5 Neat ThingsJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast “[Ask a Clean Person](https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ask-a-clean-person/id996183661?i=1000382315226&mt=2).” Each week, she’ll round up five essential cleaning products, tools and organizational systems to help you live your tidiest lives.   

Halloween marks the start of Hosting Parties In Your Home Season: Halloween parties, gatherings to watch The Sports, Latkefests and Christmas fêtes and oh God, New Year’s Eve bashes. Those are a real mess, you guys. But a little bit of prep will go a long way when it comes to throwing parties without trashing your house. Add these five items to your party shopping list so you’ve already got them when you crawl out of bed to face the mess that party made of your home.

Do you need product recs? Email Jolie or tweet at her with requests or questions!

Magic Erasers

Magic Erasers
Graphic: Shep McAllister

It being the season for magic and all, I’m tempted to tell you that Magic Erasers are made of actual magic and leave it at that (they’re not, but let’s pretend). Having a pack of Magic Erasers on hand when it comes time to clean up after that Halloween rager you threw will make you feel like a genius, because inevitably there will be dings on the walls, drink spills on the countertops and, like, costume detritus that has left weird stains on your floors. Magic Erasers will, um, erase those.

Heavy duty trash bags

55 Gallon Heavy Duty Trash Bags
Graphic: Shep McAllister

The first thing to tackle when you’re cleaning up after a big party is the trash, and here’s why: Before you can clean all the rest of the house, the trash needs to be out of the way. Also, and more importantly, if the only thing you can handle the day after that big party is bagging up the trash strewn all over your place, you’re still going to be more than halfway there — which means completing just that one task will leave your abode in good enough shape that you can spend the rest of the day lying on the couch, treating your hangover to a VPR marathon.


Because party trash tends to be heavy on bottles and cans, use heavy duty trash bags instead of your everyday kitchen bags.

Carpet and upholstery cleaner

Just like stocking up on Magic Erasers, grabbing a bottle of Resolve Spot+Stain Remover before you play hostess with the mostess is a very smart idea indeed. Because, you know, spills happen! And because someone will definitely wipe Cheetos dust-coated fingers on your white couch. (Also why do you have a white couch?!? Have you Scotchgarded it yet???)

If you want to LEVEL UP, this little Bissell upholstery cleaning machine is amazing; I know because I have one. Ignore the fact that it’s marketed as a pet stain remover — it can be used on non-pet messes, and is the perfect thing to clean furniture or carpet that have gotten trashed during a party.

Odor eliminators

“A good party should leave behind a bad smell.” — Ancient Roman Proverb*

There are all sorts of reasons that your home might retain a terrible smell after a party: Beer gets spilled and goes stale, things get smoked indoors, people vomit. You know, party smell stuff! For instant relief, Ozium, an aerosol air freshener that actually works to eliminate, rather than cover, odors is a good choice. For longer term odor management, a canister-style product like the Bad Air Sponge, can be set out in a room to absorb stale party smells.

*Nah I made that up

Shop towels

Scott Shop Towels
Graphic: Shep McAllister

This is the best tip I have for anyone throwing a party, and it’s so dumb easy I almost feel hesitate to offer it up except that it’s my job to think of these things so you don’t have to: Stash a roll of paper towels in the room or rooms where most of your partying will take place. That way, when spills happen — which they will! — you can spring into action without having to run to another room to get something to mop it up. Regular paper towels are fine, but shop towels are especially great in a party setting because they’re extra strong and absorbent.