The holidays are a time for reflection and love--surrounding yourself with your chosen family and creating new memories.  But for many hosts and hostesses the holiday season also comes with the unwanted quality of stress.  Check out these tips that’ll make your kitchen cleanup faster and easier when you host, giving you more time to enjoy family and friends.

Plan a Potluck

Let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.

Set Up a Soaking Station

Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.

Empty Fridge

Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers. If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food, which should be empty when you start your meal, then filled with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, and then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.

Line Garbage Cans

Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action. 

Pump Up the Music

Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with a cleaning playlist.

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Don't let the holidays stress you out!  Get the most out of your gathering by planning ahead and using a couple of useful tricks. Any other tricks that help you tackle gatherings with ease? Share them below!