Get Ready to Party Series Day 3 - Clean Enough, Good Enough

I recently hosted a group of  friends in my home for a fall luncheon. I thought it might be fun and helpful to write a series on how I planned and pulled off this party.
My hope is that by sharing it may be a blessing to someone else and it might encourage others to step out and invite someone in!

Day 3- Clean Enough, Good Enough
In Other Words - Don't Kill Yourself Cleaning Before a Party!

See the entire series by clicking the photo

"Where no oxen are the manger is clean"
Proverbs 14:4a NAS

I like to paraphrase it this way:
Where no people are the house is clean!

This helps me to remember that my house isn't a showroom that sits empty all day. This is my home that is lived in by real people who can be messy at times! Although I do want my home to be presentable I'm realistic in my expectations.

I encourage you not to get too carried away with cleaning before a party. I guarantee that 
your guests will be so busy eating, talking and enjoying each other's company that they won't notice a little dust or a cobweb in the corner (unless there's a big spider on it)! 

How I Get My Home Clean Enough and That's Good Enough For Me!

To get ready for this party I focused my attention only on the areas that will be seen by my guests: 

Living and dining rooms
Front hall and half bath
Front and back porches.

BTW: to keep guests out of places I don't have time to straighten up (or I just don't want anyone wandering around) I close the door to rooms that are off limits. Some guests can be a little nosy so I'm not above locking a door or I put my dog in the room. He's 80 pounds and although he's a sweetie most people steer clear of him:-)

I didn't want to be frazzled and worn out on party day so I spread the cleaning out over several days and spent no more than an hour in each area:

I worked in the living and dining room. I dusted, cleaned the wood floor, vacuumed the furniture and cleaned the finger prints off the windows and around the light switches. I also wiped down the chandelier in the dining room and the table lamps.

I did pretty much the same thing in the den.

Wednesday: I clean the kitchen by wiping down the cabinets, cleaning the stove, cleaned out the fridge, wiped down the stainless steel and I gave the floor a good mopping.

Thursday: I cleaned the half bath, swept the stairs and swept and mopped the front hall. I also washed a load of dish towels and made sure the clothes I'd be wearing on Saturday were clean and ready.

Friday: Before I started cooking I washed all the dishes and emptied the dishwasher. After I finished cooking I cleaned the kitchen again and ran the dishwasher. Wiped down all the counters and spot mopped the floor.

Friday before I went to bed I also went room to room and picked up and put away all the little stuff I found left sitting out. I unloaded the dishwasher.

I enlisted my husband to sweep off the front and back porches and to use the weed eater on the front walk.
I gave the front bathroom a final wipe down and made sure there was a full roll of toilet paper and liquid soap.
Turned on the scented electric candle warmer.
Did I quick check of the floors and spot mopped any dirt tracked in.
Moved the dog's bowl to the family room and put up the gate to keep them in - locked the cat in my bedroom.
I made sure I had one full hour to get myself dressed with plenty of time to spare before the guests arrived.

I know it's one thing to clean a room on Monday it another to keep it clean until Saturday especially when you have a house full of messy people. 

A Few Ideas For Dealing With the Daily Messiness 

A few of the strategies I use to keep things straight, picked up, and put away:

  • designate areas in my home for messes. For example when my children were young: games and craft projects had to be contained to the family room and/or to each child's bedroom and the kitchen table was for school work. Now all toddler paraphernalia is kept upstairs or in the family room. My husband and I both have our own desk area for our computer, papers and books. 
  • Containment - Keeping the mess contained is an easy way to clean up. For example if I'm working on a craft project I keep all the bits and pieces in a plastic box with a lid. My bible, bible study books and journal are stored in an old  briefcase. When I'm working out a menu I keep my cookbooks together in a basket.  This way I can keep everything together and not strewn about the room. It's also easy to put things away when I not working on it. 
  • Whole house pick up - Take a garbage bag and a laundry basket. I start at the front door and work my way around each room. Trash goes in the bag, if something belongs in another room it goes in the basket to be put away when I get to that room. We used to do this every night when the kids were at home. Now we do it two or three times a week. Being consistent is the key to keeping things picked up. 
  • Get rid of extra nick-knacks or clutter - If I don't love it enough to dust it I don't keep it.
  • Make everyone responsible for their own mess. This is one thing I'm am so grateful that I started when my boys were little. 
  • Landing pad- If I'm in a big hurry (like someone just called and they're on the way over and I have about 10 minutes to get things straight or I'm doing last minute pick up before a party) I put things in one spot. Magazines,books and papers left lying around go to the landing pad on a table in my husband's office.  Not in a drawer, cabinet or closet to be lost and forgotten. Larger items like toys or things that I don't have time to put away go on the floor in my big pantry. Both landing pads are out of sight  but not so out of the way that I forget about them. 

Inside my storage pantry is my favorite landing pad.
Out of sight but I can't forget about because I use this room all the time. 

I have a housekeeping schedule that I've developed over the years that combines Fly Lady and the Mount Vernon Method as outlined in the Messies Manual by Sandra Felton.. Since I can't fully explain that in one short post I'm going to put it on the back burner for now. I may write a series after the New Year starts focusing just on that but for now I'll just give a brief overview of how I got my house ready for this luncheon...

I hope you'll come back tomorrow when I share table decorations, dishes and setting up a buffet. 

Happy Day!


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