Our family is large and we love to have people over for different events. The absolute worse thing about hosting parties is the clean up involved. There are a few tricks and tips that can help you manage the stress of clean up much better.
The first thing to think of is: What can I use that can be easily disposed of? This can include: paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic ware, etc. You need to think about your event and if it is less formal or more formal. For more formal events the less disposable products the better. For less formal events, feel free to break out the disposable products! This will make your life way easier when it comes time to clean up.
Another thing to think about it is the benefit of having your event Potluck Style. This means your guests help with providing some of the menu. This also means they are responsible for taking their dishes home. When going potluck it is good to use disposable serving containers. There are several places that sell fashionable bowls and serving ware that are disposable. This makes it nice for the guest who is bringing something to share and for the host so that they don't get stuck with lots of leftover dishes.
Another tip is to make sure you have plenty of garbage receptacles around the party area. The bigger the better, unless you have someone whose sole job it is to make the garbages are always neat and not overflowing. Trash can be a huge deal when you depend on disposables, however, plan ahead for it and it won't be a problem.
Another thing that will help is to allow friends and family to assist you, especially when they offer. This is helpful for setup and for clean up. Never be too proud that you can't accept sincere offers of help! Then make sure that these people understand just how much you appreciate them!
When you are having a party, don't let the fun get sucked out of it by not planning ahead to the clean up. When you plan ahead and stay organized and on top of things your party will run more smoothly and you will feel less frazzled at the end. Funny how that works! Make it a great one!