You’re having a holiday party. Step 1: Design your evite. Step 2: Make a list of chores – find the champagne flutes in the back of the cupboard, order that special smoked salmon and brie that your guests always rave about.

Oh, did you remember this list item: Clean the house!

We’re not talking about the floor-to-ceiling cleaning that you already did, to freshen carpets, linens, windows, and everything else for the festive season.

We mean the maintenance cleaning you’ll want to do before each new party, Christmas gathering or round of family visitors.

You live there every day. And after awhile, you may not notice the houseplant with dead leaves or the broken toy that’s been caught in a front-yard hedge since last summer. These things become part of the scenery for you. But they shouldn’t be part of what your guests see.

So: a few days before each party, walk through your home as a visitor would. Go outside and scrutinize the yards – front and back. Make note of all the little imperfections you may be used to, but your guests may notice.

Then make up a task list. Call in the family and assign some chores. Remember: many hands make light work.

OUTSIDE: What are you looking for?

Debris on the sidewalks, dust on the steps, bushes growing out into the walkway. Get rid of anything that might be an obstacle for guests entering the house. Put into storage anything that doesn’t belong outside.

Fingerprints on windows, cobwebs in corners, smudges on doors and door handles. Even routine cleanings miss some obvious mess; your pre-party cleaning should eliminate all of it.

Leaves on the lawn, in the gutters, piled by the sidewalk curb. We know this is drudge work, but this time of year it has to be done.

INSIDE: On the trail of clutter

Books, papers, and “stuff” accumulate everywhere, in every house. It may be convenient for you to have six books and a year’s worth of old magazine by the couch. But before your guests arrive, scoop them up and put them away – deep in a closet.

Deep-clean bathrooms and medicine cabinets (yes, people will look). Tuck away anything you want to keep private.

Straighten your coat closet, making room for guests’ coats. Add extra hangers if needed.

Straighten bedrooms; you think no one will see them, but they might – especially if you need them to store extra coats.

Clean out the refrigerator, making room for party foods – and making the interior a pleasant sight for guests who keep you company while you’re doing food prep.

Dust all surfaces, including bookshelves, photo frames, and art. Don’t forget the ceiling fans – nothing uglier than those beards of dirt that accumulate on the paddles.

Take recycling piles out to recycling bins or facilities.

DAY OF YOUR PARTY:

Clean trash receptacles and add fresh liners.

Fluff sofa cushions and pillows.

Remove fragile or irreplaceable items – during a party they belong on high shelves or tucked into a safe drawer or closet where no jabbing elbow or spilled drink can reach them.

Clean bathroom mirrors, toilets and countertops so they are fresh and spotless.

Hang fresh hand towels in the bathrooms, and make sure soap is at hand.

Set up your party area. Decorate with special touches, such as flowers or candles. Turn on some music. Set up your food and beverage stations.

The great news is you don’t have to prepare for you party alone! There are many reasons to consider hiring the best house cleaning service in Annapolis MD. Bottom line, your time is extremely valuable. Think about this – calculate how much you make per hour and multiple it by the amount of time it will take to clean your home. Chances are it is much less expensive to hire a house cleaning company than to do it yourself.

Believe it or not, people actually brag about hiring a professional house cleaning company. Many people have the perception that hiring a cleaning company to clean your home is very expensive. Check out our website (www.spousescleaninghouses.com) for quotes on your housecleaning today!

FINALLY:

HAVE FUN!! And happy holidays to all.