I can give you tips on setting a stunning Thanksgiving table… and tips on how to get candle wax out of your grandmother’s vintage tablecloth. I can show you how to make darling Thanksgiving place cards and give you the directions for witty table games that will keep everyone at your table enthralled! But I have a tip at surpasses all all tips…
Before you see the best Thanksgiving Tip I want to make sure you see another big, big Thanksgiving helper…
I’m so happy you stopped by today! I going to share…
THE VERY BEST THANKSGIVING TIPS YOU WILL EVER GET!
Let’s get right to it…
Drum Roll please…
Yes, that’s it! DISHPANS!
And not just any dishpans… but dollar store dishpans! Cheap, cheap, cheap dishpans!
What were you expecting? I know they are not pretty or chic but they are magical!
This best tip revelation came about several years ago when I was hosting a particularly large and diverse group of family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner.
We all know how work intense Thanksgiving dinner is and how much preparation and clean-up goes into it. Lots of dishes… tons and tons!
I can’t tell you how many times my guest’s asked if they could help and I was so just too busy to tell them. And the brain energy it would have taken to tell them what needed to be done and the time was not something I had right then! I was using all my bandwidth on getting the Turkey out of the oven!
At that point it was almost easier to do what needed to be done myself.
MY LIGHTBULB MOMENT
Then I had a lightbulb moment! One of those rare split seconds of brilliance!
It occurred to me to write down all the chores I had to do, one at a time, on index cards.
Here are some of the jobs I wrote down for family and guest who ask
- collect up stemware
- pick up non stemware glasses
- remove salad plates from the table
- pick up salt and pepper, butter and rolls
- grab up all the napkins and soak them
- put cream and sugar on the table (the creamer and sugar bowls are already in the dishpan)
- set the table with dessert forks and napkins (these are already in the dishpan along with the note)
HOW THE BEST THANKSGIVING TIP WORKS
If the chore had anything to do with picking up dishes or utensils or flatware or linens I dropped the index card into an empty dollar store dishpan. I stacked the index cards and the dishpans on my island.
When someone asked, I hand them a card or a dishpan with the card inside! I didn’t have to explain! It was on the card! I didn’t have to direct! It was on the card!
All I had to do was way “thank you” or “Oh, I love you for asking” and add them to the list of people I was thankful for!
This dishpan system has worked so well I do it every year.
EVERYONE pitches in! And everyone really gets into it. Especially at clean up time. Guests just grab a dishpan and do what the card in the bottom of the dishpan says!
All dishpans are taken to the laundry room where a utility table is set up, covered with towels.
In our new home our laundry room is quite small. So I’ll set up “dishpan” staging area in the garage.
My helpers fill the dishpans with a squirt of dish soap and hot water and everything starts to clean itself. The linens are collected in a separate dishpan and an enzyme detergent is added so the linens soak!
The best part is that my kitchen does not look like a bomb filled with all sorts of dirty dishes and napkins blew up in it!
LESS WORK LESS STRESS
Bobby is the chief dishwasher. The dishpans come out from the laundry room one at a time and the content is washed. We don’t use a dishwasher on Thanksgiving… too many dishes!
We talk and joke and love being together in the kitchen! No one (except Pop-Pop Jim) sleeps on the sofa. When the dishes are dried they go back into dishpans and back into the laundry room (or now the garage).
I then can put them away at my leisure and that usually means a day or two after Thanksgiving. But they are washed and dried and NEATLY organized in dishpans and ready for me when I can get to them!
While everyone is cleaning up my mom, sister and I usually pack leftovers into containers to be taken home by everyone. All the leftovers except the ones the girls eat for breakfast on Friday morning, that is!
You can read about that and our other Thanksgiving Traditions HERE.
The pots and pans and bowls and roaster etc get the same dishpan treatment!
A WORD ABOUT THANKSGIVING DESSERT
Because our family does not eat dessert right after Thanksgiving dinner, we have time to have fun while cleaning up.
I can’t tell you how this tip has kept my sanity! No one likes a kitchen piled high with unorganized dirty dishes spread out on every countertop and everyone waiting for “what’s next” while I get more stressed by the second! Right?
No asking for help or direct and oversee the clean-up, this tips it just works all by itself!
And when we have a dessert buffet that evening, everything looks clean and tidy and you would never know that several hours before we were eating a huge Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings!
To clean up the dessert buffet is a breeze. We just use the same dishpan process!
A THANKSGIVING PRAYER FOR YOU
I hope my Best Thanksgiving Tip Ever helps you have a very happy, organized, less stressed and fun Thanksgiving Day!
I pray that you and your family will have blessed Thanksgiving day and that you will bless everyone who walks through your front, or any door in your home!