We all love parties, and there are a few big holidays right around the corner! Not to mention all the birthdays and the ever-dreaded, “Hey, I invited a few guys over for the game tomorrow night…cool?”
So what are you going to do? Maybe this is the first party you’ve decided to throw at your new house, or maybe you are a veteran party-planner, but here are the tricks that have kept my house in working order after a major (and usually messy) get-together.
1.) Prepare for anything!
Decide what will be served at the party. Are you ordering pizza, or making a meal? Make room in your refrigerator in case someone decides that a 5lb bowl of egg salad is going to keep for 6 hours on the snack table. (It won’t.) You don’t want to be re-arranging your freezer when everyone is arriving to make room for other guests’ contributions.
2.) Have an empty cooler full of ice!
The go-to item that guests will bring is drinks. Set out a drink table with the cooler underneath in a place that is easily accessible. Be sure to choose a location that won’t get crowded. In a hallway, in the kitchen, and next to anything that will be damaged if it gets wet are places that you will want to avoid!
3.) Plastic utensils!
Choose foods that can be served on recyclable paper plates and cups. No one wants to do dishes at 12am after all the guests have gone home, but disposable dinnerware comes with it’s own set of headaches.
Set out a sharpie near the cups to cut down on confusion by writing names on them, and be sure to keep an eye on the garbage can. It will fill up 10x faster as everyone grabs a new set of utensils every time they get another snack.
4.) Be prepared for breaks and stains!
If you have a priceless set of China out on the dining table, you may want to think about putting it in a safer place. Things will get broken and spilled on, so here are the biggest stains to look out for and how to handle them with grace.
Beer or Soda – Soak it up with a paper towel and dab it with club soda or warm water. If it’s been dried for a while, dab it with a drop of dish soap. A mixture of equal parts vinegar and water will work for really stubborn stains.
Coffee – Soak up as much as possible with a paper towel. Put a dab of liquid laundry detergent on a moist sponge and rub in small circles until the stain has lifted. If it still won’t budge, break out the vinegar and water mixture that you used for the beer and pray to the java gods that they will spare your furniture.
Red Wine – If it’s still wet, blot as much as you can with a paper towel. Once you’ve gotten as much as you can, pour a bit of COLD water onto the stain and continue to blot. I always pour salt over it for good measure. Remember to gently rub up and down – not side to side!
Grease and Oil – Just pour flour on it. It will absorb quickly, and takes much less time than trying to soak it all up with a paper towel and rub clean.
Cheese and Chocolate – After scraping as much out as possible, put some dish soap on a sponge and rub in circular motions until it’s gone. For tougher stains, use laundry detergent.
5.) It’s over! Clean it before it smells.
If you have really good friends, a few will probably stay behind to help you with the clean-up. If not, don’t sweat it. The biggest thing to take out is the garbage. If you’ve used disposable dinnerware, shove it all into a few hefty bags and leave it outside. Be sure to search around the house for any leftover plates or cups. Put leftover food in the fridge or toss it, but don’t leave anything out overnight! Pick up a bottle of febreeze and spray down everything before you go to bed. You don’t want to search for strange smells while you try and make breakfast the next morning.
6. Make a list!
Yes, you might need to load the dishwasher before bed, but you don’t need to sweep, mop the floor or tidy the living room. Put it on the list for tomorrow and the whole family can pitch it – you’ve done enough for one day!
Congratulations! You’ve just thrown a successful party and survived – all in one piece! Impress your friends with your organizational skills and keep your house clean all at once.