Professional Catering Tips for Easy Party Clean up's featured image

Whether hosting your parents’ 30th wedding anniversary; throwing a surprise 50th for your spouse; or celebrating your daughter’s sweet sixteen; the celebration should be fun for all, including the host. Avoid party planning anxiety and clean up stress with these professional tips.

Embrace tablecloths

Tablecloths not only look great, they also catch crumbs and soak up spills. After the party, carefully remove tablecloths by grabbing the corners and trapping crumbs inside. A quick shake outside and they’re ready to be treated for stains before tossing in the washing machine. Paper tablecloths are perfect for themed parties. Clean up is super quick – just scoop up and recycle!

Rent or recycle

Someone else’s dishes are someone else’s problem. So, if it’s in the budget consider renting dishes from a local caterer. Clean dishes will be dropped off the day of the party and dirty dishes will be picked up the next day, eliminating dishpan hands and having to run the dishwasher 20 times. Alternately, disposable plates have come a long way and can be easily recycled or composted.

Put the bar outside

Now that summer has arrived, set the bar up outside. Whether you’re serving alcoholic drinks or virgin cocktails, this will help to keep most spills in the yard, and off carpets and rugs.

Don’t serve messy food

Spills and stains can ruin someone’s night if it hits their favourite summer dress or shirt. Bite-size portions are the way to go: mini pizzas, crudités and sliders are always a hit. Definitely have napkins on hand for those sauces and dips!

Keep garbage bags visible

If you place an extra bag or two at the bottom of the garbage cans ahead of the party, garbage can just be lifted and taken away with a bag already in place for the remainder of the party!

Prepare a “stain kit”

Spills are unavoidable, so be prepared with an “SOS” party kit. recommends including salt and aerated water, as well as a microfibre cloth in the kit. These trusty tools can solve most stain dramas. Have fun with it; place items in a wooden tool kit with a 911 sticker and a fancy ribbon!

Set some boundaries

If guests are allowed to wander, you’ll be finding half-empty wine glasses all over the house for days. Keep doors to bedrooms shut and, if necessary, arrange furniture to block access where partygoers don’t need to be.

Decorate with nature

Culinary Capers, a popular catering company in Vancouver, BC, suggests using potted herbs or flowers as a centrepiece. It’s an easy way to incorporate some greenery into your tabletop décor with limited effort. These mess-free masterpieces require no clean up at all!

Banish bugs

Slip a few dryer sheets under your tablecloth to keep pesky bugs at bay during an outdoor summer soirée. Also consider burning citronella candles this summer to encourage bugs to stay clear of the celebration.


Photo by Samantha Gades