One of my favorite things to do in our home is to entertain. Decorating our home and preparing tasty eats speaks deep within my hospitality soul. And of all the questions I get on this blog, one of the most common asked questions is where I store everything. So thank you for being patient because here it is!
The largest factor that makes entertaining less stressful is having the majority of supplies on hand. By having everything on hand, I can spend the majority of my time cooking and decorating (not shopping or running around like a maniac looking for things). And if I want it extra fancy, I have time to prepare additional decorations. Over my three years of marriage and entertaining in our home, I have come down with a system that can easily be thrown together. I have streamlined my serving platters and utensils only to those that I use on a regular basis, ones that are able to store somewhat easily, and take up as little space as possible on my serving table (short and long serving bowls have been replaced with taller deeper pieces that take up less table space).
This is a bit of an extensive post that was too much to fit in one day so tomorrow I will be sharing a similar post but in the kitchen. It will include mostly regular everyday supplies but I do have a few serving pieces stored in there as well.
The majority of my serving pieces now fit into two pieces of furniture, this buffet and a hutch. My goal was to have everything accessible, not stuffed into drawers, and in an appropriately fitting room (i.e. no serving pieces under our bed!).
Here is the breakdown of the drawers (please excuse the fact that I did not finish painting the inside of the drawers!):
1. Plastic cafeteria trays we use mainly for the Super Bowl and other in front of the TV events. I also have my paper straw collection and a few canning jars that overflowed from the drawer below.
2. The rest of my wide mouth canning jars that are used as glasses for parties.
3. Plastic plates and bowls used for outdoor parties as well as what I have my nephew eat off of.
4. Table cloths and doilies. The bottom row holds white table cloths fitted for our round and rectangle folding tables. I also stowed away salad size mismatched vintage plates that are used for more feminine parties like my yearly Valentine's Day tea and are also often used to decorate the walls with.
5. This drawer holds our medicines as well as small serving dishes used for sauces and condiments.
6. Canning jars that I use for canning.
7. The rest of my patterned/vintage plate collection in dinner size plates and extra canning jars and lids that don't fit in the above drawer.
The hutch serves as double duty, displaying some of my serving dishes as decoration but still with plenty of storage below to hide things.
1. Because I try to use up as much space as possible, I set up the hutch in two rows with the prettier stuff on display up front. The silver piece is the bottom to one of my drink dispensers. The drink dispensers take up the most space so I had to be creative in storing the pieces separately.
2. Much like the same as #1. Pretty serving dishes up front, glass drink ware hiding in the back!
3. Separate collected silverware for parties. We have sets of 12 of our everyday silverware but even with small parties, we ended up not having any utensils to use the following few days. The party silverware is mismatched and collected. Whenever I am at the thrift store, I browse for pretty additions with fancy designed handles. I have about 20 pieces each so if we are having a bigger party than that, my everyday's can stand in as well.
4. A few bowls that didn't fit anywhere, candles, and matches. It may seem messy but all of these items belong here and I know where to find them.
5. Miscellaneous serving accessories--chalkboards, frames, and table setting cards for labeling things. Small vases and all of my chalk.
6. One of my two drink dispensers and an ice bucket stacked perfectly to squeeze into a small space.
7. Plastic serving dishes.
8. Miscellaneous cups, mugs, glasses. These are more often used as serving pieces or to plant plants in. I use Ikea's drawer dividers to keep the ceramic and glass ware in place and from hitting each other.
9. My other drink dispenser tucked away for safe keeping.
Perhaps this post may have been more interesting a year ago when I had pieces hidden behind couches and tucked into vintage suitcases. But let me say that though I was able to hide a ton of stuff before, I am more likely to use it all now that it is accessible and I have less. I have lived on both sides and I enjoy living with less so much more. I no longer have to search five different places...I am now down to two. And it really makes entertaining so much more enjoyable when it is not stressful. I know it is hard to let go of stuff. I understand the emotional connection. But I still am able to have a ton of beautiful pieces that I can really love and be appreciative of with a lot less chaos.
Figure out what you love, what you use, and what is the most realistic to the type of entertaining that you do...and then fill one or two pieces of furniture with it. And then be done. That's my minimalist advice. Take it or leave it. :)
Tomorrow I will be sharing what is in my kitchen drawers!
Check out all 31 Days of Creative Homemaking series here.