Get ready to party with tips for creating, stocking, and organizing your own entertaining HQ.
Platters, chargers, drink decanters, and even fancy napkins are entertaining pieces we love to have but never know where to store. Chances are they end up back in their boxes, tucked into closets or anywhere with a little storage space. But now you can give these party-focused pieces a home of their own that’s anything but an afterthought. The party pantry has arrived, and it’s primed to be the most enviable space in the house.
“Party essentials are generally high-end or beautiful items that feel special and unique,” says Catherine McCord, author and founder of Weelicious, who covers the ins and outs of pantry organization in her latest cookbook, Meal Prep Magic.
While a space dedicated to entertaining essentials might sound lofty, think of it more as a way to simplify mealtime no matter how many people are gathered around your table. Just make sure you give it its proper due with a setup worthy of its station. If you do, you might soon find even the average Wednesday night becomes worthy of celebrating. Here’s everything you need to start your very own party pantry. Now who’s ready to start hosting?
What Is a Party Pantry?
Simply put, a party pantry is a space to stock all your hosting essentials. It can be a walk-in pantry entirely dedicated to entertaining supplies or simply a few shelves stocked and ready to pull together a casual pizza party night in a flash. A party pantry can take many shapes and purposes but, at its core, it’s designed to make your hosting gigs a bit more seamless and even appealing.
How much space you need, what your party pantry is stocked with, and how often you use it is all up to your entertaining style. Regardless of how you set it up, though, a tucked-away entertaining headquarters of sorts can be a true game changer when it comes to party time. “For anyone who loves having people over, it’s a lifesaver for making a festive occasion, no matter the size, come together fast,” says McCord.
What Are the Party Pantry Essentials?
Stocking your party pantry is where the true fun begins. Drinks (tonic water, mixers, seltzer, etc.), quick snacks (mixed nuts, chips, crackers, etc.), paper plates, cups, and napkins are items that can help pull together a party at a moment’s notice.
But when it comes to the entertaining staples, chances are they will be items you’ve collected over time. Serving bowls and platters in various sizes, shapes, and colors (white is a versatile first choice); serving utensils (you always need more than you think); drink pitchers and a decanter or two; and a variety of linens (cloth napkins, tablecloths, etc.) are a good place to start, although they aren’t absolute necessities, especially if you are a casual entertainer.
If you’re looking to stock up on serveware, consider hunting for bargains at your local vintage store, Facebook marketplace, or neighborhood garage or estate sales. Building out your party pantry will first and foremost be informed by your entertaining style, followed by the amount of space you can designate for your new entertaining hub. Take a stake of what you turn to when the company is coming, and stock your pantry with essentials to help you pull your next gathering together in a pinch.
How to Organize a Party Pantry
“A party pantry is a space that should be showcased, celebrated, and, most of all, organized,” says McCord. She suggests starting with clear storage containers and/or wire bins and baskets. Glass jars can help corral smaller items like straws, so they’re still visible and easy to access. A labeling system helps with identifying items and ensuring everything has a designated place, which is an integral component to ensure the space stays organized long after your pantry overhaul.
From there, McCord suggests breaking your party pantry into themes, particularly if you have a larger space to work with. “I have shelves that hold containers for Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, summer barbecues, pool parties, and more upscale adult parties,” says McCord. “This way, I can pull everything out and I’m ready to go without looking all over the house for specific items.”
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