Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root
While the best part about celebrating National Family Meal Month is enjoying a feast of a dinner, there’s always the post-meal tidying that’s bound to take place. Rather than leaving all of the dishes to one person, the mantra, “many hands make light work,” rings true when it comes to the post-feast cleanup. Each person can be assigned a job once family mealtime is over, and in this way the task of cleaning the kitchen can be a fun bonding experience, rather than daunting for the host.
Everyone has a role after the meal is finished, which helps the evening carry on rather than everyone going their separate ways. During the tidying process, the conversation continues and everyone works as a team to make sure all of the tasks don’t fall onto one person.
I find doing one big round of cleaning before dessert helps give everyone a break to digest, and also allows everyone to relax to enjoy the sweet treats, coffee, and/or after-dinner drinks without having a messy dining and kitchen area. This way, your company has a clean slate for another round of eating, and all it takes is putting the dessert dishes in the dishwasher when the evening is over.
Starting with bringing dirty dishes to the sink, each person can be given one task. One person can collect dirty dishware, while a couple of people can tidy up the dining space, and everyone else can be given kitchen-specific cleaning tasks. Even getting small children to participate with simple tasks like putting sauces or condiments back in the refrigerator can save time and get everyone involved. Young children or teens can be in charge of transporting dirty dishes and packaging up leftovers, while those who are seasoned kitchen cleaners can handle the cleaning supplies.
Having cleaning resources and multiple sponges, washcloths and rolls of paper towels is helpful when multiple people are in the kitchen cleaning up. In this way, one person can rinse and put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, another person can wash pots and pans, while one person wipes down the table, another person wipes down the countertops, and another person sweeps or mops.
For those of you who like to keep your household as sustainable and natural as possible, you can easily prepare homemade cleaning solutions using a combination of water and white vinegar, or even kombucha! The water and vinegar solution cleans and fights bacteria by inoculating it, whereas the probiotics in kombucha fight bacteria and also temporarily create an environment where harmful bacteria cannot grow.
The fun doesn’t have to stop when it’s cleanup time. You can put on some music, or even make a game out of it for those families that have a competitive edge. No matter who does what during the cleanup process, everyone lends a helping hand, which helps create family unity to ensure the evening is a memorable, bonding experience.