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12 May

4 Phases to Get Your House Ready for Entertaining

For the past two years, the inside of my house looked like a hoarding squatter had moved right on in but it was time to get ready for entertaining.

My house had somehow become the dumping ground for all the stuff our family didn’t need anymore. When my parents purged during the pandemic, all of their leftovers landed with us. It was the same when Jason closed out his mom’s estate. At one point, every tabletop was covered with clutter and stacks of boxes were everywhere.

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So, I did what I always do when I want to get my house in shape: I decided to throw a party.

I know, it sounds crazy. But when I invite people over, it sets a deadline. And nothing motivates me like a deadline! The second I set a party date, Operation Cleanup commences. You may not need to do everything we did but I’m sure some repairs, organization, or a little deep cleaning is in order….. here is how it went down for us:

Phase 1: Major house repairs

Due to years of wear and tear, we replaced several rotting windows and repainted a few rooms. (BTW, has anyone priced out replacement windows lately? I was shook!) We also changed out our front living room curtains. After 20 years of sun exposure, the silk was more shredded than Magic Mike.

Phase 2: Organizing

My close friends know that I’m a bit of a sentimental packrat– which is a problem when I desperately need to get rid of stuff. Thankfully, I have the professionals on speed dial. With the help of Debbie Horton and her team at The Organized Nest, I was able to sift and sort through the rubble and find proper places for everything, either in my house or in one of the piles labeled donations, sell, and trash.

Phase 3: Deep Cleaning

Once we had conquered the clutter, it was deep clean time. This consisted of two parts: Inside Stuff and Anything with Machines. Inside was my domain, and my sweet housekeeper and I dust everything from top-to-bottom, including books and shelves, door casings, curtains, art frames, baseboards and even the chandeliers and sconces. We did a little every day.  THIS, THIS and THIS product are the bomb for cleaning.

Anything with machines was all Jason. He busted out our Ladybug steamer and went to town on the grout and floors in the entry, bar, kitchen, and den – always a 5-7 hour slog that he usually breaks up into two days. The before and after is amazing, although this picture doesn’t do it justice. BTW, THIS STEAMER is more affordable than the Ladybug, and it’s a brand we love.

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Then, Jason power-washed the patios. This has always been a satisfying labor of love for him, but over the years, it had turned into an annoying chore. It usually takes him two days. But this time he LOVED doing it because he had THIS NEW ATTACHMENT that shaved off 40% of the time. In fact, he loved it so much, he hit the entire driveway, too. He loves his power washer and has owned THIS ONE for 20 years and it still works like a champ! He also washed down all patio furniture and I hosed off the patio rugs.

And finally, for the sake of our sanity, we schedule Expert Windows to clean the inside and outside windows and all the mirrors in the house (there are a lot). Sam’s company has been washing our windows since we got married, and before that, I knew him from washing my parent’s windows.

Final Phase: The Fluff-Up

I love to style and restage my own tabletops/coffee tables, but by this point in the schedule, time was of the essence. Luckily, I knew exactly who to call. I will never forget how magical Jim Irwin made my house look 10 years ago right before we hosted the Jewel Charity Ladies Event, and he did it again, transforming several spaces from tragic to magic in no time flat.

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With everything in place, I was finally ready to swing open my front doors and welcome friends, new and lifelong! Stay tuned for more party tips and tricks in an upcoming post.