Holiday Party Prep & Clean-Up Checklist
The holiday season is fast approaching. This means parties, hosting and attending. If you are the host or hostess, there are some steps you can take to make your holiday party prep and clean-up go smoothly.
If you are having guests, rest assured, they will not be noticing every detail of cleanliness. Your house, especially if children will be guests, will be a disaster after the party, so you do not need to pull out the cleaning toothbrush for your guests.
You will, however, need to have the following for holiday success:
White Distilled Vinegar in a Spray Bottle
Plenty of Washable Rags
A Floor Cleaning Mop
The white distilled vinegar works for a multitude of reasons and things. The reason we like it is that it cleans well and gets rid of bad smells without overwhelming the house. Use the spray bottle filled with vinegar to clean countertops, sinks, toilet seats, glass and mirrors, and any non-wood surface in need of cleaning. You can spray the inside of the toilet bowl before you scrub it, as well. Vinegar neutralizes the odors, cleans the bowl, and does not make it smell like you have just dipped your house in chemical cleaners. (Bonus Tip: This is an ideal time to get attractive plungers in holders for the bathrooms your guests will be using.) Make sure to put not-too-fancy towels in the bathrooms so that people feel comfortable using them to clean counter spills.
Use dry rags to dust the wood furniture, ceramic, porcelain, picture frames, and electronics. Vacuum fabric furniture and dusty drapes or window dressings with a brush attachment. Vacuum all your floor surfaces with appropriate attachments. Your floors will take a beating, so do not go crazy trying to make them look perfect. (Bonus Tip: We recommend entryway rugs for all entrances that will be used during gatherings. This helps reduce the havoc on floors by quite a bit.)
To clean non-wood floors, we suggest 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water. They will not get sticky with this mixture.
For treated or finished wood floors, use plain warm water.
For untreated or unfinished wood floors, always use whatever the manufacturer or installer has recommended.
If you are not hiring a serving crew, make stations around the house for used glasses, plates, utensils and napkins. You can use trays that can be easily removed to the kitchen. Try to use cloth napkins if possible. They can be rented for a very good price by the hundreds. This way you do not have to have trash cans or dirty napkins all around the house. Use tablecloths on dining tables, coffee tables, and ottomans. They add cheer, but also help keep the serving areas clean. Spray all your cookware before you cook and bake as this reduce the amount of scrubbing later.
For the after party clean-up, we recommend using all the tools and methods we described for the prep, just with a lot more elbow grease!
Now, if you are going to be the guest of a close family friend or family member we recommend giving the host family a gift card for after party clean-up. You can perhaps go in with some friends and give it as the holiday gift to the family. There is nothing more appreciated by host families than the gift of not having to clean-up after you!