Hosting a tailgate can be an experience filled with good drinks, great food, and fun times with friends and family. However, there is a dark side to the world of tailgating that many participants fail to acknowledge, the cleaning up.
After hours of picking through finger-foods, grilling delicious meats, and imbibing in drink after drink it is inevitable that your tailgate site has accumulated a small mountain of debris. Add in the supplies for tailgate games, such as beer pong or flip cup, along with tiny Jello-shot cups and lids and the number of items in need of disposal can quickly become overwhelming. Especially, if you have tickets for the sporting event and need to pack up quickly for game time. There are several ways in which to maintain a clean site, as well as expedite your overall breakdown process.
From the beginning of the tailgate, it is important to have clearly marked bags for both trash and recycling. In states where cans and bottles can be deposited, you should do your best to keep these items separate from the start. Label your trash bags, or place signs above them, to prevent confusion among your guests. At the end of the tailgate, these bags can easily be cinched and tied. The garbage bags can be placed in the event’s public waste bins or double-bagged and placed inside your vehicle. Additionally, the recyclables will already be contained to prevent the need for sorting or a sticky mess on the ride home.
Another quick trick is to ensure that your crock-pots, grill, and warmers are prepped with disposable liners or foil. There is nothing worse than arriving home after a long day of partying to be faced with a stack of dishes with dried food deposits that have hardened into nothing less than a formidable opponent. Make certain that you have allotted the proper amount of time for these items to cool before placing them in your vehicle.
Having large plastic storage totes is another excellent way to corral your tailgate mess at the end of the event. Not only will it keep any stray liquid or food from damaging your vehicle, but the stackable bins make fitting your supplies back into your vehicle a breeze. These are especially effective for bulky items such as tarps, tent-poles, and plastic serving-ware.
Finally, the best, and by-far most effective, method for a painless clean-up is to plan the process beforehand. Dividing the tasks between members of the group, and ensuring that all of the necessary disposal items are on-site can eliminate the stress of a messy finale.
While many tailgaters plan elaborate meals and fantastic entertainment, they are often left with the terrible task of packing away an enormous mess that seems to spread with each additional round of beer pong. With a few small adjustments, clean-up can be nothing more than placing your items back into your vehicle with minimal effort. Upon your return home, there will be no need for constant sorting and scrubbing. Instead, wipe down your items and pack them back into the totes to stay prepared for your next tailgate adventure. If you need some help planning your next adventure, check out my tailgate partying page!