In case you missed it, see Part 1 which covers intro, party theme and basics quick drill
Step 3: Organization
If you’re not a Type A Organizer, which I’m not (hence HA), this step in the planning process can be particularly painful. Here are a couple of free resources I’ve used in planning a baby or toddler birthday party :
- Pinterest. For any dudes reading this article, it’s not just a chick app. My husband, who’s the proud owner of dozen plus motorcycles, uses Pinterest. It’s a great way to organize your ideas and to do’s visually, plus it’s a handy source of inspiration (refer to Step 1).
- Tip: You can make your board private, so that if you have any guests that also follow you on Pinterest, you won’t reveal all your birthday party plans.
- Google Drive or Evernote. This is where I keep track of what I need to buy, from where, my menus, my timeline. These two apps in particular are great because you can easily access your notes on the go. For instance, you happen to be near a party store but can’t remember all that you need...voila! you have your list.
Step 4: Execution and Checklist
The most important part of the execution phase is your timeline. If you’ve overly slacked on the above steps, having a solid checklist can keep party planning on track.
So about a week from the party date, create a timeline of what needs to be done and by when. I just do this in Evernote or Google Drive. An even more organized approach is to schedule task completion dates in your calendar.
A party checklist could look something like this:
Four days before
Get remaining groceries
Three days before
Assemble birthday party favors and party hats
Clean the house
Make salad w/o dressing, ice tea, cake
Charge camera battery
Hang decorations (night before)
Make signage (for recycling, trash, composting, whatever else)
Prep cocktail mix
Put helium in balloons
Make pasta, salad dressing, and banana bread
Something that will save your sanity is delegation. Don’t be shy about delegating, either with the prep leading up to the party, or on the day of. It sucks to be running around and not enjoying the all that’s happening or forgetting to take pictures.
Other random execution tips:
- Figure out what clothes you and your child will wear before the party date, and don’t dress until the last minute to prevent the birthday threads from getting dirty.
- If you write thank you notes, (thank you, Southern upbringing), don’t forget to have someone log who gave what.
- Shop the dollar store or Daiso for party decor and favors. I also make sure to check out Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. I’ve found PaperLove party fans at TJ Maxx on clearance. Target also usually has a nice selection of budget-friendly decor.
- If you’re on the West Coast, in Idaho, Pennsylvania or Nevada, Grocery Outlet is a great place for fancy cheeses, organic food and snacks, beer and wine. They also usually have premium ice cream, including organic brands usually sold at Whole Foods, for way cheaper.
- Buy Nothing Group on Facebook. The board is a good budget-friendly option for things you may need to borrow for a kid's birthday party, but don’t want to buy, like folding tables or extra chairs. Scoring party decor and other party items is also possible. If your neighborhood has a Buy Nothing group, it’s definitely worth checking out!
If you have any birthday party planning ideas to share please let me know!