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 to for a second party with your resident insects. Ick.
Instead, let's just give in and decide to do the dirty job 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.
Start by delegating the following jobs among your still-awake family members. 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.
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.
Have one kid collect dishes, plates, and silverware. Assign another to scrape the leftovers into a trash bag or the garbage disposal.
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?
The glass clean up collector carefully gathers all glasses and deposits them very carefully by the sink.
Now that the table is clear, assign a child to hunt and gather tablecloths, napkins, and washable place mats for the laundry.
Treat any stains tonight, not tomorrow. Toss 'em in the washing machine. Don't forget to turn it on before you retire.
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.
Sleep well, knowing the major party clean up is all done!