We are hosting two kids’ birthday parties in February and I just realized that the first one is in less than two weeks so I kind of went into panic planning mode last night. The twins turned six in December but there was no way we could squeeze in a birthday party so we pushed it off until now. I’m kind of excited because we are trying something new. Mad Science is coming to our home and putting on a science show for the kids and then they can play and have some cake. Good enough for me! But that means decorating and food etc. Last year’s joint party had a mermaid and pirate theme which was super cute, but this year I somehow have to make Pokemon and Frozen work together!
So, as I was planning everything I decided to check my party supply bin to see whether there was anything in there I could use. Then, I realized that even though I cleaned this bin out a year ago it was a mess. Perfect. Time to purge the bin – and all the other party supplies around the house. If you are the sentimental type, this challenge might be a little but harder than candles and makeup. There are definitely some good memories associated with the decorations and hats in that bin. Remember, I did just clean this bin out last year. The last time I purged party supplies I was able to cut back from two bins to one! So, don’t be surprised if you have a lot more mess hiding in your closet than I do.
How to Purge Party Supplies – Getting Started
First, I emptied the contents of the bin on to the counter and divided the supplies into categories – party hats, decorations for specific themes, New Years hats etc. Next, I went through each pile and started by pulling out anything that was damaged or too worn to be used again. A smooshed party hat with no string isn’t good for anyone! Those items went straight into the trash.
What to Keep
Then, the items I know I will use – the leis we wear every year for Christmas in July, the New Years hats and noisemakers, the unopened tablecloths and basic party hats all went back in the box. I was left with a pile of random decorations left over from various parties. This was the hard part. I was ruthless with myself and any decorations that I realistically wouldn’t use again I pitched. My kids are still really in to LEGO so I kept the LEGO birthday banner we made a few years ago. It is so hard to invest so much time in these craft projects and just throw them away – but if the decorations no longer have a purpose in our lives there really isn’t any point to keeping them hidden in the closet.
I think one of the hardest parts of purging party supplies is that realistically no one wants your old stuff. It’s just trash. Admitting that is hard. It is definitely easier for me to get rid of things if I think they are going to be repurposed or used by someone else.
Some Items can be Repurposed
There were several items that were past their prime for parties that I still kept. Plastic tablecloths that survived one party can be used as art drop cloths or as tablecloths for gingerbread house decorating or cookie making. They just don’t look so neat anymore and I wouldn’t use them for a party. But, I put them with the art supplies so I will actually use them. Also, my kids love to have birthday parties for their stuffed animals and use the old party hats – so we kept the ones that weren’t completely smooshed. In fact, one lucky unicorn just celebrated a birthday this past week.
The bin looked much neater when I was done – but there are party supplies hidden in the pantry as well.
As much as I like to purge I don’t like to be wasteful so all the old party napkins and plates get saved. I’ll use those any old time (when I remember). We go through them a lot faster in the summer when we eat outside at the park and the winery.
Why do I Save Half Burned Birthday Candles?
This brings us to candles. I don’t know why I save all the old candles. I rarely reuse them. And pretty much every time I buy a cake it comes with a new set of candles. But, my pantry was full of short, half burned candles – and the worst part is I know I threw a bunch out not too long ago! I also save all the number candles – thinking that I’ll reuse them but I always just end up at the dollar store buying new ones. So, there really isn’t any point to keeping those either. I feel a little wasteful pitching them but I know I won’t use them. Besides, there are no sixes or eights – which are what I need. It’s still a few years before we hit double digits and I need those 2’s and 3’s again!
I often decorate the kids cakes myself – and by decorate I mean I plop decorations on top. Normally I buy small toys in their party theme and then let them keep the toys afterwards. But, I’ve had to buy a few cake toppers for my daughter – mermaids and unicorns! Somehow, I don’t think this phase is going to pass by quickly so I’ll hold on to those for a little while.
What to do with Leftover Party Favors
You’ll notice I don’t have any leftover goodie bag crap. You know what I’m talking about – you always buy extra pens, pirate patches and fancy erasers. No matter how “useful” party favors are – they are junk. Once a party is over I donate all the extras to the school – my son’s first grade class played birthday bingo once a month and the teacher was always requesting small prizes. I was all over that! Now, I donate it to the Spirit Shop where the fifth graders sell small trinkets to raise money for various charities. It is kind of a win-win situation. It always makes me happy when my excess stuff can be used rather than just thrown away.
If you are super adventurous you could also start purging serving platters and bowls but I think I’ll save those for another day. I still have to order a few cakes and figure out how to combine the worlds of Pokemon and Frozen. I’m sure it will be magical!
Questions to Help You Purge
- Will I realistically use this again or am I keeping it for nostalgic reasons?
- Is it damaged or more than gently used?
- If I get rid of this is it something that could easily be replaced?
- Could this item be repurposed elsewhere in my house? Old tablecloths
- Do I still like this item?
- Where should I put all these old napkins and plates so I use them? Using something up counts as purging!
- If you have leftover party favors can you donate them?
Remember party supplies are meant to be disposable. They aren’t something we keep forever. They bring us and our kids joy during the party. We have photos to remember them but let’s reclaim the space in our closets!