Last-Minute Dinner Party? No Problem
Get your house party-ready in an hour or less.
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Ironically, this area - not the kitchen or the living room - is where you want to be the most fastidious, says Jhung.
"People are in there with blaring light, with no one else around and they can see everything," she says.
That doesn't mean you have to get down on your hands and knees and scrub the tub. Focus instead on the things most people will actually use - the toilet, mirror, sink and counter.
- Clear the counters, shelves and back of the toilet of any excess cosmetics, curling irons, hairbrushes etc. Stash it all under the sink or in a drawer.
- Pick up any dirty clothes and throw them in the hamper. Take any other misplaced item and put it in one of your stash bags.
- Squirt toilet bowl cleaner in the bowl and let it soak while you clean.
- Spray down sink and counter with disinfecting spray. Use paper towels to wipe down counters. Scrub sink with a sponge and rinse. Then spray faucet and stopper and wipe down with a paper towel.
- Spray a vinegar solution on mirrors and wipe clean.
- Scrub the toilet with a brush and flush. Use disinfecting wipes to wipe down the seat and to go over the outside of the toilet.
- Shake out the bathroom rug so it looks fresh. Hang some fresh towels. Close the shower curtain or door and empty the bathroom trash into a garbage sack.
- Move on to the kitchen.
This room is always the heart of any party. Here, you want to focus on clearing your counters and table for food preparation and nibbles, and making the sink look clean and tidy.
- Stash any unnecessary tools or appliances. Spray disinfectant on the counters to remove grime.
- Then, turn your attention to the sink: Use spray cleaner and get out every particle of food. Wipe down the faucet. "This is one of those high-maintenance areas you really want to come across well," Jhung says.
- Wipe down the refrigerator handle.
- Spot clean any food stains on the floor and sweep up any remains of breakfast or lunch that are still lingering. Wipe down your table and any chairs that have sticky fingerprints or food residue.
- Hang new dishtowels.
- Empty the trash and take all bags outside to your can. Put in a fresh liner.
Lastly, go around your house lowering dimmer switches and lighting candles to add mood and soften the focus on your home (and anything there that's still less-than-clean.)
Feel good about your decision to quick clean your house at this busy time. If you spent all day on it, you might be more tired and resentful of your guests, Jhung says. Turn on some music, pour yourself a glass of wine and get ready to celebrate the season!
Rest easy on your next vacation, knowing your house is in order—and ready for your return.