A Super Bowl Party may be messier than your average dinner party because you are probably feeding people for three straight hours… …guests are not contained at a table…people are reaching for food across the couch, getting up and moving around, losing their glasses and getting a new one, drinking more beer than normal perhaps… and so forth.

    Maybe too late to add a post about hostessing a Super Bowl party without having your home turned into a combat zone afterwards, but…the tips here apply to any event you may be holding in the future also…

      1.  Start with a clean house, especially the kitchen, before guests arrive.

      • Make sure your dishwasher is empty. Having a full dishwasher is guaranteed to ruin your clean-as-you-go party plan even before guests arrive. 
      • Take out the trash. Line wastebasket bottoms with newspaper to soak up grease and liquids before putting a garbage bag back in.

      2.  Save the fine china and crystal for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

      • Choose dishwasher-safe dishes and glassware if you refuse to use disposable plates, even for a Super Bowl party. Stemless glasses are less likely to tip and easier to clean. 
      • Disposable plates, cups and flatware are obviously the best choice for a Super Bowl party….just be sure to choose items that can be recycled. 
      • Two excellent sources for disposable plates are Bambu Plates and Susty Party.

      3.  Use tablecloths….

      • Food and drink spills can destroy good tables..and card tables are plain out ugly. Use tablecloths that are fun and carry out the theme of the party. 
      • At the end of the party, simply pick up the cloth, shake it out and throw the tablecloth in the washing machine.

      4.  Don’t serve messy food…The less messy food served, the less mess you’ll have to clean.

      • Just because the game lasts for several hours doesn’t mean everyone needs to have a piece of food in hand for the entire time. Consider serving an actual meal instead of an endless spread of appetizers. 
      • Have one or two appetizers, and then serve dinner at halftime. Then the only other thing that you will have to make is a side dish or salad.  If you’re making a full meal, do something in the slow cooker. Avoid create-your-own stations, like taco bars. 
      • Stick to bite-sized, grab-as-you-go foods. People will pop them into their mouths and continue to mingle, giving little opportunity to make a mess.
      • Dips are sort of standard fare at football watch parties, but eating dips while watching television can be a messy endeavor. If you must serve dips, chunkier dips are less likely to drip. And remember, salsa stains. 
      • Make as much as you can ahead of time. Doing the bulk of your cooking the day before keeps your kitchen cleaner the day of.
      • Skip dessert. Most people will fill up on everything by the time for dessert.

      5.  Stock a smarter bar. 

      • Find a way to identify each person’s glass so that they don’t use six in the course of the evening. Find a way to identify beer bottles. Use wine charms.
      • Have plenty of coasters around for guests to set their drinks on. Disposable coasters can be purchased in packs of fifty or more.
      • Pour glasses as guests arrive instead of having glasses already poured for everyone when they arrive.
      • Put the bar outside…assuming it’s warm outside. This keeps spills outside instead of inside on your floors, carpets and rugs. If it’s the dead of winter, roll your bar cart to a non-carpeted surface that’s easy to clean and away from high-traffic areas.
      • Serve white wine, a sparkling option like Prosecco, and beer. Dark-colored wines and liquors can create tough-to-clean stains. 
      • Use a glass drink dispenser. This makes it easier for people to choose their own drink and prevents glasses that aren’t actually needed clean.

      6.  Be prepared…The better the party is, the bigger the chance for something to break or spill. Keep the following close at hand…

      • spritz bottle with cool water and a clean cloth 
      • portable stain removers, like Shout Wipes or Tide to Go
      • hand vacuum 
      • small dustpan and broom 

      Make it easy for people to leave their dirty dishes all in one spot. Set out a few large dish bins filled with soapy water in an out-of-the-way spot on the kitchen counter. This creates a spot for guests to place dirty dishes and helps you avoid stacks of dirty plates later.

      Keep trash bags in plain sight. Have plenty of trashcan and garbage bags located throughout your home so people can throw away their stuff away themselves. If guests don’t know where to throw their stuff away, they simply can’t.

      Keep spare trash bags close at hand….For big bashes, you’ll likely have to take out the trash at least once.

      7.  It’s okay to keep certain areas of your home “off limits.” Keep certain doors locked or spaces decoratively blocked off. Otherwise you’ll spend all night hunting down half-empty wine glasses and dirty dishes…not to mention passed-out guests.

      8. Cleaning up while guests are still there makes them uncomfortable and keeps the party from being fun for yourself.

      But…Make a recycling run and bag up all of the empty beer bottles at halftime. Run a load in the dishwasher if you have time. especially if the dishes from your party will require two or more cycles.

      And…Start some simple cleaning as the party begins to wind down. This gives a subtle hint that the party is coming to an end and may also result in offers to help.

      9.  Send leftovers home with guests.…Make sure you have plenty of plastic containers, aluminum foil, and large plastic bags on hand.

      10.  Avoid disappearing into the kitchen until all of your guests have left. 

      11.  But after your final guest leaves, it’s time for the serious cleanup to begin…if you sit down now, nothing will get done and you will regret it later.

      • Quickly go through the house with a garbage bag to pick up any trash or disposable items.
      • Next gather up any dishes. Unload and reload the dishwasher. Rinse off plates and stack them if the dishwasher is full. 
      • Use ziploc bags to store any leftovers.
      • Empty and rinse out any coolers or bins that were used.
      • Use a dust cloth to clean off wood surfaces.
      • Wipe down kitchen surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner and paper towels.
      • Pre-treat stains on linens. Toss them into the washing machine to soak overnight.
      • Quickly vacuum in the open areas to clean up all the crumbs so that you avoid attracting any bugs. 
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