The Stress Free Plan: How To Clean House for a Party

updated Jul 16, 2020
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(Image credit: Jarrett’s Architectural Rental in Echo Park House Tour )

Hosting a holiday party is a great motivator to do a good cleaning, but there is no reason to stress out and try to do everything at the last minute. Here is a plan, with easy to follow lists:

  • Run through the Big Clean List once thoroughly 5-7 days ahead (the weekend before is fine)
  • Follow the Daily Maintenance List each day following
  • Do the Short Clean List the day before your guests arrive (with your planned party playlist as the musical accompaniment)
  • All three Cleaning Checklists are below the jump…

    Big Clean (5-7 days ahead):
    Time Needed: 4-5 hours
    Wash insides of windows/clean windowsills.
    Move furniture – mop the floors and vacuum rugs.
    Wipe all doorknobs, doorjambs and light switches.
    Throughly dust/clean all surfaces.
    Vacuum upholstery and vents.
    Shake out doormat.
    Replace light bulbs as needed.
    Wash shower curtain.
    Scrub sink, stovetop and refrigerator.
    Clean kitchen cabinet exteriors.
    Clean stove hood.
    Scrub sink,toilet and tub and clean mirror.
    Declutter and Recycle (clear up magazines and stacked up junk mail, old shampoo bottles etc., put away items that really belong elsewhere, pack up items for donation).

    Daily Maintenance List (during party week):
    Time Needed: 20 minutes per day
    Make the bed.
    Hang all clothes.
    Do all dishes.
    Wipe tabletops.
    Wipe out sinks.
    Wipe toilet seat and rim, swoosh bowl with brush.
    Straighten coffee table, nightstand and kitchen and bathroom counter surfaces.
    Keep rooms clutter-free.

    Short Clean List (day before or day of party):
    Time Needed: 60 – 90 minutes
    Dust mop floors and vacuum rugs.
    Dust/wipe all surfaces.
    Clean kitchen.
    Clean bathroom.
    Do final clutter sweep.

    What’s your strategy for pre-party cleaning? Methodical or mad dash?

    Let us know and share any tips or items we missed on our lists in the comments…

    (Image: Jarrett’s Architectural Rental in Echo Park House Tour )

    Originally published 12.3.2007 – JL