Expecting guests this season (or any time of year)? Just a few tricks before company arrives can help your house look its best during the visit and make it easier to clean up when the party’s over.

Before guests arrive:

1. The fastest way to make your home look lovely is to eliminate clutter. For each main room of your house, grab a plastic storage bin and sweep in all the excess clutter and random bits that have accumulated. Store your bins in an out of the way spot—like the garage or laundry room—so they’re ready for you to organize the next day.

2. Go through your menu and choose serving dishes for everything you’re making. Place them on your buffet or table with a post-it indicating what you’ll serve in it. This will not only make your food service faster, but will save you from creating extra dirty dishes when you’re trying to find a serving bowl to accommodate something. If you expect guests to bring something to eat, stash some extra platters and bowls in an easy location so they can add their food to the buffet.