Monday, November 12, 2012

Pre-Party Cleaning

I haven't been doing as much writing as I had hoped, and even less cooking,  but I have been finishing a few projects that had remained undone for far too long.  I really need to do the NaNo project on my own schedule, possibly in January.

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, and I am determined not to wait until the day before to make the house presentable.

The first step in making your house party-ready is to establish in your mind how clean, tidy, and decorated you want to make it before starting.  Everyone has their own comfort-level for both everyday cleanliness and company clean.  I'm the first to admit my standards are higher than most, and I try not to look down on how other people keep house.  Without children leaving stuff everywhere, most of my weekly cleaning involves laundry, putting away out-of-place items, and sweeping up cat hair.  For company, I dust, clean the bathrooms, and mop the floors.  If your comfort level is more "lived-in", I congratulate you for not bowing to the expectations others place upon you.  As long as the food is prepared and served in a food-safe manner, it doesn't matter if every piece of lint has been removed from the ceiling lights.

I find it best to start the extra cleaning at least a week ahead of the event.  Then you can do it in half-hour increments each day, or one task.  First up is making room in the fridge for party groceries, especially the turkey.  This is followed by cleaning and decorating areas the guests definitely will see, and lastly the areas they might see, but probably won't.  The night before, I set the table and put little slips of paper in all the serving platters that say which dish goes in what.  That way, I don't forget to serve something or use the platter for something small, leaving a large item plate-less.

I'm going to buy my turkey on Wednesday, so it has a full week to defrost.  I'm tired of trying to pull the giblets out of a half-frozen Butterball.  I don't even know how many are coming, but no one ever complained that there was too much turkey.  I'm limited by the size of my oven, as I discovered last year.  I had to roast the 20-pounder I bought in the large oven at work.  I'm sure a 15 lb bird will be more than enough for the number I can get around my table.

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