Summer is right around the corner, and with Summer comes BBQ's!!! I don't know about you guys, but we have the tendency to use a lot of disposable items when we have people over for a BBQ. About two years ago, I became increasingly upset with the amount of paper plates, plasticware, and solo cups we were using when we had people over, so I started a Party Box!
I had the idea for our party box just before Weston's first birthday. We were going to have a ridiculous amount of people at our house for a BBQ and I felt so guilty thinking about purchasing all those disposable items! So I began purchasing reusable items with the intent on using them for future parties as well. Over the years, my in-laws have even jumped on board and have used it when needed and have even added a few reusable trays to the mix!
The Party Box is just a giant rubbermaid tub filled with reusable party items- plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives, trays, table cloths etc. Super easy and super environmentally friendly!
You can create your own party box for what you would spend on disposable items for one or two parties-saving you cash and making you environmentally friendly!
Here are some tips on creating your own party box
1) Pick a neutral color scheme (or color scheme you feel comfortable using again and again).
I decided to choose mostly items that are white, stainless steel, or glass. These are great neutral pieces that go with anything and give you a lot of freedom when choosing your next party theme.
1) Check out Thrift Shops.
Thrift shops are a haven for forgotten ceramic plates, bowls, silverware, serving trays...practically any kitchenware item you can imagine on the cheap! I found this gorgeous pitcher a few years back, and I love bringing it out to serve water or sweet tea!
2) Search Target/Walmart/IKEA/ insert other favorite big box store
For our party box I slowly collected melamine plates from Target. At the time I was putting it together, we only had one thrift store near our house. I was also a new Mom with a new house, so going multiple places (like thrifting) was not in the cards. Everything I did pretty much happened at Target or IKEA. Also- these melamine plates are lighter than ceramic and I knew I'd have to haul it up the stairs every time we wanted to use it. Every time I went, I checked the Target dollar spot and kitchen area for stuff on sale. On a trip to IKEA, I picked up a bunch of fun-colored reusable utensils and holders.
3) Get Creative!
After seeing this tutorial ages ago, I re-purposed some vases and glass plates I purchased from a thrift store into serving stands. They have held up pretty nicely over the years and I've used them to hold everything from cupcakes to finger sandwiches. I use an IKEA frame to frame printables for various occasions and purchased a few yards of oil cloth in a pattern I thought would go with pretty much anything.
These painted bottles would be great centerpieces that can be used again and again.
4) Use what you have around the House
Not everything I use to decorate for a party can fit in the Party Box. For Weston's first birthday and my husbands 30th, I also used things we had around the house. I typically use this wooden cake stand to hold a planter (not pictured because our cat has been chewing away at the plant), but for parties, it is used for it's original purpose- cakes!
For Weston's 1st Birthday, I used some item from his nurserty to decorate the "tablescape".
5) REUSE 'disposable' serving platters
When you purchase, let's say, a fruit or cheese tray, it often comes in a 'disposable' serving tray. Nine times out of ten, that tray is pretty nice and can be used on more than one occasion. Even if it cracks or breaks after the 2nd or 3rd use, you've gotten some reuse out of it and it wasn't a one time use item!
I'm curious to see how you guys 'green' up your celebrations. Do you have a party box? What's in it? If not, will you start one?