Let some air in
Start the process by opening windows, no matter how cold. The smell of food, drink, and possibly even cigarettes, can linger long after the guests have departed, so let some air in and the stale odours out.
The odd accident might have happened on the night, but there's no need to make the same mistake while you're cleaning. Before you do anything else, wrap up leftover food in clingfilm and get it into the fridge, don the rubber gloves, and tackle bottles and glasses first, reducing the risk of further spillages.
And when it comes to the rubbish, do yourself a favour and double-bag - there's nothing worse than returning from the bin, only to find a telltale trail of something leaked!
As mentioned above, start your clean-up by gathering glasses and bottles. Be sure to take a dregs bucket with you along the way so that you're not constantly back and forth from the kitchen. Emptied bottles can then go straight into the recycling bin, and the dishwasher can make a start on the glasses.
Then move onto plates and cutlery, putting food waste either in the bin or ready for the compost heap, and get a bowl of hot soapy water ready to soak those dried-on horrors.
Once the glasses are gleaming, you can get the pre-soaked crockery into the dishwasher for the next round of cleaning.
The stain game
Once the post-party clutter is out of the way, you can survey the scene for spills and stains. In an ideal world, red wine would have been tackled with a paper towel blot while still wet, but if a spill has gone unnoticed, try a specialist product, like Lakeland's Wine Away (£11.99).
White vinegar is a must for clean-up purposes, and can be used neat to soak coffee stains, before sponging with water and blotting dry, while a solution of one part vinegar to two parts cool water will help to clear away beer stains.
Dropped chocolate is another post-party bugbear, but by placing paper towels on top and running a cool iron over the offending choccy horror, you can take away a chunk of the problem. For the remaining stain, mix a teaspoon of washing powder in a cup of warm water and sponge, then rinse and blot dry.
Meanwhile cornflour works wonders on grease spots. Simply sprinkle on, leave for ten minutes, the remove the cornflour and sponge with water before blotting dry.
There are, of course, alternative methods in the form of carpet and upholstery stain removers. These are available in most supermarkets, but do be sure to follow the instructions and test a small, unseen area before you start so that you know it's not going to leave a permanent mark on your furniture.
A quick vacuum, mop up and surface wipe, and you're ready for a cup of tea and a feet-up afternoon in front of a festive movie.