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prep perfect party pad  |  1 2 3

I imagine someday, when I grow up, I wonít wait till the trash reeks to take it outside. My bathroom will always have clean handtowels, and pretty handsoaps arranged just so in a proper soapdish by the sink. Iíll never ever let the house run out of toilet paper . And I wonít wait for a party to provide me with the motivation to clean my house.

Itís a nice dream, anyway.

In an ideal world, your pad (and mine) would be in a perpetually presentable state. No mail piled up high in pendulous towers on your kitchen countertops; no scary wall stains requiring clever cover-up solutions. In real life, alas, we just have to make do. Make the pre-party prep just a little easier for yourself with a few of these tips Ö

The clean-up
Itís important, of course, to clean any rooms that youíre planning to use for your party, but thereís hospital-standard clean, and then thereís just clean enough. Remember: if you do your lighting properly, no oneís going to notice if your bookshelves are a little dusty, your floor less than immaculate. The floor-to-ceiling scrub-down is fantastic, if you happen to have the time, but should you find yourself with a mere thirty minutes left to get the place looking presentable, itís time to look at the big picture: concentrate on picking up the mess, and hiding the dirt. Tame the chaos as best you can (this can be as simple as tossing your stray books, papers, clothing, and assorted junk into a closet or bedroom, the resulting mess to be dealt with after the party is over); clear off your coffee table, countertops and dining table so people have places to put their food and drink. Give the floor a quick vacuum, to get rid of those monster-size dust bunnies that youíve no doubt been inadvertently cultivating since the last time you cleaned (i.e. your last entertaining venture).

The one room that should be absolutely, positively pristine is the bathroom, as this is the only one in which you wonít have absolute control over the lighting. With the light switch flicked on, your guest is sure to see every little speck of caked-on grime, so be thorough. Scrub the sink free of dried-out toothpaste residue; do your best to remove the mold thatís starting to grow in your grout. And yes, Iím sorry, you have to clean the toilet. Suck it up.

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