My company is known for leaving a space as clean, if not cleaner, than it was when we began the party. It’s something I take a great deal of pride in. If you’ve ever thrown a large party, you know that this is practically a feat of magic! Usually by the end of an event, the space looks like a scene out of a disaster movie like Armageddon or Deep Impact. But over the years I’ve learned a few tips that can help with the carnage. Most of it has to do with party prep. Trust me, the fifteen minutes it takes to hermetically seal the craft zone in advance will save you hours of chasing glitter later!

Clean Up Tips|

1. Define your party area. This is especially important if you are holding the event in your home. The less areas open to destruction, the less cleanup you’ll have. Try to use an area (garage, back yard, back porch, playroom, etc.) that is easy to clean.

2. Remove anything of value and clear out your party space. Roll up any rugs, remove any framed photos or delicate objects. If it’s not there, it can’t get broken!


Table plastic makes for very easy cleanup|

3. Cover art and food spaces. If you can, secure tarps, plastic, or paper (newspaper can work, but it can be tricky to work with) under and on top of your crafting and food areas. When the party is over, all you have to do is roll up the covering and either recycle or throw it away. Just make sure any floor coverings are secured so no one trips.

4. Have lots of trash cans around -- the more, the better! If people see trash cans they will use them.

5. Have a selection of spill stoppers. Place paper towels, dish cloths, wipes, a broom, dustpan, etc. in a designated place for quick and easy retrieval when necessary. Cleaning up as you go, or immediately after a mess is key. Have wipes handy for quick kid clean up. Get those hands and faces clean before they can get wiped on the drapes and sofas!

6. If possible, use cups with lids to prevent spills.


Create a fodder box to keep scraps|

7. For crafting, create a “fodder” box. This saves us tons of time at events! When the crafting is over, instead of sorting all the leftover supplies, just scoop them all into one “treasure” box. Kids love sorting through the box later when crafting on their own.


Play cleanup games, like Pickup Relay|

8. Have a pick-up relay! This is a great way to get kids to help with the cleanup. At the end of your party, announce to your guests that you are having a trash pick-up race. Give everyone a time limit (say, 1 minute) to pick up as much garbage as they can. Let them know that there will be a prize for those that participate. Count out in a booming voice, so everyone knows how much time they have. You can have recycling bins as well as garbage bins and adults to help with the sorting. You can designate off limit areas (such as the craft table) if you have stuff that you know you needs saving.

Now, I’m not meaning to come off as a clean freak here. There is a certain amount of mess that can be expected anytime you invite a large group of people into your home. And I’m not advocating you run around terrorizing children with baby wipes and hand sanitizer, either! However, if you just take a few steps beforehand, you can save yourself quite a bit of angst in the end. When the last guest leaves, you want to be relaxing on the couch, not vacuuming it.