Clearing and Reusing Party Leftovers

Frozen leftover herbs in olive oil

The party was a success and the guests have gone home – now what should you do with the leftover food and party supplies? Instead of tossing them in the trash, here are some useful tips for reusing, recycling and saving party items.

Tips for Saving Leftover Food

  • Party Favors: Offer excess cake and desserts as party favors. Put the sweets in decorative boxes with small ‘thank you’ notes so guests can take them as they leave.
  • Cleanup Party: Invite friends over the following day to help clean and serve leftovers.
  • Freeze for Later: Place leftover items like pot stickers, dips, spreads, sauces and breads in the freezer to enjoy later. Store items in airtight containers and write the date on each one so you know when the food was frozen.
  • Reimagined Recipes: Use foods that can’t be frozen, such as chicken wings, fish, sauces, shrimp, meats and cheeses, in other recipes during the week. Think breakfast omelets, casseroles and tacos.
  • Flavored Ice Cubes: Freeze leftover wine and sweet drinks in ice cube trays and use to cool down warm wine or flavor water. You can also freeze leftover herbs in olive oil for later use. 
  • Cake Pops: Leftover cake can be used to make cake pops for a special after-party family treat.

Tips for Repurposing Party Decorations and Supplies

  • Confetti: Shred streamers to use as confetti and table decorations at a future party.
  • Pom-Poms: Save extra tissue paper and twist ties to make cheerful party pom-poms.
  • Cupcake Toppers: Cut napkins into small flags and glue them around the top third of toothpicks to make mini flag cupcake toppers for your next gathering.
  • New Party Hats: Cover party hats with decorative cardstock or paint and reuse the updated versions again at your next party.
  • Lettered Banners: Rearrange the letters to spell out a different message.
  • Wine Corks: Drill small holes in the bottom of leftover wine corks, place them on top of bamboo skewers and use them to label your herb garden. 
  • Plastic Bottles: Cut two-liter bottles in half, make small drainage holes in the bottoms and use them as seed starters.