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Is it ok to keep items just for entertaining?

Hello Frugal Girl,

I was curious for your insight. My family is going through a move to a house in a better area for us. During the process of packing up and assembling our belongings, I was frankly shocked when I realized how much of the stuff we own is for guests, holidays, and entertaining.

This includes things like guest linens, folding chairs, serving platters and dishes (oh so many serving dishes), glassware, large pots, etc. We do occasionally entertain and certainly value making memories by gathering with those we love.

baby shower food table

At those times, we certainly do make use of these things, but it is only a few times a year. With this in mind, I couldn’t help but think about the amount of money and resources that had gone into making, shipping, buying, and storing these supplies. It seemed like we had things that everyone else had and that seem to be “expected” for big dinners and gatherings.

But, looking at it all together, it just felt like so much stuff. Certainly most of the world cannot live like this and have so many things. It got me wondering how to get by with less? Would we have been smarter to have just met those we love at restaurants and foregone entertaining at home? Or asked guests to stay at hotels instead of investing in beds and linens for guests to use a few times a year?

I love your motto that what is enough stuff for any family is measured by what gets used, but what about things like this that don’t get used often, but may get used for memorable holidays and gatherings? What is the right amount, if any? What is too much? (And just since it seems really obvious, we definitely borrow and ask family to bring things like dishes and chairs when it makes sense…and yet, still so much stuff.)

Thank you,


Your question seemed like an appropriate one to answer in December, given that it’s a month where people typically host guests for meals and overnight.

I do think that the whole, “Will I use this item regularly and enjoy it thoroughly?” thought is a really good way to figure out what’s essential and what’s clutter, and it’s a helpful way to avoid owning too much of any one thing.

FG Christmas tree

But there definitely are exceptions because some occasions don’t happen super regularly (like holidays!).

I certainly own several boxes full of items that we only use in December, for example. 😉

From your letter, it sounds like hosting people for dinners and housing them overnight is important to you and your family and it seems like you do this more than once a year.   Given that, I don’t think you should feel guilty about owning things that make entertaining and hosting possible.

baby shower spread

If you didn’t have room to store these items, it would be one thing, but since it sounds like you live in homes with space for overnight guests, I’m guessing that you have storage space too.

And since you already own the items, I see no harm in keeping them.   If you were writing me asking if you should go out and buy entertaining items, we could chat about ways to minimize what you need to buy, but you’ve already purchased things you love and use. I say keep ’em!

I definitely do not think sending family members to hotels or meeting up only at restaurants is a better option, especially if that’s not what you want. And besides, that costs a lot of money too (probably more than entertaining supplies, if you add up the costs over the years).

You could certainly get rid of items that don’t seem to be getting much use when you host, but I’d keep whatever you consistently find useful as you welcome loved ones to your home. And don’t feel guiltry about that.

I love that you open your home to people, and I hope you make fun memories with your guests this month!


Readers, I’m sure Kasey would love to hear your thoughts as well. How do you decide how much to purchase and keep for entertaining/overnight guests?

P.S. The Very Merry Gift Certificate bundle ends today.   You can read my thoughts about it here, or click below to get your bundle.



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kim domingue

Wednesday 7th of December 2016

If you enjoy having get-togethers in your home and enjoy having overnight guests, if you enjoy setting a pretty table or buffet and if you like to treat guests to lovely linens and towels, if you already have these items and have a place to store them and they're not in the way.....well, why get rid of them?

I use some of my items only two or three times a year but I've been using them for a couple of decades now so I think they've earned their keep, lol! I have a dining table that can expand to fit up to a dozen people and contract to suit the 2 to 6 of us that are normally here. We have a harvest table that lives in our foyer that can be moved if we need more table room and a smaller folding table that takes up a minimal amount of space and serves as a desk or work surface in various areas of the house. Between the daughter and a cousin and I, we have about 16 folding chairs that we share between us. We share crock pots and large pans and special serving pieces and linens. We're also not shy about using paper plates and such for BBQs and outdoor events. Sharing stuff between three households keeps everyone from having to have a huge amount of stuff stored in their home.

If it makes you happy to have these things and use them..... keep them and enjoy!


Wednesday 7th of December 2016

the consensus seems to be if you already have it and love using it KEEP it. But I caution that if you are renting a storage unit to keep your stuff consider the storage cost. When I was an apartment dweller I rented a unit. After a while I realized that I could replace the stuff for less than I was paying to store it.


Wednesday 7th of December 2016

We recently had the max number of people over that we host/entertain at one time. Everything we didn't use this time is going!


Tuesday 6th of December 2016

My husband and I rent our place and have moved frequently over the years, so we don't have any of that stuff. Last Thanksgiving, we hosted, and people were more than happy to lend us items like a roaster pan, table cloth, extra dishes, etc. Since you already have the items and seem to use them regularly, also consider lending them to folks as needed. That saves your friends and family money, and then you feel like your items aren't being underutilized.


Tuesday 6th of December 2016

We downsized twice in 3 years and I had TONS of serving ware from times when we entertained more than we do now, but I still do host pot lucks and patio parties fairly often for friends and family. When we were reducing out "stuff" I simply kept what I LOVED THE MOST and really used a lot.I also use many of my serving dishes for "just us" during the year. I had a bunch of glass serving dishes people had given me as gifts over the year, and I rarely used them--I prefer colorful crockery and pottery pieces, so those went to Goodwill. I suppose eBay would be even better! But do keep what you love and keep enjoying those guests!


Tuesday 6th of December 2016

That's a good point. I use serving dishes for daily use as well, just not the big stuff. It means more dishwashing, though, compared to putting the cooking put or storage container on the table. Pros and cons either way.

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