Start Your New Year Off Right by Updating Your Entertaining Arsenal—Here's How

Prepare for a year of parties before you put them into motion.

festive gold new years tablescape
Photo: CaliforniaCandid / Getty Images

If you've ever hosted loved ones during the holidays, you know how much thought and care goes into preparing your home ahead of their arrival. Decorating your space, adding candles and votives for ambience, polishing your silverware, and stocking bathrooms and bedrooms with necessary items are likely a few things on your to-do list. However, when the holiday season is over, it's important to dedicate the same amount of time to repackaging and restocking your hosting essentials. When the next celebration (a birthday, an impromptu engagement party, yet another holiday) rolls around, you will be ready to go—and you won't need to spend time looking for a missing set of utensils or replacing wine-stained linens. Understanding exactly what to check post-holidays is a great place to start, which is why we tapped several experts; ahead, they note how to refresh your entertainment arsenal in the new year to keep your collection in tip-top shape.

Take inventory of broken items.

With crowds gathering inside your home, accidents are bound to happen—a glass of wine gets knocked to the ground, a plate gets chipped on its way back to the kitchen. January is a great time to take stock of and replace any pieces that were damaged during the holidays. "Entertaining can take a toll on your arsenal of supplies," says Anthony Navarro, the creative director at Liven It Up Events. "Once the festivities are completed, you should take an inventory of items that may have been broken or that need to be replaced." Beyond glassware, Navarro says to also check your flatware, as it tends to accidentally get tossed into the trash.

Polish cutlery, glassware, and platters.

Serving pieces get a lot of love during the holiday season, especially if you're someone who enjoys hosting. Once the hustle and bustle die down, give your tabletop essentials a deep clean and polish before storing them away. Navarro says most stemmed glassware will need to be polished whether it was hand-washed or cleaned in the dishwasher. "Taking a clean, black poly-cotton napkin to wipe the water spots off tends to do the trick," he explains. Once the items are restored to their former glory, Kristine Cooke, an event planner and designer at Simply Charming Socials, says to store your collection in padded containers. "Most importantly, keep an inventory of everything you have and label any boxes for easy recognition year after year," she says.

Restock disposable items.

If any items in your entertainment arsenal are disposable—think cocktail napkins or plastic flatware—now is the time to replenish your supply. "There are a few items that I know that I need to restock after the holiday season," Navarro explains. "I keep a stockpile of elegant disposable products, including plates, flatware, and napkins." He says these items are great for serving dessert, or to keep at grazing tables, bar carts, and food stations. "It's easy for someone to grab, wipe, and dispose of," Navarro notes. "After an entertaining frenzy, these almost always have to be restocked."

Check candles and lights.

Festive decorations such as candles, votives, and Christmas lights are all ways to make your house feel extra special around the holiday season. However, even our favorite pieces of home décor dwindle over time—candles burn down to a nub and lights stop working. Cooke says it's important to make sure everything is in proper working order before storing it. Any over-used or broken items should be thrown out, so you're not holding onto anything that's damaged for next year. The event planner notes that candles are essential to entertaining, so be sure to restock on your favorite colors and scents before they are discontinued ahead of spring.

Replace missing items.

It's not uncommon to send guests home with a dish of leftovers or wine tote filled with extra beverages. If any of these items don't make their way back to your house, restock them before next year while the thought is fresh on your mind. According to Cooke, items that family and friends commonly run off with by accident include baking dishes, reusable shopping bags, bottle openers, and phone chargers. "Finally, in the hustle and bustle, extension cords, extra light bulbs, wreath hangers, scissors, and Scotch tape tend to go missing or get used up quickly, so keep extras on hand," she says.

Assess your linens.

Cloth linens are a great way to upgrade your tablescape, but they require more care and attention than disposable ones. After the holiday season, make sure your linens are freshly laundered and ironed before storing them away in a temperature-controlled and moisture-free space. If you have any pesky stains that can't be removed, consider purchasing more in the new year. Joe Moller, the owner of Joe Moller Events says he prefers using a dark linen-blend napkin because it "hides stains, doesn't pill on dark clothes, and can create a nice contrast against a white plate setting."

Consider adding to your collection.

Cooke loves adding to her entertaining arsenal in the new year. "Preserved boxwood wreaths, great ribbon and favorite gift wrap, good sets of string lights, eye-catching ornaments, and a festive platter can always be added post-holiday," she explains. The event planner notes to stay away from anything super trendy that may not be in style come next season. Experts also recommend taking advantage of post-holiday sales when adding to your collection. Cooke says to document and store new items with your current holiday stash, so you don't forget about new purchases when it's time to break everything out again.

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