Saturday, June 22, 2013

Party like there is a tomorrow!

Why am I showing you a picture of a trash bag full of ribs and napkins? Because it made me so very happy to finish clean-up after hosting a BBQ for 35 people, and this was all the trash the party generated!

How did we do that?
I keep a set of 24 place settings of extremely inexpensive plain white IKEA dishes in the basement. They're stored in boxes, ready to pull out for feeding a crowd. Of course the more thrifty option would be to gather plates at yard sales or the likes. I tried that but eventually wanted a neutral, matching set.
For the children, I have a very large quantity of the ubiquitous IKEA Kalas dishes. They see sooo much use! Everyone with kids should have some of these, but I'm biased because I just love IKEA in a potentially unhealthy way. We didn't serve juice boxes or bottled water, we just had water, lemonade and juice in big jugs and unbreakable cups for everyone. See those 'table cloths' - a very cheap bolt of IKEA fabric bought on clearance.

How to make it easy on the guests: My oldest daughter made signs, we laminated them to reuse many times. People can drop their dishes in the soaking tubs with water and some environmentally friendly dish soap. To be honest, I don't usually deal with them until the day after. There is a compost bucket for non-meat food scraps, and a trash barrel (which produced the picture above).

Making the food from scratch, including the cakes, helps a lot in reducing the amount of trash, too.  Almost all produce and half the meat was bought at the farm stand, with minimal packaging. (Easy to say for a June party, that's harder in winter!). There was a little more trash generated during food prep, but really not much beyond some plastic wrap. A few cardboard boxes, three large juice bottles, one plastic veggie tray, a few more plastic tubs for things like hummus, and a bit of tin foil all went into the recycle. The beer bottles go back to the store.

 See those cute cake designs? My children painted cake toppers for daddy, stay tuned for more on that...
Now it's 'tomorrow morning', I'm on my second dishwasher cycle and will be done with clean up after one more. And ready for the next party, too!

 The Self Sufficient HomeAcre   Small Footprint Fridays - A sustainable living link-up 


  1. "Teach by example" not only is a good way of learning your kids, but it is also good for your guests!

    I love that the kids were participating by making the signs and such. I bet they feel such pride in what they did.

    I love having BBQ get together's with friends and family too. I use my colorful ceramic plates but only have a place setting for 8, so it limits my party size. I like your idea of stocking up on cheap plates for these occasions. Since I like to serve my food on brightly colored dishes, maybe I need to start stocking up on some from yard sales. Thanks for the tip!

  2. YEAH!!! Less waste is the way to go. I too have a strange obsession with Ikea.
    Thanks again for sharing at the Creative HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again this week!