In celebration of their “Kiss Clutter Goodbye” events this spring, The Container Store sent me some of the Laundress’ laundry and cleaning products to try (I don’t even want to open the packages they’re so pretty!!). Besides being adorned with an oh-so-cute black and white label, they’re a friendly reminder to get my spring-cleaning on, and the perfect place to start my new entertaining series: Modern Hostess! Hosting guests, throwing parties and all things soiree-related are what makes me happy, so over the next few months I’m going to start sharing a bit more about how I prep for parties, my favorite party tools and serving pieces, a fool-proof party planning checklist, and other entertaining tips. To start, I’m going to share a little bit about my pre-party cleaning routine.Laundress 32 We’ve all been there, that scurry around the house minutes before guests arrive when you’re tossing dirty clothes into the closet and giving a panicked brush away to a dust-bunny as people are walking in the door. So how do I combat this scramble to the party start line? By following the same system each time:

Make a list. To start, I always create a checklist as part of my party-prep process. I write down every single room in the house (gosh this was SO much easier when we had an apartment!) and I write down: 1) Tidy, 2) Surface clean, 3) Floors and then any other items that need to be tackled in that room. In a bathroom it might be to wash the towels, in the bedroom it might be to change the sheets. Then I start room by room to tackle the list – focusing on just one room at a time helps keep me efficient! I typically start with the rooms like bedrooms, move to living spaces, and then finish with the bathroom and kitchen. Marking each room off as I go on this list feels like making major progress.

Tidy Up. I’m lucky that we’re already very organized (some might call it OCD!) – so tidying can be minimal work for me, but it’s the thing that I think makes the house look so clean – order is key! I sweep through the room I’m working on to put things back in their place – shoes in the closet, books back on the shelf. Items that don’t belong in that room get placed in a pile by the door to sort out when I move on to the next room. The biggest time suck with cleaning up before a party is the running around from room to room. Pile everything up in a basket, and when you move to the next room you can put it away.
Laundress 5 Surface Clean. This part isn’t that fun, but you have to do it. I honestly don’t know how so much dust accumulates in our house? Where is it coming from? (I actually know the answer to this – we’ve been doing so much work on our house and the process creates dust like I’ve never seen before, it drives me crazy!) For most rooms, a multi-surface cleaner is versatile enough to get the job done. I grab some rags or a roll of paper towels and the Laundress Surface Cleaner and get working on all of the tables, window sills and accessories in the room. I love that this stuff is a one-stop shop for most surfaces and is environmentally friendly! Getting rid of dust and grime makes things smell fresh and look all sparkly new! Laundress 4 Tackle Floors. Dear husband, if you are reading this, feel free to roll your eyes now. I’m terrible at floors! I tackle cleaning the floors by finishing the tidying and surface cleaning and then yelling to my husband that this room is ready to be vacuumed and mopped. He’s just better at it than I am, he really puts some muscle into getting the floors spotless. I recommend finding an amazing husband like mine to clean floors, it’s a real nice perk of our marriage. Once the floors are done, that room is done being cleaned and we move on to the next one (for the bedrooms we even close the doors to seal off the cleanliness!).
Laundress 1 Fresh Laundry. Even if we’re just hosting a dinner party, I like to wash our towels and put freshly laundered towels out in our bathrooms. Nothing makes a space feel cleaner than the scent of freshly washed linens. The Laundress Signature Detergent is the most lovely, clean, crisp scent! Fresh hand-towels in the bathroom are a must, and if there’s a chance guests might be crashing overnight (I make a mean margarita guys, this happens!) then I strip the beds and clean all of the bedding too. Another little laundry detail? Tossing all of throw blankets and throw-pillow covers in the wash — it gives the living spaces a fresh scent too.
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Finishing Touches. After I’ve tackled my mini to-do-list in each room I’m ready to host! I do a quick sweep an hour before guests arrive for a few last finishing touches. Unload the dishwasher so it’s ready for post-party clean up, wash and tuck away any kitchen prep items, wipe down bathroom and kitchen counters, fluff the pillows and add a fresh scent to the room. In the fall and winter I like to boil cinnamon sticks in just a touch of water on the stove, in the spring and summer a crisp, clean scented candle is perfect in the living spaces, or a very subtle spritz of a linen spray (The Laundress makes one exclusively for Container Store!).

After that, it’s time to party (and at the end of the night when the dishes are stacked to the ceiling you’ll wonder, do I really have to start cleaning again!?). Check back next week for another installment in my Modern Hostess entertaining series!

Inspired to get a jump on your own spring cleaning? Now through May 15th, The Container Store is promoting tips and solutions on decluttering during Kiss Clutter Goodbye Weekend events! If you’re in local, visit the Chestnut Hill or Natick stores (or any of the other 79 national locations!) on April 23rd and 24th or 30th and May 1st for prizes, demonstrations, and special guest appearances by the experts from The Laundress at select stores including the Boston area locations. They’ll also have Goodwill representatives on hand to accept donations of new or used clothing, textiles, small appliances and household good – so jump on that spring cleaning and check it out!

Please note: This post was created in partnership with The Container Store, all opinions, images and content are my own.