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You’ve decided to throw a house party. All of your closest friends and family members are having a great time—dancing, eating tasty food and enjoying amazing conversation. The night finally comes to an end and everyone leaves, all with big smiles on their faces. As the laughter fades away and you wave at the last car, you return inside your house. Only to be faced with the aftermath.

Empty cups, bottles and plates are everywhere! There are crumbs on the floor, and on the furniture, big enough to be whole meals themselves. And, what is that?! Is that a red wine stain on the corner of your cream-colored rug??

Yup, the cleaning up after a party can almost be as stressful as planning the even itself. But, I’ll walk you through it step-by-step to make it a whole lot less painful.

After-Party Cleaning Checklist

Same Day Post-Party Cleaning Steps

While it may be tempting to drain the last remnants of that almost-empty bottle of wine sitting on the table into a plastic cup and go to bed, leaving the mess behind. It will be much better, if you tend to certain tasks right after the party has ended.

  • Package up any leftovers and put them in the fridge. This will prevent ants and other pests from taking over your house while you sleep. It also avoids stinky odors.
  • Grab a dishpan or other large container. Walk around and place all the empty bottles, cans, plastic cups into it. Separate these into the appropriate recycling bins.
  • Get some trash bags. Gather all the trash and put the bags outside.
  • Use the same dishpan to collect any dirty dishes, glasses, serving utensils and tableware. Fill the dishwasher and run one load. Soak pans or dishes, if needed in the sink.
  • Check for spills on furniture, rugs or the carpet and begin treating for stains.
  • Run a load of laundry with all the table linens, bathroom towels and kitchen towels. Transfer to the dryer afterwards.
  • Pour toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet and leave it while you complete other tasks.
  • Spray disinfectant e.g. Lysol on the toilet seat, toilet handle, faucets. In addition to those areas, spray some on door knobs throughout your home and wipe off the light switches with a little, as well.
  • Wipe down the counters in the bathroom with disinfectant suitable for the material they’re made of.
  • Go back to the toilet. Give it a scrub with the brush and flush the cleaning solution away.
  • Wipe the kitchen countertops with a cleaner suitable for the material they’re made of.
  • Check wooden surfaces e.g. tabletops for damage from water rings.
  • Vacuum or sweep and mop to remove debris and sticky messes from the floor.

Next Day After-Party Clean-Up

  • Take down decorations. Store any items you’ll be keeping and get rid of the rest.
  • Empty the dishwasher and put away the dishes that were in there.
  • Remove the ones you left to soak the night before and load those into the dishwasher. After it’s done, put those away as well.
  • Hand-wash pieces that are too large for the dishwasher or fragile items.
  • Remove the load of laundry from the dryer. Fold and put those items away.
  • Clean fingerprints off mirrors and windows that guests may have left behind.
  • Replace rugs and any precious items you may have moved before the party.
  • If guests were outdoors, put away patio cushions or other items that you usually keep in storage when not in use.
  • Clean barbecue grill and outdoor kitchen if used in the party.
  • Hose down the patio to get rid of debris or sticky messes.

After-party cleaning can be made so much simpler when you work smart and break it down into manageable steps.

The next time you’re having a party at your home, use this cleaning checklist: