Hosting A Dinner Party: How To Prepare Your House

The holidays are coming and that means one thing: hosting a dinner party. If this is your year to host the holiday dinner party, you have a lot of planning to do. Other than getting the guest and food list ready, you need to think about cleaning your house. You’ll want your house to look spotless, but there is no reason to stress out doing so. Waiting until the last minute to clean may add to the other stresses of hosting a dinner party.

Cleaning your house is a big part when hosting a dinner party.

Come up with three separate cleaning lists that you can tackle before the big party. Creating a ‘big clean list,’ a ‘daily maintenance list,’ and a ‘short clean list’ can help you plan accordingly on both time and items that need to be cleaned before hosting a dinner party. The ‘big clean list’ should consist of a 3-4 hour cleaning session, depending on the size of your home, about a week before your dinner party. Your ‘daily maintenance list’ should consist of tidying up each day for about 10-15 minutes until your dinner party. Your ‘short clean list’ should consist of about an hour (once again depending on your home size) the day before or the day of your dinner party.

On top of following these three lists, the following article from offers cleaning tips on how to prepare yourself for hosting a dinner party.

Prepare Your Home Before a Party

By Sarah Aguirre, Guide

You've invited your guests, developed a menu, agonized over activities, and soon guests will arrive at your home ready to be entertained. Despite all other preparations, none is more important than assuring your guests of a comfortable, clean, place to be entertained in. Taking the time to make your home ready for guests can be intimidating for even the most seasoned housekeeper. Follow these ideas for pre-party cleaning to help you get more out of your event.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

    • Evaluate what needs to be done.

Writing down a quick list of rooms and places in your home that need attention will give you a plan. Don't forget entry areas and coat closets.

    • Start with the most important rooms.

Sometimes it helps to begin cleaning from the entryway to your home, and work your way through the places your guests are most likely to go. Check out the intense cleaning guides for living areas, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

    • Don't forget the clutter.

Clutter can give a spotless home a messy appearance. Give your guests room to move freely in your home. If you're having trouble getting rid of items ask yourself these questions about clutter. Try to get yourself jump started by choosing a small junk drawer and trying the quick clutter clearing ideas. Don't forget to use the 4 container clutter method to organize any job.

    • Take shortcuts that work for you.

If there won't be any children at the party and your guests will only be in living areas, don't worry about cleaning and detailing family bedrooms. If the party is informal, make your serving dishes informal too. Find ways to save time that fit with the party you're trying to have.

    • Prepare for minor cleaning emergencies during the party.

Be aware that stains are probably the number one party cleanup culprit. Stock up on your favorite stain removal products. Double check the stain removal helplist. Most of all, don't stress. These things happen and being prepared only shows more of your ability as host or hostess.

    • Recruit help.

Use your family or closest friends to help you prepare. Find tips on involving your family in cleaning and use them to mobilize your forces at home. Check out our ideas on making chores fun. For many people, professional cleaning help may be the better choice. If you intend to have help before or during the party, be sure to reserve your place as soon as you have the dates and times you'll need them. Especially during any holiday season, help can be hard to find.

    • Add your own finishing touches.

Preparing your home for a party is more than just stripping it of its clutter and dirt. It also gives you a chance to add small touches that make your home comfortable and inviting. Try flower arrangements, photographs, candles, or incense. Try to stimulate the senses of your guests. Do a walk-through after you've cleaned and decluttered to see how your guests will experience the rooms in your home.

    • Enjoy the party.

Try not to stress over the little things that may seem to go wrong during the party. Just enjoy the fruits of your efforts.


The more involved and complicated the party is, the more time you'll have to prepare your home. Last minute informal gatherings do not require your home to be in perfect order. The 15 minute cleanups should be adequate to get your house in shape.

What You Need:

    • Pen and paper
    • Various cleaning supplies
    • 4 boxes to clear clutter
    • Finishing decorative touches

The night has come to an end, everyone is leaving and thanking you again for hosting a dinner party, and you’ve managed to have a successful holiday dinner party. The dinner party may have ended, but that doesn’t mean your night has. It’s time to get cleaning again!

Cleaning after hosting a dinner party isn’t as hard as before; you’ll have no one to impress with your house but yourself. Here are some post-party cleaning tips:

    • Share the tasks if possible – hosting a dinner party is tough and your guests know this. Even if your guest does not help you clean, having someone there to talk to while you clean will quickly pass the time.
    • If there were any alcohol bottles, clear them away -- these will smell horrible the next morning if you let them sit around overnight.
    • Remove all the dishes from the dining table -- either load the dishwasher or if you’re not too tired, tackle the dirty stack. Getting the dishes done after hosting a dinner party and waking up to a clean house is more inspirational than waking to a dirty one.
    • Put all the food you’re saving away -- to make this even easier, do this during the course of the evening.
    • Give your floors a quick sweep -- after hosting a dinner party there are sure to be crumbs and spills on the floor. Just think of that clean house in the morning!

Once you’ve finally tackled all of this cleaning you are all set; you did it! Hosting a dinner party was never said to be easy, but as long as you and your guests enjoyed it you were successful. Also, you can always count on The Maids to step in and help with some of this cleaning if you’re too tired or busy!