1. Bugs dive-bombing the potato salad? Invert a big wire-mesh colander over the bowl, and voilà — no flies!
2. At the park or campsite and don’t want to sit on damp grass? Lay a waterproof shower curtain under your picnic blanket to keep shorts and sundresses dry.
3. Stock a backup tool kit for meals away from home. Pack a big resealable plastic container with kitchen scissors, sunscreen, a bottle opener, garbage bags, zip-top storage bags, a serving spoon, tongs and a marker or pen.
4. Pack condiment containers in an empty six-pack bottle holder with a handle. Use another one to hold disposable forks, knives, spoons and napkins. Instant outdoor-entertaining caddy!
5. Keep ants away from the buffet table in a way that’s safe for food, animals and kids. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar, and spritz liberally around eating areas to keep these picnic-loving bugs away.
6. At your next barbecue, put a pen next to the paper plates, and ask each person to write their name and order (such as hot dog or veggie burger) on the underside of the plate. The grill master can check the plate, fill the order and call out, “Amanda, come and get it!” instead of, “Who ordered a hot dog?!”
7. Tie a bottle opener to the handle of your cooler so people can’t drop or lose it — and leave your fellow picnickers thirsty. Make sure to use a sturdy ribbon or cord that’s nice and long.
8. Instead of hauling out your garbage cans and recycling bins for a backyard get-together, line (or even double-line) extra-large cardboard boxes with garbage bags. Add labels so it’s clear what goes where — one for garbage, one for recyclable materials, and one for food scraps and compostable items. You can recycle the boxes when you’re done.
9. Sticky notes fly away, and guests don’t want to keep asking you which cooler is full of beer. Make windproof labels with easy-to-remove masking or painter’s tape. Use strips of tape to label coolers “beer” “water” or “meat,” and food platters “vegetarian” or “gluten-free.” Bonus: There’s no gooey residue to scrub off later!
10. Wait, which one’s mine? Cut down on the number of big plastic beer cups and half-full plastic water bottles getting tossed due to confusion: Before handing one out, slap a distinctive sticker on it so guests remember which drink is theirs. Tips: Use super-adhesive stickers, and wipe off any condensation before pressing them on.