Hooray for warm sunshine!
For many of us, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of Summer. This is the start of a season full of outdoor gatherings with family and friends. In my family, we go camping, to the beach, and take turns hosting outdoor meals at each other’s homes.
It’s all too easy to accumulate packages of disposable cups, plates, and cutlery. We’re at the store before the big weekend and think, “Hmmm…do we have enough forks? Did we finish that last package of plastic cups? When we get home, we find there were drawers and cupboards stuffed with these disposables: half-opened, mixed, and scattered around. As you can imagine, this habit can get pricey if you host often. What’s more, all these extras awkwardly take up precious space, both in our cabinets and as excess waste in the landfills.
I recently worked with a woman who enjoys hosting cookouts in her beautiful outdoor entertainment space. She wanted to organize her kitchen as soon as possible. The warm weather was approaching and her house was the go-to for parties. The goal was to make entertaining less overwhelming and figure out a simple system to make set-up and clean-up easier. While sorting, we came to her built-in trash and recycling drawer full of the entertaining disposables I mentioned. She wanted to empty the bins, open up floor space, and use the drawer for the intended purpose.
Instead of continuing to use disposables, I suggested acquiring a set of re-usable party ware. She had some pieces already, and bought the rest to create a cute, colorful entertaining set. There happened to be an appropriately sized container on hand that made a wonderful home for all the pieces, and it fit snugly into the hall closet. Now, what she needs for events is always there: no more last-minute guess work on what supplies are needed, and no more overflowing trash barrels sitting next to the picnic tables.
As for the washing up, I borrowed a little idea from my days working at a Montessori school to keep it simple. She would place a bin with hot soapy water on a table next to a trash can. Guests would scrape their scraps into the can and put their dishes into the soapy water. At the end of the night, the party host could simply pour out the water, and toss the dishes into the dishwasher - the guests did the rinsing!
Here are a few considerations if you’d like to try this out:
Let us know - do you entertain and have a system that works well? Are you inspired to give it a try? We’d love to see photos and learn new ideas, feel free to comment below or send us a message!