Thanksgiving Leftovers Station

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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

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So, you all remember that little ol’ magazine we were in last month? You know….HGTV magazine? Umm, yeah, it was a really big deal for us. You can find us on page 92 of the October 2012 issue sharing a super practical idea that your guests for Thanksgiving are really going to appreciate!

Even though the photo they used was awesome, we didn’t get to style the products ourselves for the magazine, so we wanted to show you how WE would put together an awesome Thanksgiving leftovers station. One major advantage to hosting Thanksgiving dinner is that you end up with TONS of leftovers! One major disadvantage to not hosting, is NOT having any leftovers to make a turkey sandwich with! So, we came up with the idea of setting up a little leftovers station for thanksgiving guests – think of it as self-serve take out!
Here’s the idea… Before guests arrive have an area designated as the leftover station. You’ll need it to be in or near the kitchen, and have enough space for packaging containers and 1-2 food bowls at a time.
  How to Create a Leftovers Station:
Step 1- Gather fun containers to hold food for your guests. There are so many cute take-out boxes available at craft stores these days.  We plan to pop a plastic sandwich bag inside each one so we don’t have any messy leaks.
Step 2- Provide labels and markers. Your guest can put both their name and the contents of the container on labels. It drives us crazy when we order Chinese food and then have to open every container to find what we’re looking for. Labels are helpful and to be honest, we think they look so cute! We’re loving the mix of plain, functional and decorative labels.

Step 3- Have serving utensils available. Guest will be scooping all kinds of yummy leftovers, so just make sure you have utensils handy for them.

Step 4- Provide stuff for quick cleanup. Leftovers can get messy so make sure to have something on hand for easy clean up. We gave our roll of paper towels a fun look by suspending them from a basket using a tree branch. Now our guests can clean up in style!

STEP 5- Provide bags to hold each family’s leftovers.  Our plan is to let each family pack what they want and then put their containers into a bag, and we’ll keep them on a shelf in the garage where they can stay cold until guests leave. Inexpensive brown bags from the craft store work great look awesome when stenciled with fun messages.

I’m really excited to try out the leftover station and we;re hoping it’s one of those projects that our guests love AND one that makes the day even easier and stress free!

Will you be trying out a left over station this year? Have you ever done something similar for your guests?


The comments +

  1. Meghan says:

    Love this idea!

  2. Erin says:

    Genius! If I ever get to host I will be doing this!

  3. Corrie says:

    I really love this idea. I’m totally doing it this year! Thanks for the tips!

  4. Marnie says:

    Very smart and super cute.

  5. I did try out a less well-planned version of your leftover station. I had different sizes of glad/ziploc storage and freezer bags, dishes, labels, a sign above stating leftovers station. If you take one of my pyrex,etc. dishes, please label it as mine. If you leave a dish please label it as yours. Like I said not well planned out, but it worked pretty well. Thanks for the thought. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving. My daughter doesn’t live here, but came and cooked for us here and did a fabulous job and all 8 here agreed!

  6. […] it crystal clear that they can help, by creating stations that clue them in.  Back in 2012 our leftover station idea was featured in HGTV Mag and we still love it!  Basically, have bags, containers and labels all […]

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