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Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends

Posted by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM
  • 50 Replies


What do you do when you want to own ALL the party supplies but you don't have the space to store them or, let's face it, the budget to purchase them? Well, you have two options: (1) wrap up in your favorite tablecloth and cry yourself to sleep or (2) organize your own supply swap with likeminded friends. Guess which one will be more fun?

I love party supplies of all kinds--everything from paper lanterns and streamers to sets of unusual cocktail glasses to big, beautiful party platters that are both too long and too wide to tuck away into any of my kitchen cabinets. Aside from the problem of storing all these "occasional" items, I'm also of course keeping track of my budget, which means that, sure, a three-tiered chocolate fountain would bring the house down at our next party, but it's probably not the best use of my money. Now, if I could borrow one...

But do any of your friends own a three-tiered chocolate fountain? Mine don't...OR DO THEY? If only there were some way to know what party supplies my friends and neighbors had and were willing to lend out...and voila, an idea is born. Set up an online spreadsheet of your party supplies and invite friends to add theirs too, including anything they're open to sharing with the group. Think beyond the boring basics of extra tables and chairs to things like

  • platters, serving bowls, and punchbowls
  • drink dispensers, pitchers, and carafes
  • galvanized ice buckets and lidded coolers
  • extra plates, silverware, and glassware (also a great way to reduce party waste)
  • napkins and tablecloths  
  • picnic blankets
  • balloon pump or helium tank
  • candle, candlesticks, and votives
  • lanterns, string lights, and tiki torches
  • tea sets
  • popcorn machine
  • movie projector
  • extra pool toys (maybe even an inflatable pool?)
  • bouncy house
  • lawn games
  • leftover decorations like streamers, bunting, and balloons
  • themed items, like treasure chests, superhero masks, fairy wings, etc.

A simple spreadsheet will help you keep track of who owns what, and if you store the master list online, everyone can update it as their collections change. Each person can also download a personal copy to help her keep track of what she's lent to and borrowed from whom.

If your group is ambitious and likes to party hardy, you could even include a wish list of things you'd like to have. Who knows, maybe all of you could chip in together and get that three-tiered chocolate fountain at last? 

Do you ever swap party supplies with friends?

Image © iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
slw123
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 8:21 AM

No, I've never done that, but it's a good idea.

LaniBee
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 8:44 AM

This is one idea that has never occurred to me.

hillmom
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM
I haven't, but then we don't entertain much. When we do, we keep it simple!
mnmo3bb
by Amy on Aug. 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

 I've been known to share, pass on things and even get things from others. Plastic banners are ones that we definetly save! I made a #6 and added it to an Iron Man one that we used for both my older boys' 6th birthday and they are planning to use it for their little brother's 6th bday as well (he'll be 2 this year haha)

I think re-using is a good idea, we don't go too over board on parties and now we just do a family fun day anyway but we still get a few things. Just keep it simple though! I have a very small bin of things I think we might use. I re-use plastic table covers when we paint :) Balloons are always good to have on hand!

timon95
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 12:45 PM
yes, we have swapped things before
wandep
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 1:08 PM

No

Kmakksmom
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 1:22 PM
No, we don't entertain much.
goddess99
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Nope, never occurred to me.

la_bella_vita
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 4:32 PM


Quoting slw123:

No, I've never done that, but it's a good idea.

Ditto

sanj1213
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 11:47 PM

I haven't. Good idea though. 

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