Cleaning Your House for a Party (Hosting Pro Tips)

If a messy house is stopping you from inviting guests over, we have advice from three local experts to make it easier. If all else fails, stash clutter and close doors.

Illustration by Tom Froese.

One of the prime objections to hosting is the seemingly insurmountable effort it takes to set the stage (a.k.a. clean the house). But there are ways to do this with (relative) ease: one, focus your efforts, two, deflect attention and three, outsource.

Interior designer and frequent host Paul Lavoie recommends focusing cleaning efforts on high-impact areas. “Make sure the bathroom is impeccable,” he says. “We try to have fresh flowers in the bathroom and we always make sure there’s a bar of soap and a hand pump. We just make sure that the house is kind of detailed in a way that makes everybody feel comfy.”

Greg Fraser, co-owner of Dade Loft, a lifestyle store and design firm that frequently hosts clients and friends for dinner parties in its space, advises focusing on the table. “I would say the tablescape is the biggest preparation other than the food for us,” Fraser says. “We do a beautiful tablescape every time using different dishes and florals and things.”

He also notes that beautiful doesn’t have to mean time-consuming. “A really simple, clean table setting can be beautiful and you don’t have to have specialty dishes,” he says.

If your house truly needs a deep clean before you’re ready to open it up, getting someone else to do the dirty work is a nice treat, provided you have the resources. “We recommend a clean of common areas such as living rooms, patios – let’s not forget those cushions – kitchens and, the most popular, bathrooms,” says Natasha Moyo, from SHO Luxury Home Care, a company that specializes in home cleaning. “Tidying up your coat closet ensures your guests have space for their personals and keeps your party space free of coats draped over your favourite armchair. We’ll even take care of organizing your fridge to make room for those tasty party treats.”

But the best tip when it comes to cleaning may be to not to worry too much – just pick up the clutter, stash it in a room your guests won’t be in and close the door.

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