Look, if you’re friends with me, you have to accept that I don’t consider your arrival in my home to be an event worthy of a serious cleaning spree. It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s that cleaning is reserved for those who might actually nag me about my filth. And I know you won’t do that. That’s why we’re friends.
So if you’re coming over, know that I’ll stash some crap out of sight and I might even do the dishes, but you’re not going to walk into a June Cleaver-ized residence. And don’t expect hors d’eouvres or carefully crafted Mai Tais. But you can expect a good time.
I maintain that having a great evening with friends doesn’t require blood, sweat or tears. I think that anyone can host a party, anytime — even when the laundry’s not done, even when there are dirty dishes in the sink, even when vacuuming is a faint, distant memory. Let’s throw this party.
Choose your guest list
I think it’s important to have friends who are judgment-free (at least towards you, at least to your face.) And if you’re going to throw a messy house party, it’s important to invite those friends. Invite a number you can accommodate.
Prep easy snacks
Unless you met your compatriots in culinary school, there’s probably no need to try to woo your friends with your cooking skills. Soda, beer, chips, candy. If everyone’s hungry, take up a collection for a pizza. Some of my happiest home gatherings have occurred around takeout.
Centralize the essentials
Video game console remotes, extra batteries, board games, cards, Twister, sensual oils, floggers, traffic cones, croquet mallets… whatever activities you have planned for the party, set the necessary items out in the open so they’re easily located. If you don’t want guests getting in on the fun too early, place them under the sink or somewhere they’re hidden but somewhere you wouldn’t mind telling a guest to search, in case you’re too busy to fetch them when the time comes.
Set a mood
For a messy house party, I think stark lighting is a no. Dim the lights a bit. It’ll help hide your filthy shame. Music is always nice, but I do have a couple cautions. One, the classier the music, the more people expect museum-like cleanliness. Two, the louder/thrashier the music, the more likely your party guests are to add to the mess (something about the rock show vibe means “break shit” to particularly ass-y people.) Decorations? This really isn’t that kind of party. Setting out art, however, can be a really quick way to distract guests from the weird stain on the couch.
Do a double-take
Your guests probably won’t care that you haven’t taken the trash out, but is there room in that bin for all the trash your guests will throw away? The sink is full, but are you going to generate dishes at this party? There’s socks and shoes strewn about the floor, but will guests accidentally trip on them? Wait, is that a thong hanging from the ceiling fan? Messiness is fine, but anticipate what cleaning will be necessary to ensure a stress-free shindig.
Because seriously, that’s the entire point of this party. So enjoy yourself.