It should be so simple… How do you clean a house for a party? You just, I don’t know, clean it?
But then why does party prep send so many folk into spirals of the kind of procrastination where instead of doing what you ought to be doing, you end up doing something you want to do even less? It’s just one of those things. And frankly, too many articles that purport to show the reader how to clean house for a party are too involved, too boring, and assume that everyone just loves to clean and probably also doesn’t have a job or children.
So with that in mind, here is a quickie guide to the busy person’s party prep cleanup that will get you through your upcoming event with the least amount of stress and the maximum amount of returns.
Make a Plan, Man
This is where you identify “problem areas.” Is your sink perpetually full of dishes? Is your bathroom totally gnarly at the moment? Has your couch disappeared under a layer of dog hair? Imagine that you are a first-time visitor to your house – what messy, dirty thing would you notice first? That’s the thing you want to clean first. Once that’s done, it will be (mentally, and possibly physically) a lot easier to clean everything else. Making a list can help you stay focused, but at the very least clean one room or area all the way before starting another.
Forget the Rooms No One Will See
Where’s this party going to be, anyway? Guests will be in the bathroom, everyone always ends up in the kitchen, your entryway is gonna take a hit, and your living room might see a few visitors. Anything else, like your finished basement? Are you planning on having people stash coats in your bedroom? Is this a sleepover party? Unless you have the time and energy and inclination, leave cleaning the whole entire house for another day. Focus on the areas people will see during the party.
Sometimes Stuffing Things In Closets Is the Best You Can Do
Oh em gee, your party is tonight! And you still haven’t bought any of the booze! This is a good time to pretend you’re staging a house for sale – take everything that’s not awesome and chuck it in a closet that no one is going to open. Hide your laundry under the bed. Basically stash everything you’d rather not have out somewhere it won’t be seen, and make a mental note to deal with it all properly later. It’s no fun trying to balance party prep and, say, filing all of your old tax receipts for the last seven years.
Turning the lights down low is good for setting the mood and good for hiding all of the dusty corners and other stuff you just couldn’t get to. Unless you have obvious dirt laying about, straightening everything will go a long way toward convincing people that you’ve done a deep clean recently. So fluff those pillows! Re-arrange those objet d’art! Hide the clutter! And give your guests something to focus on other than the floors, the corners, and so on, like a tasty buffet spread, super cocktails, great music, or at the very least, a TV tuned to the big game.
Something Will Get Spilled
DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT worry about the dirt that hasn’t gotten tracked in yet. And once your party is raging, stop following your guests around with a trash bag and wet wipes. Just clean up for the party and then clean up after the party.
Conscript Nearby Relatives, Friends, Etc.
This tip speaks for itself. Host a party in conjunction with a friend and make sure s/he gets in on the party prep action. Or you clean while they handle the food and yet another friend takes care of the booze. If you have kids or a spouse, put them to work, but give them a treat afterward for being so helpful. Cleaning sucks. There’s no reason to go it alone!
That means the house and that means you. Don’t shower, getting all gussied up in your best dress, apply your makeup, and then bust out the toilet scrubber unless you were aiming for that oh-so-attractive sweaty, disheveled look. And the same goes for your house – if you put out the food, hang banners, or whatever, and then bust your but cleaning, all the work you did to make it nicey-nicey is going to be for naught.