Whether you’re enjoying warm weather on a blanket with a glass of wine or noshing at an outdoor concert, perfect picnic planning will make your life easier and is way more fun than a messy, thoughtless one. Who wants to plan a fun meal under the sun or stars and realize there is no way to open a drink or to clean up a spilled appetizer? Why go through the effort of packing a yummy meal only to not be able to slice your brie or have a means to dispose of your trash?
Life is better when you’re a little more prepared and being organized for a picnic is no exception.
My first recommendation for an organized and relaxing picnic is to designate a bag or basket for your basic picnic supplies. This can be large enough for your food to be packed in or just the extras that make it all easier. Include the following items and you’ll be prepared for most potential picnic problems:
- Corkscrew. Maybe I’m the only one that thinks a glass of wine makes a picnic better? I know not every picnic will involve imbibing but this is a necessity that’s good to have in your bag so you don’t even have to think about remembering it.
- Ice in zippy bags. This is a little old school as far as keeping food cool but I like that you have an emergency stash of cold water or ice cubes available. If you end up not needing the ice or water you can just empty it onsite and bring home the empty bags to use again.
- Damp paper towels in zippy bags. Messes happen and it’s nice to have a simple way to clean up. Take one of these out of the bag and you’ve got a quick hand washing towel or spill cleaner-upper.
- Cup towel, knife, & small cutting board. I remember picnics when I lived in France where we’d buy some bread at the boulangerie, cheese at the épicerie, and going to the park for an impromptu meal. But how to cut the brie or emmentaler without a proper knife (meaning not plastic)? Keep a small, inexpensive cutting board, knife and a cup towel or 2 in the picnic basket or bag and know that you’re prepared with a little hard surface or serving tray if the need arises.
- Extra plastic grocery bags. Leave a couple of these in your picnic bag for serving as trash bags or for covering food. You may not be close to a trash can so it’s nice to be able to provide your own temporary one.
- Sunscreen & Cap. In summer, the sun is out much later and you could be sitting in it a lot longer during an evening picnic. Leave a cap and a small bottle of sunscreen in your bag so that you can defend yourself against a nasty sunburn. A cap or hat also helps ward off sun in the eyes and face.
If you enjoy picnics and want to love them even more spontaneously, take 10 minutes to plan ahead. Put together a picnic tote with these essentials (except the ice!) and you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice.