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“Waste Not, Want Not Party” is a Treasure Hunt

It’s not often we find a party idea that rocks the house and the budget, but we did! Our girlfriends over at the DuPage Mamas Community recently inspired us with their guest blogger post from girlfriend Liz on how to have a  Waste Not, Want Not party. We found it so inspiring, in fact, that we thought we should share it with you.  


We loved the idea of this party because it is so easy to pull together. The total concept forces you to use what you have lying around instead of going to go buy “more things” to host a wonderful party. Not only do you get to save money and time while acquiring new treasures, it gives you the opportunity to catch up with the girlfriends in your life. (Which is a perfectly good excuse to plan a party all by itself!)  Here is what girlfriend Liz had to say over at DuPage Mamas community:  

Recently, my neighbor had a Waste Not, Want Not party. I had never heard of one before this, but after reading the invitation, I was intrigued.

“Empty out your pantries, freezers and refrigerators and bring all the extra food items to this brunch. We can then trade with each other and take home new and much needed goodies. Whatever is left over we will donate to a food pantry. Times are tough and there is no reason to waste perfectly good food. So don’t!”

It was the kind of party that would have been fun in any economy, but seemed all the more relevant in the current climate. I’ve never thought of giving someone a half-opened jar of food, but hey, why not? If it’s something someone else would use…

Since I regularly purge my cupboards, drawers and closets, and Freecycle, donate, or leave things at the curb, I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything worthwhile to bring. Somehow, though, I filled a big diaper box full of half opened boxes of tea, a set of old iced-tea spoons, a full bottle of mint liqueor, an extra bottle of molasses that wasn’t used during Christmas cookie season, some mason jar lids (large and small) and a couple of beautiful books on honey and tea that have been gathering dust for 6 years on my tea shelf, waiting for me to find some time to get inspired to start my own beehive.

Confession: the real reason I was excited to go to my neighbor’s party was the word ‘brunch’. And it wasn’t potluck. When I walked in, the table was spread with an amazing assortment of quiche, and cakes, breads, and salads – all made with items from her pantry she was trying to use up.

Sipping a Mimosa, I chatted with women from various parts of my friend’s life – her husband’s law school friends, her farm market friends, an ex-peace corps member who now works as an editor for the Tribune, the owner of my favorite natural body product shops, and a number of other radically different, yet essentially connected women.

Everyone seemed just as interested and excited as I was about this party.

(there’s much more if you click!)

Isn’t it fun what a rotten economy can actually stir up? I love to see the good that comes out of the bad.

We spread out the un-used and half-used items on two tables and made mental lists of what we wanted to put in our own bags to take home. 

There was quite a collection: some unshelled walnuts, a partial 25 lb bag of jasmine rice, jars of baby food, chocolate, a can of sweetened condensed milk, boxes of jello, some canning apparatus, and on and on. I think we all agreed that we preferred the purging to the taking, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I took home. A practically brand-new child’s plate/cup/silverware set, a large bar of Ghiradelli dark chocolate with orange (who the heck has extra chocolate lying around??), a couple Ziplocs of jasmine rice (we had just run out!), fun little toddler snacks to toss into the diaper bag, a bag of those little anise candies that you take by the spoonful on your way out of an Indian restaurant, and the best find of all? Some of the extra un-sellable soaps and bath salts that the owner of Abbey Brown Soap Artisans brought with her to give away!

Now I have been walking around my house with new eyes. I see the potential to do this with every part of our apartment and life – extra bathroom items, kids clothes, toys, cookbooks, magazines, and always food.

One woman’s garbage, another woman’s treasure, as they say.  

What an awesome find! We are thrilled our girlfriends shared their economical, inspiring party idea and that we were able to share it with you.  So go ahead, girlfriends, look around, see what you can dig up for your Waste Not, Want Not party! There has never been a better time to plan one than now; the economy is ripe for picking frugal partygoers. If you need a few more ideas for items to swap, see our post here. We’d love to hear your awesome party swapping  ideas or about a swapping party you’ve been to! Dish about it in the comments!

You can catch girlfriend Liz over at her online diary about the fun and craziness of motherhood or at Chicago Moms blog.

Stop by the DuPage Mamas community for connecting, shared experiences, and recommended great finds and ideas. 





1 Comment

  1. Thanks so much for the shout out! We love this idea too. In fact, we love it so much that we are planning a Waste Not, Want Not party for anyone who wants to attend on June 26th! You can e-mail me at dupagemamas(at)gmail(dot)com for more details! Thanks Girlfriends!! :)

    Comment by Farrah — May 28, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

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