party clean Up with kids

Young girl drying dinner plate in kitchen.

The party is over. It's time to call it a night.

But not quite yet. The guests are gone, but the mess remains.

It's late, and all you want to do is get horizontal.

But leaving the stuff as is can make foods become one with your cookware - never a good thing unless you're trying to get your cookware to multiply. 

Or offer an invitation for a second party with your resident insects. Ick.

Instead, let's just give in and decide to do the dirty job of home cleaning before we retire. 

Here's how to speed through party clean up so you don't have to wake up to a headache-inducing morning mess. 

Delegate Party Clean Up Jobs To Kids

Hint: If you've got any kids under 10, they're better off in bed and out of the way. Older kids, however, are fair free-labor game. Take advantage of it while you can.

Start by delegating the following party clean up jobs among your still-awake family members.

Trash Patrol Party Clean Up

Give your youngest non-sleeper a trash bag and instruct him to collect all disposable products. Remind him that your best silver is not disposable.

Assign Scrap Scrapers

Have one kid collect dishes, plates, and silverware. Assign another to scrape the leftovers into a trash bag or the garbage disposal.

Leftovers Inspector Party Clean Up

Mom can decide what's salvageable. But be careful here. If perishable food has been sitting out too long, you're better off tossing it.

Two hours is the rule for most meats and prepared foods with eggs or cheese. You don't want food poisoning along with a hangover, do you?

Glass Collector

This worker carefully gathers all glasses and deposits them very carefully by the sink.

Laundry Tosser

Now that the table is clear assign a child to hunt and gather tablecloths, napkins, and washable placemats for the laundry.

Treat any stains tonight, not tomorrow. Toss them in the washing machine. Don't forget to turn it on before you retire.

Dish Washers

On the counter by the sink, organize the dishes by type. Glasses together, plates, serving dishes, and pots and pans.

Now you have a logical order in which to rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher. This is a two-person job, by the way.

Once the dishwasher is full, run it while you hand-wash the pots and serving dishes, and anything else that didn't fit in the dishwasher.

Floor Sweeper

Your little helpers can now be wiping counters and sweeping floors. Save vacuuming for later. As in tomorrow.

Safety checker

Someone - preferably a teenager or grownup someone - needs to make a whole-home sweep to make sure that all candles have been extinguished and the fire is out. 

Home Cleaning Party Prep Chores for Kids by Age

Here's a guide to which home cleaning chores kids can do to prepare for and clean up after a party.

This list is focused on party-specific tasks. It doesn't include the general cleaning you might also wish to do. 

Once a child reaches a certain skill or age level, he can generally do the chores for his age group and those for the age groups below, too.

Ages 2 and Under:

  • Put toys in bins or drawers
  • Help pick up stray books and magazines
  • Help set the table
  • Turn on the dishwasher

Ages 3 to 5:

Previous chores, plus:

  • Put away toys in the proper boxes or bins
  • Return books to bookshelves
  • Place dirty dishes on the kitchen counter
  • Help unload the dishwasher

Ages 6 to 9:

Previous chores, plus:

  • Sweep the patio and porches
  • Wipe the patio table and chairs
  • Set and clear the table
  • Do simple cooking tasks such as rinsing vegetables
  • Put the dishes in the dishwasher
  • Prepare place cards
  • Wipe up spills

Ages 10 to 13:

  • Previous chores, plus:

  • Pour beverages for meals
  • Help hand-wash dishes
  • Put out fresh towels and soap
  • Polish silver

Ages 14 to 17:

Previous chores, plus:

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