When you're making your party to-do list, add "Clean the house" near the top, but don't think of it as a chore. Organize the tasks into easily achievable components. With a little planning, cleaning the house for a party is so simple, you'll be tempted to use these hints for your regular cleaning routine.
Divide the work into tasks that can be completed in small chunks of time throughout the week preceding the party to reduce the stress of party preparations. Give each day a cleaning theme, and finish that day's tasks in an hour or less. You can slip in many of the tasks among other daily activities. Start here:
Preparation is the key to no-stress party planning. Get our 7-Day "One Day at a Time" Housecleaning Plan, available below, to make sure you'll enjoy your party instead fret over smudges and clutter as your party guests arrive. We walk through each day on the following pages.
On the first day of party cleaning, the task is evaluation: See what needs to be done, and devise a strategy to accomplish the chores in an efficient way.
Check out these three easy tricks for recognizing important cleaning tasks and developing an achievable strategy for accomplishing them. By planning first, you'll save time cleaning and be able to see your progress throughout the week.
Pretend you're a guest. Amid the routine of daily life we often overlook clutter and dusty corners. Walk through your home with a visitor's eye, and use these tricks to get a new perspective on your home. First, identify imperfections.
Consolidate your list. After you've finished your walk-through, it's time to organize the list into achievable tasks.
Assign tasks. Gather family members to help clean for the party. When you split the task list among the family and by day, the chores will be finished more quickly than you expect.
Editor's Tip: Make cleaning for the party into a game so kids will be more willing to participate. Have a dance contest while you dust. Race to put away toys, clutter, or laundry.
On the second day of your party-cleaning effort, it's time to get down to the dirty work. If you follow these hints, you'll spend only an hour or so on each day's cleaning tasks.
Stick to your list. Avoid distractions, such as a messy drawer or a stack of photos you intend to add to a scrapbook. Those extra tasks drag out the time it takes to finish your list and undermine your cleaning efforts. Be sure to include cleaning time in your daily schedule.
Start by giving your whole house a brighter outlook.
Impress your guests with a sparkling-clean bathroom or powder room. Take care of the messy work early, and the bath will only need a quick refresh on the day of the party.
In the middle of the cleaning effort, it's time to make sure guests have plenty of room to mingle during the party.
Editor's Tip: Draft laundry baskets as organizing tools. Label a basket for each member of your family. As you're clearing clutter from your living spaces, drop the items into the owner's basket. Ask each family member to put away the items in his or her basket.
You'll need your kitchen in tip-top shape for party prep. Scrub now so everything is ready when it's time to prepare and serve the party food.
If you've been able to keep your kitchen relatively clean, this deep-cleaning will be a breeze. Pay attention to areas you typically save for spring cleaning, and then check the kitchen off your list.
If your daily obligations have caused some kitchen cleanup tasks to build up, now is the time to attack them with vigor. Use the party deadline to make progress.
As the day of the party approaches, turn your attention to polishing the spaces where guests will spend the most time during the party.
Don't fret over the spaces. Follow your list and imagine the area filled with mingling guests. Take this opportunity to make sure the party area reflects the atmosphere you want to present to guests.
Every party space will have unique cleaning requirements. Start with these basics.
Party time is drawing near. The tips on the next page will help you breeze through last-minute cleaning.
A few things always have to be finished just before guests arrive. Use this smart strategy and a cleaning checklist to have your home shipshape in plenty of time for the party.
All of these tasks are intended to simply refresh the hard work you've already completed. To make the touch-ups go even faster, ask your family to help with these easy jobs.
Don't linger on these cleaning tasks. You've done the hard work ahead of time. Now the spaces just need a final polish.
Don't let cleaning eat up your party preparation time. It needn't be the thing that fills your days. Use these hints and tips for cleaning to develop a plan that leaves you relaxed and confident with a home that shines.
Editor's Tip: When suddenly guests are expected in an hour or two, don't panic. Use our 1-Hour Quick-Clean Checklist, available below, to help you get your house ready fast.