Party Decor on a Budget: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Party Supplies

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I hate spending money on things I rarely use, hate burning through the disposable instead of investing in the reusable, and hate finding space for party decorations and supplies in my small apartment closets. And yet...I love hosting parties that are well-equipped and nicely decorated. How to host large gatherings without breaking the bank or having to keep lots of party supplies crammed under my bed? Enter the communal party supply collection, or as one  of my friends dubbed it, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Party Supplies.

The collection started when I and several of my friends began planning weddings, and I found myself spending inordinate amounts of time and money thinking about and purchasing party supplies. (Although it was worth it in the end.) Already-married friends offered up their leftover party decor stash and it was a relief to be able to save a little money and mental energy by just borrowing what they already owned. After my wedding, I did the same for friends around me, loaning out whatever they wanted for their own weddings or parties.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Party Supplies has evolved over time to not only include the types of items you might need for a wedding — 20 burlap table runners, anyone? — but also basic party equipment like big metal tubs to hold ice and drinks at backyard shindigs and stacks of plain IKEA juice glasses to use instead of disposable wine glasses, as well as small decorative items like vases.

If we wanted to we could probably get more organized about it with spreadsheets of who owns what, but for now it's pretty casual — just a group of apartment-dwelling, money-saving friends who love helping each other throw great parties.

Do you and your friends do anything like this? How do you stock party supplies and decor on a budget?

Related: Acme Party Box Company: Party Supplies with an Eco-Conscience

(Image: Christina Richards Weddings)