Simple steps to throwing a stress-free holiday soiree

There’s a crazy amount of stress involved with inviting guests to come over for a holiday fete: Will they judge the chick-lit on your bookshelf? Will they balk at your mixed-and-matched wine glasses? Will someone accidently discover the sea of dust conveniently tucked under your living room rug? “The important thing is not getting overwhelmed,” says Gale St. John, of The Maids, “a ridiculously thorough house-cleaning service.” Follow her tips for a great house party.

Have boundaries: “You don’t  want your guests to go into all the rooms of your house,” says St. John. Her suggestion: Store clutter in the rooms the guests cannot go in. Then the mingling rooms will seem spotless.

Pick your battles: “The actual cleaning should focus on those areas where your guests will be mingling,” says St. John. “You surely want your bathroom and kitchen clean from top to bottom, and of course the public areas — the living room and dining room.” And, she says, don’t forget to organize extra seating.

Cook last: “At the end of the cleaning, we suggest that you set the table, then you can start to cook,” says St. John. “Once you start cooking, you don’t want to be running around like crazy at the end, trying to get the last-minute details done.”

Make cleanup easy: “If you have a dishwasher, make sure it is clear, it can make your life easier,” says St. John. She suggests unloading clean dishes before the party starts so you can easily toss in dirty plates and glasses — even when you’re tipsy later on.



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