Cleaning before a party: 6 must-dos

It’s the worst part of any party: the cleaning. Not after. Before.

The bookshelf looks fine until the fatal move – you pick up a toy to put away and there, in black and white, evidence that you haven’t dusted since that in-law scare in mid-August. It isn’t the dust that’s apparent; it’s the absence of dust in this one hot wheel-car-sized space. You wonder what kind of time warp exists wherein the toy isn’t dusty, but the cabinet is. Doomed by 99 cents.
Proudly, you do happen to vacuum more than you dust. Sadly, it’s never the furniture. There is one arm of one loveseat that is the lair of your fattest cat. When you prop up a throw pillow (repurposed from its use as a nearby fort) you see that there is a wave, wave, of cat hair forming on the arm. It’s been balled up, undoubtedly, by the elbow of your oldest sweatshirt during a Y&R lunch break. You can pick up the small cat-like roll in its entirety, there’s heft, mass to it. Lucky break, you think.
Everybody has clutter. But your clutter is world class. There are the kids’ birth certificates in a Ziploc bag since Canada 2011. There’s a skeleton that was never constructed, a pile of bones in a plastic dome. There are flyers on your fridge of all kinds of cool stuff, long over, that you never went to. You execute The Dump – everything in a laundry basket to be excavated at a later date.
Somehow you designed your house without hallways. Your bedroom is in view of the living room and the dining room. More than once you’ve been having polite chit chat over a cheese and cracker spread to look up and notice your black bra is hanging suggestively out of a dresser drawer. You haven’t worn it since at least before you last dusted. Worse, you see your granny size panties (your secret to no panty lines in dress pants… and your secret for no use of the black bra) are on the floor. At first glance others must think it’s a Frisbee. At second glance they think, man almighty.
Litter Box
It’s in the basement but it seems to permeate the entire house. Solution: make bacon on the day of the party. Reminds everyone of grandma’s house, also disguises what Tidy Cat can’t.
Kitchen Table
You see nothing wrong with eating a four-course (joking of course, you never do less than 5) meal on plates pushed slowly into the midst of a lego explosion. A butter dish balanced on a beam of glow bracelets. A pot roast warming the toes of a Webkinz bear. But since you’d like to serve more than 2 muddy children and a windblown man in torn blue jeans at the table, you need more room. You emit the most feared words of Lego Lovers everywhere: Time to Clean The Table. Everyone knows that a put away Lego is as good as rubble.
In the end, it took longer to clean the house than it did to host the party. But your guests have been made feel welcome by the dust-free bookshelf, undergarment-free bedroom and toy-free table. What more could they ask for?