Throwing a party can be a rewarding experience or a complete disaster. I have thrown several successful parties that were filled with laughter and great memories. Looking back through old pictures still brings a smile to my face. As I talk about my positive stories, there is one that I can’t quite forget. This one is not so positive; my house still cries about it. Oh, it was bad. The mess afterward was big enough that our house never fully recovered. It changed how I throw parties; I throw them like a four-star general. With strategy, the right weapons, and preparation, you and your house can go into any party war and come out with no battle scars.
Write a Supply List
A general never goes into a battle unprepared; write out all of the supplies you will need. List out plates, garbage bags, cups, bowls, utensils, paper towels, rags, cleaner, and other party supplies.
Create a Strategy
You might have the weapons of attack, but a strategy is what will help you win the war. Have a garbage bag in every main room, along with a couple of clearly labeled recycling bins. Write out a timetable for when to start setting up the party, guest arrival, games, making and serving foods, and when to clean up.
Buy Cleaning Supplies
If guests are going to be drinking or eating on carpeted areas, you are going to want to bring the right weapons to war. Carpet cleaners should be at the ready, along with fresh rags.
Unclutter Cabinets and Surfaces
It will be faster to clean up the cabinets if there is nothing on them that isn’t for the party. Get rid of all clutter before setting up.
Have the dishwasher ready and empty so dishes can be quickly placed inside.
Double-Bag Garbage Bins
This is a big one! Always, always, always double-bag the garbage bins. Nothing is worse than carrying out a full bag and having it rip open all over the floor.
Set Out Supplies and Arrange Furniture
Have everything ready so the party will go smoothly. Arrange furniture where you want people to sit. If children are coming, have chairs ready for them at the kitchen table and off carpeted areas for easy cleanup.
Bring the Cleaning Supplies Out
Have your weapons in hand and ready for attack. You never know when someone might spill a drink or drop some sauce on the floor. Fresh spills are easy to clean up compared to dried, old ones.
Take Out the Trash
Check the garbage throughout the party, and take it out if it is full. People do one of two things when a garbage bag gets full; they either balance their garbage on top or set their garbage somewhere else.
Begin Cleaning Before the Party is Over
When the battle starts coming to an end, start to clean up. This will kindly signal that the party is about over and will give you a head start on cleanup.
The Final Battle Begins
Once the party is over, the real battle begins; the final cleanup. Before doing anything, with a rag in hand, check for spills that need to be quickly wiped up. Then, begin throwing away all of the garbage and recycling the recyclables. Toss all of the dishes in the sink to be sorted out later. Wipe down counters, sweep floors, and return furniture to its proper place. Lastly, load the dishwasher and hand-wash any dishes that don’t fit. The cleaned counter should make it easy to lay out a towel for the wet dishes to dry.
As the war comes to an end, you will be thankful for all of the preparation. Some people might be afraid that the structure will distract from your own enjoyment, but you can still have fun. The organization allows you the time to relax and let the party flow while cutting the cleanup time in half. When the war is over and you have won, celebrate with a warm shower and a long nap.
Image Courtesy of lowjumpingfrog (Flickr)