This Is the Best Way to Handle Trash and Recycling During a Party

published Mar 10, 2017
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

The party problem: Beer and wine bottles always seem to get lined up on the kitchen counter instead of put into the recycling, which is right there — under the sink!

The party trick: Tape temporary labels to the cabinet doors to direct guests.

Despite the fact that my friends have all been to my house a few dozen times for parties, they somehow never seem to know (or care?) that my trash and recycling cans live under the sink. They’ve all seen me put stuff under there — and yet, any time we’re drinking, they insist on lining up their empty bottles, wine corks, and bottle caps along the counter. Every once in a while, throughout the night, I have to put the refuse in the appropriate can. It’s not the biggest task, but I can’t help but think there’s a better way.

Let me be clear and point out that my parties are not so formal that my friends don’t help out — they mix drinks, help me bring out food, and bring empties to the kitchen — but my parties are not so informal that I want to just leave the cans out in the kitchen. Sure, they’d be more likely to be used if they were out in plain sight, but that would actually be uglier than bottles on the counter!

My new solution? For our last party, I simply used index cards to mark the cabinet doors. The cards provided the very subtle hint my guests needed to discard their waste. The counters stayed clear and my kitchen didn’t end up looking like a college party.

If the cans ever got too full, someone would let me know and then I’d ask my husband to empty them outside (what? It was cold!). It was simple and no one ever felt too put out — except for maybe my husband.

How do you handle the trash and recycling during parties?