Create a Reusable Pre-party Checklist

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Not too long ago, my husband and I hosted a party at our home.  It was so easy this time around it even surprised me!  So how do we do it?  Pre-made check lists.  Soon after we were married, I started making lists on the computer of the cleaning and other chores that needed to be done around our home in an effort to equally divide the labor.  My husband had been pretty animate about the fact that if I just told him what needed to be done, he’d never remember it, but if I wrote it down he’d be more likely to actually remember and help out.  Go figure – most guys I know learn best visually.

After we’d thrown a couple parties at our house, I realized there were a lot of preparations that I wanted done beforehand.  It’s true, I was raised in the Midwest, and sometimes our standards for “Clean” tend to be a little higher than other places (at least this is my perception, perhaps I’m wrong!  Leave me a comment below if you disagree).  And I also realized it was silly to make the to-do list from scratch each time since more than likely it would be the same or similar preparations each time.

So about a week before a party I print off my two lists: the house cleaning list and the pre-party checklist.  I do a quick look over the cleaning list and cross off the stuff I’m not going to worry about this time (I crossed off a lot of things off this time).  From there I try to do a few of the cleaning tasks each day so I don’t have to turn into the magic cleaning fairy on party day and end up wearing myself down to the point I don’t have any energy to enjoy the gathering (I did that a few times in the beginning, it’s really not fun at all, and isn’t the point of a party to have fun?).  The pre-party checklist is more of the stuff I need to do right before the event.  Most tasks are simple, I just like having a checklist so I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

Now keep in mind that each individual home is different, each person’s standard for clean is different – your lists may vary significantly from mine.  To give you a place to start, here are what my lists look like:

House Cleaning List

Every day

  • Clean up kitchen : load/unload dishwasher, wipe off stove, etc

Every Other Day

  • Clean litter boxes, sweep up litter in area
  • Trash out as needed

Every Week

  • Sweep floors
  • Vacuum carpets as needed
  • Clean toilet, sink area, mirror, floor
  • Cat hair remover brush on chairs and sofas
  • Wash kitchen floor
  • Change out bath towels
  • Laundry
  • Scrub kitchen sink
  • Disinfect and wipe kitchen counters

Every 2 Weeks

  • Dust surfaces – book cases, tables, top of baseboard heating units
  • Wash bathroom floor including baseboards and heater
  • Clean shower/tub
  • Dump old kitty litter, WASH litter box, new litter
  • Wash sheets/comforter
  • Vacuum, including stairs as needed

Once a Month

  • Dust all upper surface – above door frames, wall hangings, window frames
  • Give the stove a thorough cleaning – remove and clean top of stove parts
  • Mop kitchen floor (more often if necessary)
  • Clean downstairs bathroom (more often if necessary)
  • Wash rugs by front/back doors
  • Flip mattress
  • Wash mattress cover
  • Clean inside of microwave
  • Clean out toaster oven
  • Wipe down small kitchen appliances
  • Take glass recycling to drop off
  • Take cans and bottles to Can Shed for recycling
  • Wash shower curtain

Every 3-6 Months

  • Wash curtains, blinds
  • Clean off fan blades
  • Dust corners and where walls meet ceiling
  • Vacuum baseboards
  • Vacuum under furniture
  • Steam clean recliners
  • Shampoo carpet downstairs and other areas as needed
  • Wash windows
  • Wash light fixtures
  • Wash down inside of fridge and freezer
  • Wash windows
  • Clean stove hood
  • Wash out recycling containers

Pre-Party Checklist

Look at House Cleaning List, use as needed

Outside Cleanup

  • hose off patio chairs
  • pick up and put away any items left out that belong somewhere else
  • weeding if time allows and if necessary
  • mow if necessary
  • sweep or hose off patio as needed


  • put away any items that kids shouldn’t get into
  • remove any “extra” items from kitchen and dining counter tops
  • wipe down counter top in dining room
  • get card table and extra chairs prepped
  • baby gates in place in basement
  • all trash out, compost too
  • move recycling and cat toys to computer room
  • silverware, plates, cups, napkins, etc out and ready
  • extra hand towels out in bathroom
  • move bathroom rug off floor
  • move any extra jackets or shoes away from back entry
  • remove old/extra items from fridge to make space for guests’ items
  • music
  • Make/setup food, tea, drinks
  • Refill soaps
Are you hosting a party this holiday season?  How are you preparing for the event?  Do you use pre-made check lists?


Holistic Professional Organizer and Coach at Synergy Organizing, LLC

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