A party is coming up, or even just a special occasion for which there might be a party, maybe.
What’s holding you back?
Decorations, you say?
You can designate somewhere in the house, be it a large plastic container with a lid, a shelf in the linen closet, or even a drawer as the “party drawer.” There you can collect all the various and sundry things one might use for a party. Here’s how to stock it:
- My super sekrit go-to place for party stuff? The dollar store! I adore Dollar Tree, personally. They have fun things, everything in the store is $1 USD, and they have a website you can use to generate ideas.
- Party stores are geared toward parties, but aren’t necessarily bargains. Still, if you can’t find what you need at a dollar store, they are a good place to go when you’re looking for specific things. The big one here in the Chicagoland is Party City.
- Used-clothing and home goods stores. Every intrepid party thrower needs a good junk store up their sleeve. You don’t know what you’ll find going in, but if you’ve got a sharp eye you can find a lot of neat things. Pro-tip – there are three tiers of these kinds of stores: straight-up junk store that exists on donations and is where stuff people get rid of goes to die; consignment stores where the well-to-do discreetly sell off last-seasons items; and vintage boutiques where one can find remnants of things past, and will likely pay dearly for them.
What do you buy and hold onto? Everyone’s tastes are different, but here are a few of my tried-and-true solutions:
- Lights. I love mini-lights, the kind that people to decorate a tree during the holidays. They’re deeply discounted in January, but if you stay alert, you can find deals ther times of the year. I once found pastel lights (!) marketed as “Easter decorations.” Plug them in and stuff the entire string into a large glass vase for a quirky lamp.
- Candle holders. I make candles, so I have a ton at any one time; if you don’t, you can buy a bunch at the grocery store in the ethnic section usually. The holders are what people generally remember. I don’t use scented ones because I’m allergic to the synthetic scents; I’d recommend not doing it because your guests may have the same problem but don’t want to say anything for fear of being rude.
- The “smashed marbles” that one finds in the planter section of the store. (Dollar Tree carries them in the housewares section with the glass “stuff.”) Scatter them in the center of the table around the salt and pepper – it looks like jewels have been dropped on the table.
Whatever works for you, you can save it all in one place and make planning a snap. It’s fun to be able to whip out a fancy table with little effort, especially when a friend is celebrating a milestone and doesn’t expect it. Hard day at work? Let’s have a cocktail but upgrade it to something special. Date night? Set a mood. Kids did great in school? Celebration time!
What about you, Dear Reader? What party tips are your favorite?
– E.E. Cummings
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