How to get your house party-ready in a hurry

Throwing an impromptu party? Follow this checklist for a pain-free clean-up, fast!

Christmas table setting, dining room, holiday table

Photo by Roberto Caruso

The hectic hubbub of the holidays can make it hard to keep the house as clean as you’d like, but there are a few quick tasks that’ll have your home looking its best fast. Our step-by-step guide shows you how to go from messy to marvelous before the ring of the doorbell.

1. Start by clearing clutter out of sight — stash bills in the drawer and get your kids to take their stuff upstairs.

2. Put any dirty dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down the stovetop and microwave.

3. Chuck all old food from the fridge and wipe off the shelves — no one wants to stick their hand in weeks-old broccoli when they’re reaching for the eggnog.

4. Quickly vacuum the high-traffic rooms, including the kitchen, living room and bathroom.

5. You probably don’t have time for a full mopping, so just give the floors a quick spin with a wet rag.

6. Take a lint-roller to your couches and fluff up any pillows. Spray the windows and mirrors with a cleaner to make them shine.

7. Give the bathroom sink, tub, mirrors and shower walls a quick swipe with a rag. Put out the clean towels. And don’t forget to clean the toilet!

8. Put away the dishes and restock the kitchen with clean dish towels. Put out the table linens, napkins and dinnerware.

9. As a final step, wipe down all the counters and take out the recycling and garbage (don’t forget the one in the bathroom).

10. Give your front steps a good sweep and make sure any flyers are taken out to the recycling bin.

You’re done!