It might be the worst part of the holidays. The part you dread, stress out about before the part even begins. You can feel the stress grow as you set up for the event, and it only increases as the people arrive. You try to keep up with it, but with all your other hosting duties, it quickly gets out of hand. You ask your family to help, but they're too busy having fun, and truthfully, they'd be powerless against it, too.

That's right - it's time to clean. But don't panic! You can do this. And it doesn't even have to be super painful. If you approach it the right way, keep a positive attitude, and have the right carrot dangling at the finish line, you can complete your cleaning without physical or emotional injury.

Here are tips on making cleaning more palatable and longer-lasting:

1.     Make a plan.

Before you begin tackling the mountain of cleaning you have to do, take a minute to think. Make a list of everything that needs to be done, and break it down by smaller tasks. It may be painful to think about, but at least you can plan for the devil you know. You might even get surprised that your list actually isn't as bad as you thought it would be.

2.     Make it a game.

Cleaning can be a terrible, never-ending chore, or it can be a pleasant task that you - almost - enjoy. It's all about attitude. So go into it with a positive attitude, and see how you can transform the activity from pain to game. Set a countdown clock for yourself and see if you can clean the kitchen before the timer goes off. Have a race with your significant other to see who can fold the laundry fastest. Finally determine who has the best method of loading the dishwasher. Remind yourself that the results will be worth the pain, and keep smiling.

3.     Use it as an excuse.

Look, if you have to clean anyway, you may as well do a good job of it. So instead of doing the bare minimum and sweeping some of the filth under the rug, really attack it. When you put away the good silver, take the time to reorganize the whole drawer. When you put away the table linens, straighten out that shelf in the closet. You'll feel so satisfied afterwards, and your house will look fabulous. And a good cleaning now will last until spring!

4.     Reward yourself.

No matter how much fun you make it, there are still probably a thousand things you'd rather be doing than cleaning your house. So to celebrate completing your task, especially when it's a job well done, make sure you reward yourself. Maybe you get to eat a holiday cookie, or treat yourself to a movie. Maybe you take the dog for a nice long walk. Just make sure it's relaxing and fun - don't make a mess!