Melissa and I will both tell you that the main reason why we can pull off a stress-free party (or parties) is because we are both huge list makers and we hate wasting time. We make lists for our menus, our chores, our grocery lists separated out by store, you name it and we make a list for it! Our lists help us maximize our time without forgetting items or details. We are old fashioned and prefer the paper and pen way of making a list. We like to see our accomplishments when we cross something off the list and then redo our lists when they get too messy. Some may say that is very “Type A”. We just think that makes sense!! However, if you prefer making a list on an iPad, computer, post-it notes, etc., go for it! There’s not one way to get organized. You need to use whatever method works for you, but you do need lists!
What kind of lists do you need?
1) Menu list. You need to write done what you are serving before you can do anything else. This will dictate all of your other lists. Since I am having 5 different parties, I have 5 different menu lists, one for each day. I like to tape my menus on an inside cabinet in my kitchen so I can check off when a dish is complete. Yes, I literally put a check mark by the dish.
2) Non-Perishable list**. I make a separate store run for my non-perishables that I cannot find at Costco (warehouse store). Why? To save money without sacrificing quality. A specific brand of a non-perishable good is the same regardless of what store you buy it.
3) Specialty meat/fish store**. I am fortunate that I live near a great meat store or “Sausage Chalet”. I get most of my meats at a local store to me, Patak, because they are very high in quality and less expensive than Costco. If you don’t live near a place like this, then put your meats on your Costco/grocery store list.
4) Costco list**. I buy as much as I can at Costco because they sell just about everything I need and the prices are very reasonable. This is where I also buy beer and some wine.
5) Grocery list**. This is where I buy all of my last minute produce.
**Of course, you could combine your non-perishables, specialty meats and warehouse store lists with your grocery list and buy everything at your favorite grocery store instead. However, you’ll still need to make at least 2 trips if you are doing anything in advance: One for all the stuff you can buy and make ahead of time and the second when you buy all your last minute produce.
6) Liquor store list. If you need to stock up on some wine that is not sold at Costco or special alcohol, don’t forget your local liquor store!
7) Chore list. What do you need to do before your guests arrive? Do you just need to do a quick dusting or cleaning of a bathroom? Do you need to polish silver or buy a certain serving piece? Think about how you want your house to look and make a list of what you need to do to get it all done.
8) Schedule. About a week out, I make a schedule of what I am going to do on what day so I am not scrambling at the last minute. The schedule is inclusive of the day of the party and in the order of when I am going to accomplish each task. The day of schedule should include a last minute look around the house to see if you missed anything, as well as a final taking out of the trash before your guest arrive!!
T-Minus 48 hours until the first party
The first of 5 parties is in 48 hours. What’s the status? I have already done my “non-prerishable” store run. If you follow us on Facebook, you will see that the “Coca-Cola” refrigerator is fully stocked with water and soda for the week. On today’s errand list is Costco and Smyrna World of Beverage. To get the house ready, we are going to do a final cleaning of the basement to get it ready for my sister and niece. In the prepping of food department, the kids are going to make Lemonade Stand Pie, the only request made by my aunt for her birthday. It has ice cream in it, so can easily stay in the freezer for 6 days. Oh, the “adult beverage” refrigerator will be stocked, as well as the wine racks!
Want to see more of this series? Here are the other parts:
Part 1 Original
Part 3 Baconfest
Part 4 Dinner for 13
Part 5 July 4th Dinner
Part 6 Birthday party for 16