my place! Thanks for the ideas, Yvonne.

    P.S. I hope you are feeling much better.

  45. Nancy Loyd says:

    So glad you are feeling better…this has been a holiday filled with people getting sick! My mom that is 92 has had bronchitis and we are waiting to have our big family dinner once she is better! I love all your suggestions.. I had 14 for game night and one of the husbands rinsed and loaded all the plates! What an awesome help that was! But I grew up the bottom of 6 and we all had a duty for a week after our dinners!
    Happy New Year!

  46. Yvonne, sure glad you’re feeling better. Being sick at Christmas is no fun. Often happens when we are exhausted though. Hope you can get some rest and get back to your busy schedule with renewed vigor. Thank you for your helpful housekeeping tips that help make our cleanup— after a fun-filled gathering with family and friends—an easier, doable feat. I especially thank you for the quiet moments you provided in your writings, as I read about the night of our Savior’s birth. The pictures of Shepherd’s Field were moving. Thank you for sharing the “Light”, the same light the Shepherds were quick to share so many years ago! God bless you and yours in the New Year!

    1. Thanks so much Vicki. I find it humbling and stunning when my reader seem to know me so well and are so sweet to say such kind and grace-filled things about my blog. Thank you!

  47. Hi Yvonne, so sorry you had the crude during Christmas but glad you are better. Less than 10 minutes ago,I finished putting my Christmas away. Yay! I usually wait till after the new year,but my husband had the storage containers waiting for me this morning. I start out trying to be so organized,but at the end we were stashing things anywhere we could find space. Maybe next year. HaHa

  48. Have a blessed and happy new year!! Looking forward to all the great ideas coming from you next year.

  49. These tips are awesome and timeless! You are so great at breaking things down into doable steps and actually make it sound like fun!

  50. Great tips! So glad to hear you are better.

  51. Jill Miglin says:

    Hi Yvonne,
    Glad you’re feeling better. As always, great tips. I especially love the dish pan one. Such an easy one to come up with, but most of us don’t. Thanks

  52. Sorry to hear you were ill. I sure hope you’re much better now. I have been using the tubs for clearing the holiday dinner celebrations since you first posted their use. My granddaughter grabs her apron and gathers the flatware then the coffee cups and saucers. By hand, her brothers bring all glassware to a kitchen counter.
    Happy 2018.

  53. Wow, the ER! That was a lot of Grinch; sorry it happened, but glad you’re bouncing back! I always clean my kitchen first after any party, but I tend to just start cleaning up the rest of the house as I go…and it seems to take forever. I’m going to do what you suggested, one room at a time. 🙂

  54. Love love love the dishpan tip. Cannot wait for our next large gathering to give it a whirl!
    Thank you for the genius idea!! 🙂

  55. Hi Yvonne – just found your blog and loving all the tips and ideas! Sorry you were sick for the holiday…so many bugs going around. Bronchitis has been in our house for the last month and we are hoping the last of it leaves with 2017 ! Love your tips for cleaning up…I like to clean up my way after everyone leaves. My dear husband and I have a system…but we have learned to be flexible because when we say “no, let’s just sit and visit…we will get it later” nobody listens! We just retired this year and moved into an apartment in an “active retirement community” – and active is the key word. We have had more social times in the 4 months we have been here than in 40 years of marriage. LOVING it, and looking forward using lots of your tips in all our good times to come. Wishing you and yours GOOD HEALTH, happiness, and peace in the New Year. http://www.ournewvista.com

  56. Nice post! Wouldn’t change a thing. Please, what is the vacuum/mop tool that is pictured in your post? Looks interesting! Thanks for any help with this. K

    1. Hi Kathleen, it’s from Dirt Devil. I don’t think they make it anymore. Sorry!

  57. Hello and Happy New Year. I am an avid follower of your blog and the trio podcast. I have enjoyed so many of your tips and ideas. I need a bigger house to do all I would like to do.
    Hope you are staying warm and cozy with all these chilly temperatures. Hope you are feeling better. By the way how is your foot doing? You, Anita and Kelly have great energy.

    Nancy from the Northeast. Baby it is cold outside.

  58. Gerry A Stott says:

    enjoy your photos

  59. Connie Fowler says:

    Hi Yvonne!
    We had a large family dinner yesterday, and I tried the dishpan trick. I had three tubs on my counter, and I told the grandchildren that I needed their help. The older ones picked up the plates, scraped them, and and placed them in the tubs. The 5-year-old picked up all the silverware and placed it in the small tub. It was so easy for them, it contained the mess, and made my kitchen much more manageable. Later, while my husband and I were cleaning up, he commented on what a great system it was. It allowed me a lot more visit time. So simple, yet so effective! Thank you!

  60. your blog is awesome but i have one suggestion for you , your website header is looking odd , so if possible try to change it.

    1. Yes, I know. One of the plugins got hacked and I’m waiting for my design company to fix it. HOpefully will be fixed today!

  61. Awesome post. The only tip I have to disagree with is letting my guests help out, if they REALLY want to I don’t mind, but when i have guests I never like them to feel like they have to lift a finger. I think a polite house guest will clean up after themselves anyway, I always make the bed just as I found it and clean up after dinner when I visit my friends home.