You’re the host(ess) with the most(ess), renowned for having the cutest finger foods, tastiest cocktails, and most scandalous under-the-mistletoe action. Your Christmakwanzakah bash is the hottest holiday ticket in town, but it’s hard to spread good cheer when you’re haunted by the ghost of last year’s post-party cleanup.
Fear not. Holiday help is here, courtesy of the cleaning wizards at Dyson. With this guide and the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball, you can say goodbye to the days of sweeping post-revelry debris from one room to the next while suffering from a hangover the size of the tree at Rockefeller Center.
Cleaning before the first bottle is popped may sound like overkill, but in the battle against holiday mess, the best offense is a good defense. You want your guests to witness your apartment at its best, but you can also make tomorrow’s impending cleanup more manageable by removing any errant dust or pet hair with your Dyson Cinetic Big Ball. The more preventative work you do before the revelry begins, the less likely it is that guests will confuse your sock drawer for an hors d’oeuvres tray (or worse).
Do your apartment (and the environment) a favor by putting large, clearly labeled trash and recycling bins everywhere: You want at least one in each room, and multiple in high-traffic areas like the living room and kitchen. Write or print bigger-than-seems-necessary signs reading TRASH and RECYCLING and tape them on the walls above the bins at eye level, where people can actually see them.
Use Those Free Throws
If your furniture is white or otherwise a pain to clean, you’ll want to protect your chairs and sofas from those teetering tumblers of red wine. But how do you defend against spills without going full-on Grandma Tilly with slippery plastic covers? Inexpensive, colorful throws. Toss them over couches, chairs, and anything else you care about to add a festive flair that doesn’t blatantly scream, “Keep the Manischewitz away from my ottoman.”
Set the Mood
Your guests loved your sparkly glam-rock crèche at last year’s bash, but you were the one picking sequins and glitter out of your carpet for months. This year, set the mood with music, lighting, and color-coordinated disposable tableware instead of delicate, ornate decorative elements. You won’t cringe every time someone gets near your artisanal angel figurines, and your limited storage space won’t be filled with craft-coctions that emerge one month out of the year.
Pile ‘Em On
Let’s talk napkins. You’re going to want to put piles of them all over the place. Not only because they add color and style to your spread, but also so your guests can leap into action when the inevitable spills occur. And with your strategically placed army of trash bins, you won’t have to worry about your floor becoming a tapestry of dirty napkins.
Piling coats on the bed is so post-grad. Now that you’re a responsible grownup with an actual job (or at least playing one on social media), you can do better for your guests and their outerwear. Just rent a garment rack and hangers, and put your makeshift coat check (minus the aggravating $3 charge) against a wall in your entryway. Your cat may have been waiting all year for the chance to shed gray fur on a mound of black peacoats, but he’ll get over it.
Once things kick into high gear, your main focus should be making merry with your nearest and dearest. Unfortunately, it’s hard to embrace the holiday spirit when you’re watching revelers systematically destroy your home like a plague of drunk locusts. These tips will help keep your pad “party-pristine” (as in not quite clean, but far from pillaged), so the only thing you’ll have to stress over is deciding between wearing a tacky holiday sweater or tacky holiday vest.
Your guests probably dealt with their fair share of sludge on their way to your house, so it’s your job to keep your floors slush-free. Place welcome mats (the thick, bristly kind that actually catch dirt) both outside and inside your front door. Source ones with witty sayings like “Rental, Sweet Rental” or “Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?” (complete with Lionel Richie’s soulful mug). Your guests will chuckle and it’ll save you hours of cleaning gross under-boot mess.
Whether you’ve learn this the hard way or not, crushed candy canes and smeared fudge are really hard to get out of shag carpet. The key to mess-proofing your hors d’oeuvres is choosing low-impact snacks that won’t drip, streak, or stain. Think cheese cubes, rice crackers, pretzel sticks, mixed nuts, sugar cookies, and lemon bars, the remnants of which can be easily cleaned with a quick run of your Dyson Cinetic Big Ball. Steer clear of runny dips or gloppy sauces, and if anyone shows up with hot wings, you have the right to throw those saucy morsels into your festive fire. Nothing says “happy holidays” like the wafting scent of burning buffalo sauce.
Pass the Bar
Whether they’re poised precariously on the mantle, wobbling on the back of the couch, or balanced atop the Christmas tree, bottles are a recipe for disaster. Consolidate the drinks into a single bar area, preferably in the kitchen near the sink. Place a cooler of ice in front of the fridge, and ask guests to stash six-packs there.
If you’ve been following these tips, there won’t be much cleaning to do after the last stragglers have stumbled out the door. Trash and recycling will be more or less sorted; throws, napkins, and smear-proof snacks should have left furniture and surfaces in passable shape; and, with any luck, those sturdy doormats will have saved your floors from looking like the final obstacle in Tough Mudder. Once you cross these final tasks off your list, the only thing you and your hangover will have to do the next day is go to brunch.
Have a Soak
If you or your guests used any non-disposable plates, utensils, or glassware, toss them in the dishwasher or fill your sink with soapy water and leave them overnight to soak. The last thing you’ll want to do in the cold, bright light of day is break a nail on caked-on food.
Suck it Up
Crumbs and dirt work in mysterious ways, and despite your best efforts it’s always a good idea to vacuum your floors after a shindig. Your Dyson Cinetic Big Ball gets every corner by pivoting on (you guessed it) a giant ball that allows you to maneuver the powerful machine with the flick of your wrist. Its innovative design allows you to vacuum everything from thick carpet to hardwood floors without ever changing the filter. You’ll also want to arm yourself with the unique Tangle-free Turbine tool. It’s the only attachment of its kind that can can suck up a season’s worth of crumbs and hair from carpets and couch cushions without ending up in a military-grade knot.
If you follow this advice and trust in your faithful Dyson Cinetic Big Ball, the only thing you’ll have to stress about during your party is nailing your solo in the group rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You.” What are your holiday hosting tricks? Help your fellow partiers out by sharing them in the comments.
Anna Schumacher has written for Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, Esquire, and more. Her debut novel, END TIMES, is out now from Penguin/Razorbill books. Follow her at @AnnaTheHecker.