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How to Clean Up Quickly After a Backyard Party (Even With a Hangover!)

Happy 4th of July Weekend — or should I say week? With Independence Day falling mid-week this year, if you’re a hostess with the mostest like me, chances are you’ve thrown a few soirees already. Partying may be great, but the clean up can be a hassle — especially if you’ve partied too hard the night before. (Who’s been there?)

Party hosts walk a thin line responsible for being the party planner, coordinator and entertainer in most cases. Let’s face it —  your guests want to visit you, not just watch you work. So, how can you keep your sanity and still pull off the party of the year without cleaning up for days?

Start here…

Be Prepared 

Savvy hosts know it’s all about the planning! The more you plan the easier it will be to manage unexpected issues that may happen. Have extra supplies on hand like cleaning materials and garbage bags for easy pick up. Plus, additional food, paper goods, ice, and seating to manage demands and keep guests happy.

Pick Up While Partying

Attempt to stay on top of cleaning tasks as the event progresses. It’s important to act quickly though –clean up spills, manage surfaces and pick up trash as you go. So, be on the look out, keep an active eye and take care of urgent issues immediately.

Backyard party at friend’s house this was the food station.

Space Out Itinerary 

Also, utilize the different zones of your backyard when possible. Move your guests around your yard depending on the party schedule. For example, after a meal move your guests from a dining area to another area of the property, so you have a few moments to clean up behind them. Or when they take a break from the pool to eat, reorganize the pool area. This will create less clean up in the long run.

Guest Helpers

Good friends should be willing to help at a moments notice. (If they don’t help, maybe you need to x-them off the guest list.) So, either recruit them ahead of time to maintain specific areas of the property during the party, like Tim Whatley had at his parties on Seinfeld. Or a better idea, have the items you need like a garden hose, paper towels, a cleaning mixture and trash bags in plain sight so guests can spontaneously help you as needed. Believe me they want to help, especially if they’re partying at your house and show them a fabulous time.

Here is a funny Facebook Live from a 4th of July party last year at a friend’s house —

 Toss Trash

Whether you’re a guest or the host, get into the habit of– if you set something down and it’s trash, throw the item away in garbage. I find the number one reason why people don’t pick up after themselves is because the trash is out of sight. Remember the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” So, have trash locations throughout the property clearly marked for recycling, as well. Kids especially, have a hard time getting into the habit of cleaning up behind them– so turn it into a game!

Dishing Up Dirt

In a perfect world the entire party would be paper goods and tin trays, but most times you’ll have dirty dishes. Fill the dishwasher with as many dishes throughout the party and start it when it’s fully loaded. By the end of the party you’ll be able to reload the dishwasher and have less dishes left in your sink overnight. The same idea holds true if you have a pool and need to do a load of dirty towels. 

Before we head to bed after a party in our backyard, we do a final sweep to remove as any leftover trash, wipe down surfaces, put away perishables and load up the appliances to do the dirty work. This elevates the major clean up headaches that await in the morning to a mere rinse down of patio furniture, countertop surfaces and the deck or patio with a garden hose to wash away the remnants of last night. Now, if only getting rid of your hangover was that easy? 

Happy Entertaining,