6 Brilliant tips to minimize cleanup after your Super Bowl party

Jan 30, 2015 at 6:17 p.m. ET

With the big game just days away here are six pre-party tips that will help you enjoy the game with your guests and minimize your post-party cleanup.

K.I.S.S.: Keep it simple and stocked

This is the Super Bowl and not a sit-down dinner so no need to have a full bar. Have multiple coolers filled with single-serving drinks and ice. Label each by drink type i.e. wine, beer, soda and juice. If you don't have a traditional cooler you can use plastic tubs, clean planters and/or buckets.

Note: Wherever possible fill coolers with cans and juice packs vs. bottles to avoid the need for bottle openers and loose caps falling in between your couches as well as the potential for broken glass.

Auxiliary cooler: If you have a top-load washing machine near the area where the party is centered use it as an additional cooler: Fill with ice and single-serve drinks. When the party's over, remove remaining drinks, let ice melt and turn machine on spin cycle to drain.

Location, location

Place coolers in key areas near the food and television to limit guests roaming into other areas of your home in search of them. Same applies for food: Establish central locations which will also limit areas and time needed to clean later.

Invest in the "D" word

Only use disposable dishware, silverware, and napkins and have them everywhere.

Place large clean coffee filters in bowls to line them and fill with snack items (i.e. party mix, nuts, chips, etc.) so that all you will need to do is remove and chuck them and your bowls are clean. You can also use these bowls as discard spots for items like shrimp tails, wings, toothpicks, etc. Consider labeling them as "discard bowls" so guests know what to use them for!

Serve wisely

Serve foods that aren't messy, don't require anything more then a toothpick and won't cause nor leave impossible stains to clean up like:

  • Pre-cut cheese cubes, pepperoni slices, deli slices and veggies
  • White-based dips (sour cream, mayonnaise or yogurt) vs. oil-based (salad dressings)
  • Sushi
  • Puffed pastries
  • Cheese puffs
  • Spinach feta triangles
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Coconut Shrimp
  • Mini meatballs
  • Pigs in a blanket (though be wary of possibility of mustard drips)
  • Spring rolls

Cover up

Make table covers from newspaper rather then recycle them! Scotch-tape sheets together from the sports section (it is Super Bowl Sunday!) to make a large enough covering. Place tinfoil under as a protective layer in case of drips and spills. Not only do the papers make a great conversation piece, you can just toss them when the party's over.

And don't forget...


Ask guests to bring folding beach chairs and blankets. But also bring out your own blankets, throws and pillows. Lay them near couches and other traditional seating where peeps will be watching the big game. You can also think about covering your couches with them to avoid accidental food and drink mishaps leaving a permanent stain.


Image: Premshree Pillai via Flickr