I like to have a clean house and a well-kept yard. And I also enjoy throwing huge summer parties involving the entire extended family, or the entire neighborhood, or a crowd similar in size to the population of the Central American country of Belize. Yet, despite my mad lawn and gardening skills, I sometimes struggle to keep up from one party to the next.
Luckily, last weekend’s party was on the smaller side—an intimate family event with guests from Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio. And their children. Pets, while not invited, were not formally banned, and I’m certain I saw at least one beagle chasing kids down the waterslide we often set up on the long hill in our yard.
I used to fret over the insects that would fly into the house as everyone came and went from the house to the backyard and back again. I used to get frustrated at the amount of grass and dirt that was tracked inside. And I used to be bothered by the imperfect lawn and the bushes I didn’t have time to trim before guests arrived.
But I learned that if the host isn’t having fun, it puts a damper on the party and makes it harder for the guests to have a great time. So I changed my mindset and remembered that the insects in the house could be zapped, the carpet could be cleaned, and that no one else was bothered by the lawn that hadn’t been mowed for a few days or the bushes that hadn’t been trimmed.
And now the parties are more fun than ever.
Pre-Party Tips for the Post-Party Cleanup
1. Choose Doormats That Work
Believe it or not, doormats can be more than just decorative. For outside, choose mats that collect and remove dirt and moisture. Indoors, choose something that protects your floor but can be discarded or thrown in the wash afterward.
2. Get a Bug Zapper
I like the ones that look like a tennis racket. Swatting and zapping flies is terrific post-party therapy.*
(*Absolutely no scientific data exists to support this statement, but I swear it helps!)
3. Use a Rug Doctor
It doesn’t matter if you rent, buy, or borrow. I’ve yet to find a party stain that wasn’t easily removed.
4. Keep the Food Outside
Spills and crumbs are much easier to manage on the patio or lawn. No fuss, no muss.
5. Limit the Number of Entrances
Unless you have a restroom outdoors, people will probably need to enter your house occasionally. Keep guests coming and going through the same door to your backyard or patio, and using a single bathroom as well. This will limit the areas that will need to be cleaned when the party’s over.