There may be no more exhausting feeling than waking up the day after a big outdoor party only to see the total devastation of your house and backyard. The last thing you want to do is plan the next cookout when you’re doing the clean up from last night’s. But it may be the best time for it.
At least, that’s what Reddit user u/xenomorphgirl wrote on /r/LifeProTips, saying they have learned over the years that the annual barbecue is a lot easier to plan when you know what went wrong the year before:
It never fails that we can’t recall what we did years past. How many pounds of brisket did we order last time, how many people came, what did we run out of, what did we wish we had thought of ahead of time? Last night we ran out of buns and water bottles, so I’m definitely noting that for next time.
I also discovered that cotton candy does not stick very well to candy sticks- I really need the paper tubes next time. So I’m gathering my notes and including them on my Google calendar entry for next year!
Here’s a couple easy things you can do that will make that far off day way less hectic when it finally arrives. Future you will thank past you.
Check your calendar and pick the likely day. For u/xenomorphgirl, the best way is to use a digital calendar that allows you to attach notes about things like ice, attendee numbers, and seating.
But I like to set reminders in my GCal for the things I need to remember to do throughout the week, but which will inevitably slip my mind. If it took longer than you thought to defrost hamburger patties, set a reminder enough days in advance of that distant party. If certain things sold out at your local store around a particular holiday, remind yourself to buy them early.
There’s no reason to keep a running list in your brain for this stuff, especially because you will forget it. Write it down now, when all the hiccups of the last 24 hours are fresh in your mind. Maybe you have a notebook for this purpose, but I often forget to check my notebooks. A pop up reminder on my phone or computer does wonders.
Buy Stuff All Year
My grandmother is a champion sales shopper: she buys random crap on the cheap all year round, wraps it, and labels who it’s for. On Christmas morning, she’s often as surprised as we are by what’s inside.
This is actually a perfect system for things like decorations and supplies, because come January, there’s gonna be a lot of Christmas-themed stuff available for cheap. Keep it in stored away, ready to go. It’ll save you money, and there will be one less thing you need to grab next time.
I find the key thing that runs out in shops is bread. Hot dog rolls or burger buns. Which are key, people can’t just eat hamburgers with their fingers. I buy a batch at quiet times then freeze them, then have more on the day if they are available.
Write A Summary For Yourself
Take a moment to reflect: You threw a great party (hopefully), but there were probably some things you noticed in the moment that could have been done differently. They won’t all be as straightforward as “More buns.” Maybe you noticed Aunt Sasha got rowdy after she switched to tequila, and there won’t be any hard liquor next year.
Maybe the dog needs to wear a sign that says, “Don’t feed me.” Or maybe this was the year you finally got the lawn furniture arrangement just right. Throw a diagram in there. This is a treasure map you’re leaving for yourself; it’s worth doing, even if you’re recovering from a hangover.