5 Step Party Prep

Even if we know we're hosting a party, we don't always set aside the proper amount of time to make our space as presentable or comfortable as we imagined we would. So, what can you do in, say, 30 minutes to make your home party-ready?

1) Coats. Remove your family's coats from hooks on the wall or the majority of the coat closet space. Obviously, no need to worry about this in warm weather. But, when it's still chilly out, your family will likely utilize all the space you've got to hang your wares. Take coats to the wearer's bedroom for temporary or permanent storage. Sometimes you'll find something has been hanging out there so long you don't even use it regularly anymore!

2) Bags. Use the same method of bag removal as you did with coats. Check all the bag hiding places - chairs, counters, hooks, closet floors. Take them to the owner's bedroom for party storage.

3) Shoes. Run the shoes to the owner's bedrooms as well. Instead of plopping them onto the floor next to the backpacks and gym bags, take the time to put them away in the closet (assuming shoes are normally kept in the bedroom). You'll find the starting fresh with shoes where they were assigned to live may make dressing easier and your hallways feel bigger.

4) Paper. Gather all the paperwork from all the hiding nooks and crannies all over the house. Mail, receipts, homework. If you've done steps 1) - 3) already, you've got about 15 minutes left until party time. You're not going to tackle all that paperwork now. Or, even tomorrow, probably. Stack it all into one neat pile. If the home desk area will be out of site during the party, take the papers to the desk. If it will be seen, take the papers to an area that will not be seen by guests. Do NOT stash the stack in a bag of any kind and hid it anywhere in the house. You'll never look at it again. Ever.

5) Counters. Last, but not least, clear off counters in kitchens and bathrooms. Make room in the kitchen for snacks and drinks and serving items. Put away clean dishes that were drying; wash and dry anything that can't be put in the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher so you can empty it immediately following the party and load in the dirty dishes. Try to put away anything that's not a large appliance, decorative item or functional item (like a tea kettle on the stove or crock of utensils near the oven). In bathrooms, clear off personal items and stow them in cabinets and drawers. Keep out minimal items: a decorative candle, soap and maybe a toothbrush cup. Wipe down the counters and go get dressed for the party!

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