It’s getting down to the wire, but you still have time to prepare for the 4th of July party you insanely decided to plan at your house this year. We promise you’ll be fine! Check out some tips for getting ready for a successful Independence Day party and BBQ. Checklists You don’t want to forget something and have to scramble at the end to get it done or forgo it altogether. Make a list of all the housework, yardwork, shopping, decorating, game preparations, and cooking you’ll need to do, then get started without delay! House Cleaning This may be a planned backyard celebration, but the housework is important too. Guests usually are allowed in and out of the house for tons of reasons from bathrooms to First Aid to the kitchen or even laying toddlers down for a nap. High traffic areas like the entryway, kitchen, living room, bathroom, as well as an extra bedroom, should be readied for lots of extra foot-traffic. Clear the stairway too! And double check things like patio doors and the bathroom mirror for embarrassing smudges. Another option is to offer a Port-a-Potty from a local company to ease the burden on your sewer line if you can afford it and have a convenient place to put it. No fuss, no clean-up, they will drop it off and pick it up. But remember, you’ll still have indoor foot traffic from guests for other things. Games & Music What was the most popular dance in 1776? Indepen-dance. Okay, okay, cheesy joke. Have fun with setting up a music playlist if you have time and the inclination. Otherwise, someone else will probably have something to offer from their phone. You may also want to provide indoor and outdoor games, mini dance parties, or activities for both kids and adults. If you’re into some extra fun, you can also plan prizes for winners! Yard games are so much fun for a backyard barbecue for Independence Day, provided you have space. Get ready for things like horseshoes or bean bag tossing, scavenger hunts, volleyball, croquet, water balloons, and more. Setting out games and movies indoors is great for the less active, more introverted, those that need cooler temps, and/or for kids. Let guests know in advance if there will be water play options so they can come prepared with clothes and towels. Yard Work & Patio Cleaning I know must of us want to make our yards look beautiful before a 4th of July party. If you’re too time or money constrained to decorate much or buy new things, you can still be sure everything is clean and swept and looking great. Trim hedges, bushes, or wayward rose bushes. Mow and trim and pull weeds. Clear any paths, trim low-hanging trees, and put away things that can be tripped over like hoses. Even a bag or two of mulch sprinkled lightly over last year’s mulch can freshen up your space. Or try a bag of small rocks to set on top of soil in planters to freshen up those that have that compact/old soil look. Doing that and just clearing browned leaves from plants does wonders. Clean the patio furniture if it needs it with soapy water (Dawn dish soap and Mr. Clean Erasers work well). Then take a look at the set-up and be sure the patio is how you need it for the festivities. Is the table close enough to the kitchen and/or the grill? Do you have enough space to sit or do you need extra chairs? Think in advance where you will keep the recycling, garbage cans, and bags so they’re easy for the guests to use. Do these things a few days in advance and they’ll keep just fine until party day! Then you just need a quick wipe for the tables before you set up the buffet. For the evening, you may want to offer blankets, or ask guests in advance to remember to bring their own jackets and blankets. And maybe their own sunblock and bug spray! Clean the Grill, Pull Out The Supplies Don’t get caught unprepared with a greasy grill or lost party platters and punch bowls, coolers, specialty veggie or deviled egg or regular serving trays, and large salad bowls. . Scrub the grill grates with soapy water and a wire brush made for grill cleaning. Dawn works great to cut the grease, but you might need to soak first. Try putting the grates in the oven on self-cleaning mode if you need extra help. You’ll need to wipe out the oven and the grates afterward and beware the self-cleaning mode heats things up in the kitchen for quite some time. Decorations This might be your favorite part of getting ready for your Fourth of July party. Whether you buy decorations, pull them out of the attic, or plan to make DIY 4th of July decorations, be sure to start a week in advance if you can so you have time to pull them out and clean them, or shop for them, or make them. Once they’re all ready, you can decorate either the night before, or the morning of, depending on the weather outdoors. Indoor decor you can do any time in advance, whew! Visit local shops or search up DIY 4th of July Decorations or DIY Independence Day Decorations on Google or Pinterest for great ideas. But remember, you can also simply hang twinkling lights, bistro lights, battery operated candles, and paper lanterns and such. Shopping Lists Aside from the food shopping, decorations, game gear, prizes for games, and a Port-a-Potty rental if you’re so inclined, have a list ready to tackle for the following: Plenty of drink options, though hopefully guests will bring some if asked! Ice as needed Propane/charcoal First Aid supplies Sunblock and mosquito repellent Paper plates and napkins Plastic cutlery and cups Sparklers! Extra paper towels and toilet paper Chair and/or table rentals as needed Lighters and matches Extra condiments your guests might like Leave yourself time for last minute shopping because…well, we almost always forget something. But overall, we wish you the best and most fun this Independence Day!