Why You Shouldn’t Clean Up at Someone Else’s Party

A mess of dishes and glasses is a sign that a great time was had. So please, stop trying to help clean up at the end of the night.

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Okay people, I know you mean well, cleaning my kitchen after a dinner party. I appreciate the gesture. But please, stop it! It’s bad enough that I’ve found my Japanese knives in the dishwasher and would-be leftovers dumped in the garbage thanks to well-meaning efforts of “helpers.” Worse is that you’ve deprived me of the joy of basking in the unruly aftermath of drinks, dinner, dancing and hilarity.

I’m not being lazy. It’s just that, to me, seeing dishes and glasses strewn everywhere, resplendent with stuck-on food and lipstick smears, is akin to a receiving standing ovation for a party well-hosted. That’s why it’s such a burn when people start cleaning and fussing around. Its tantamount to announcing, “Okay folks, that’s it, party’s over!” Inevitably, the party becomes disjointed, with the cleaning army attacking my china and crystal with all the care of drunken orangutans, while the rest of the folks sheepishly scatter, stuck in party purgatory.

A mighty mess is a tangible reminder that a rockin’ good time was had. And when everyone has gone home, as I navigate the post-party chaos, I get to relive the party with my husband, swapping stories and impressions, while we clean up and wind down. This shared task fosters connection between us. It’s the satisfying denouement that allows for reflection and contemplation and closure as we carefully put the house back together. Don’t deprive me of this calm after the storm. And if you really must feel like you’re “helping,” feel free to check out the laundry room. I like my towels folded properly in thirds.

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This article appears in the November 2023 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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