Besides for the endless white and freezing winter weather, we Midwesterners look forward to summer for another (fun) reason: weekend summer parties (or grill outs or whatever you want to call your next barbecue). After those awesome get-togethers also comes the fun “after party” clean up, which seems to drag on and on and on…. To avoid the drudgery and dread, and make the most of your clean-up efforts (before and after the party) so the clean-up is short(er), use these tips to get the party cleaning done and get to your next summer fun.
Put a lot of elbow grease into your pre-party cleaning.
Yes, you’re still going to clean after the party. That being said, a good pre-party cleaning can go a long way toward lessening the amount of time you spend cleaning after the grill out or party (in addition to making you look like a cleaning genius!). Wipe down, dust, sweep and vacuum to give you a clean surface so you’re only cleaning one layer of gross—not two. If you don’t have time before your party, schedule a one-time deep clean from a professional home cleaner so they can ready your residence for the fun that’s about to be had.
Put out baskets or cans for everything.
Before the party, put out a basket or can for every different kind of refuse: trash, recyclables, cans, etc. This simple step helps during clean up because you don’t have to sort through nasty trash after the fact; who wants to be up to their elbows in half-eaten food and soda trying to sort out the recyclables before trash day?
Make it a team effort.
Don’t turn down guests, family, or friends who want to help with clean up; even a quick wash down of a table or removing table cloths can save you time later. Another way to get a good deep-clean after your summer party is to bring in outside professional cleaning help (a good cleaning without the work!) or add it to your weekly cleaning schedule (notify your cleaning service of this additional work so they can schedule accordingly. Remember the saying: “many hands make light work.”
Do a quick trash clean up.
No matter how many trash cans you put out, you’re going to find trash throughout your party or barbecue. You know what we’re talking about: plates, empty cans, beer bottles (and the occasional hidden one or two, thanks to the “funny” guests who want to leave their mark). Do a quick walk through with your bags and pick up the trash, another walk through with your recyclables bag, another with your can bag (if you want that separate) and then walk your bag straight out to the curb.
Take down your tents and easy-ups.
Before a rain storm pops up and damages your tents and easy-ups, take them down and wipe them down. Make sure they are completely dry before you store them away to prevent mold and mildew that could cause long-term damage.
Wash down the table and chairs.
Clean off your table and chairs so you can use them again without worrying about sticking to them, or so you can put them away clean for your next party. Don’t forget to sanitize all your surfaces as well as clean them. Quick tip: if your plastic tables got crayon on them from your youngest guests, use a pencil eraser to get your table white again.
Dishes are an inevitable part of any party; no matter how much how cook outside, no matter how many of your guests bring dishes, there’s a good chance you have pots, pans, plates, serving spoons…the list could go on and on of dishes that need to be washed after a party. Don’t wait to get them clean. You don’t want a whole sink full of smelly, moldy dishes.
Clean the kitchen.
Wipe down your counters (or hire a pro to clean your kitchen) and mop your floor. If you have any sticky spots from soda or sweets, use a good cleaner (and one that won’t wreck your floor) so you and your next guests aren’t sticking to the floor. If you aren’t sure what to use, add the cleaning to the list for your home cleaner to tackle when they come. Clean your stove, microwave, and any other appliances that took the brunt of the messy party fun.
Tackle a deep bathroom clean.
Unless you had a portable bathroom (and sometimes even if you did), there is a good chance your guests were trapsing in and out of your bathroom. Wipe down the counters, wash and sanitize the toilet, and give your floor a good sweep or mop.
When you’re all done, take a few seconds to enjoy the “after party clean.” Then start planning for your next summer party!