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The 3-Day Thanksgiving Cleaning Checklist

The 3-Day Thanksgiving Cleaning Checklist

Words Veronica Chan

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Turkey, stuffing, and sides may be front and center but behind the scenes, what makes for a seamlessly-hosted Thanksgiving gathering is the preparation that comes beforehand.

We’ve got some good hosting and cleaning tips to keep in your back pocket along the way. Don’t leave everything to the last minute — break up the tasks into manageable chunks divided by room over the course of 3 days so you’ll leave enough time to tend to the green bean casserole and tackle the turkey on Thanksgiving day.

Here’s a checklist to ensure you’ll be ready for your guests:

3 Days Before Thanksgiving: Declutter Your Space

  • Walk through the common areas where guests will be mingling and declutter the space. Use your laundry hamper to store away all the miscellaneous odds and ends floating around or stacked up around your home. Tuck the laundry hamper away and out of sight in a laundry room, closet, garage, or basement.
  • Mop the floor and dust between all the small nooks and crannies and dusty corners. Be sure not to miss harder to reach spots like under furniture and fragile items on the top of bookshelves and around fan blades.

Good Tip: Break up tasks and enlist your family members to make cleaning more manageable. This goes for any of the days leading up to and including Thanksgiving day. Cleaning is more enjoyable when it’s a team activity! Kids can be enlisted to help the adults with their own sized “broom” set.

2 Days Before Thanksgiving: Clean the Bathroom

  • Give the toilet bowl a good scrub down.
  • Arrange and organize any loose bathroom items around the sink and neatly arrange your toiletries in the shower.
  • Do a deep clean of the shower or bathtub.
  • Squeegee the shower walls and mirrors.
  • Refill your bathroom soap dispensers.
  • Good Tip: If you have a medicine cabinet, tuck away anything you want to keep from curious uncles or aunts (we all have at least one!) who may be tempted to snoop.

The Day Before Thanksgiving: Prepare the Kitchen

  • Clean out the fridge! Throw out any old takeout or expired items to make room for all the food you’re preparing and also accommodate any desserts that guests will be bringing.
  • Same goes for the freezer—purge frostbitten, forgotten items to make room for ice because the key to a good party is ice. Fill your ice cube trays.
  • Give your kitchen surfaces and appliances a wipe down with household cleaner (here are some of our favorite DIY cleaning solutions!).
  • Get into all the nooks and grooves around your sink and under the grates of your stovetop with a good brush and scraper set.
  • Vegetables need cleaning too. Take some of the food prep load off on Thanksgiving Day by cleaning your veggies the day before.
  • Make sure all of your soap dispensing dish brushes and scrubs are filled with soap.
  • Start chilling your white and rosé wines in the fridge.
  • Take out your garbage and recycling.
  • Sweep around the kitchen (without having to bend over!)
  • Take out your ice bucket and servingware so you don’t spend valuable time at the last minute looking for them.
  • Good Tip: Tie a string around your best bottle opener and tie to a drawer handle so it doesn’t walk off during the festivities. People forget to return the bottle opener and this way you won’t be asked about the location of the opener by every member of your family.

The Big Day: The Finishing Touches

  • Using household cleaning solutions (here are those DIY cleaners again!) give all the surfaces in your living room, bathroom, and kitchen a final polish.
  • Line your trash cans and recycling bins with fresh liners and label them with post-its or masking tape so guests know which one is which.
  • Hang fresh towels in the bathroom.
  • Leave glassware out on the counter so guests can help themselves.
  • Cut lemon and lime wedges for cocktails (which can be stored in the garnish tray of this ice bucket).
  • Set the table and focus on food and drink preparation.

Good Tip: A dishwasher can handle volume but a dish rack that can hold its own will come in handy, especially for items that are not dishwasher safe. As a rule of thumb, anything with sharp blades should be washed and dried by hand. When your dishwasher or dish rack aren’t enough to hold the influx of inbound dishes, it’s time to call in the back-up! Pull out a drying mat for drying larger dishware and bakeware.

How are you planning to prepare for Thanksgiving? We think stocking the freezer with a few freeze-and-bake dishes will make hosting a little easier.

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Veronica Chan
By Veronica Chan

Veronica Chan is part of OXO's Brand Communications team. She hopes to one day open a free range chinchilla farm which will include a petting zoo for the kids and maybe balloons.

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