The Muffin Tin Hack To Quickly Clean Up After Dinner Guests

Your gathering went well; you were the ultimate dinner party host. However, now that your guests have gone home, you're left with the night's table settings, dishes, and uneaten food. Luckily, there are several handy hacks you can use to clean up the party's aftermath in record time.

The first hack involves the humble muffin tin. Instead of using it to bake muffins, you can turn it into a makeshift drink tray. Simply carry it around the house, collecting discarded glasses and cups as you go. (Pro tip: Place the tin in the bottom of a laundry basket for extra stability and security.) The holes in the tin will keep the glasses in place, which is great if you want to prevent them from clinking together as you collect and carry them to the kitchen for disposal (or, even better, for rinsing and recycling the plastic cups). You no longer need to stack glasses or worry about spills.

Put the muffin tin to use during your dinner party

If we're being honest, the muffin tin deserves much more than just being used for occasional baked goods. In fact, just like you could effectively use it for serving and discarding drinks, you could also use it for presenting appetizers and snacks during your party, assuming your muffin tin is presentable and suits the event's level of formality. For instance, you could even use the different cups to hold various elements of trail mix, your favorite flavorful two-ingredient dips, or different varieties of cubed fruit to pair with a chocolate fountain.

The muffin tin method keeps the food organized, but more importantly, it dramatically cuts down the number of dishes you have to wash after the party. Instead of having six separate bowls, you've got a single muffin tray. Oh, and if you used muffin tin liners, that's even less mess to deal with.

Muffin tins can double as giant ice cube trays

When hosting a dinner party, you might be serving large bowls of punch or even eggnog. As such, you'll need a way to keep the drinks cold without watering them down. The solution? Freeze some of the drink into ice cubes — better yet, use a muffin tin as your ice cube tray. You'll get larger chunks of ice than you would with a regular ice cube tray, and they'll melt much more slowly.

Even if you aren't serving a punch bowl at your party, you can still use a smaller muffin tin to make ice for individual drinks. For added elegance and a pop of flavor, consider freezing fruit slices into your ice.

Regardless of your muffin tin's size, this ice tray method also works well for inexpensively filling up your cooler. After all, who has time to run to the corner store for bags of ice when you've got guests on the way, a table to set, and food to cook? We certainly don't.