We learn how to stop dreading the clean-up with a positive attitude and some hardworking appliances... Here are Derry Clarke's top tips.
Your event went off without a hitch, the guests left full and happy, and bed is beckoning - but before you reward yourself with a well-deserved slumber, there's some cleaning-up to be done. It's certainly never going to be the highlight of your night, but these forward-thinking tips can help get you to bed a lot sooner ...
1. BE PREPARED Start with as clean a slate as possible by setting aside time to clean up after any prep work and before you make yourself presentable. Use this time solely to run and empty the dishwasher, clear counter space, and get Tupperware ready for storing leftovers: anything that will help to make sure you've got plenty of room to work with throughout the night.
2. LOCALISE THE LITTER Try to keep the party within reasonable designated limits, so debris doesn't spill over unnecessarily into other areas of your home.
3. CLEAN AS YOU GO Honouring the old 'stitch in time? proverb, a little effort in the now can save us from facing into a nightmare of mess later. Quickly filling just-emptied pots and pans with a little hot, soapy water - or moving used dishes straight from the table to the dishwasher between courses if there's time - will seriously lessen your clean-up woes later.
4. KEEP D?COR MINIMAL Understated style not only looks great, it also spares you cleaning up discarded party props for weeks to come. So when it comes to table d?cor, keep things classic, crisp and elegant.
5. HAVE A PRACTICAL PLAN It would be cruel to expect yourself to get the place spotless after a hectic night of hosting, so resolve to only tackle the most time-sensitive of jobs. Fill the dishwasher, load table linens into the washing machine (checking for any rogue spills that might need pre-soaking) and wipe down surfaces. Make some space for your morning coffee in peace, then call it a night.
Photography Barry McCall & Anthony Woods