Any experienced tailgater will tell you: it’s lots of fun and lots of work. Setting up, getting food out, remembering to bring everything, laying everything out in a small space, cleaning up, packing up…there’s a lot to do and a lot of little things that can get in the way of your fun. Use these tips and tricks to cut back on the time, stress and hassle and start tailgating like a pro.

1. Make a hand washing station by filling an old laundry soap dispenser (the big kind!) with water and tie a bar of soap inside pantyhose to the handle – this will keep your soap from getting lost.


2. Serve chips and dip or other appetizers in small plastic cups so people can carry them around, socialize and play games while they snack.

(Image: The Girl Who Ate Everything)

3. Use a cardboard six-pack case to hold your condiments. You got a space for your ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise hot sauce, relish, BBQ sauce…oh yeah, and you get to drink the beer before you use the case.

(Image: Todd Brock)

4. Line your charcoal grill with foil for easy cleanup.

(Image: Reynolds Kitchens)

5. Freeze bottled water to put in your drink cooler instead of ice. They keep things cold, and as they melt, you have more drinks!


6Get a big, semi-ridiculous balloon and tie it to the top of your car when you’re setting up so that your friends can find you in the crowd.

(Image: American Family Day)

7. A paper cupcake liner flipped upside down over a cup will keep bugs out while you aren’t watching it. Punch a straw through the liner to keep drinking.


8. Windy day and no place to stake in your tent? Tie your tent posts to old milk jugs filled with water or sand to keep from blowing away.


(Image: Art Fire)

9. Put plastic utensils and a loose roll of napkins on the table in cups or recycled soup cans to keep everything easily accessible and on the table. No more digging around in the box for the last fork or watching you napkins blow away.


(Image: Multicultural Kid Blogs)

10. Pick up a toolbox to keep your grilling and serving utensils in. The side compartments can hold all those cleanup accessories like sponges, wet-wipes and trash bags



11. Clip some wooden clothespins to the corners of your tablecloth to hold it down. This is fun because you can use markers to decorate the pins in your team colors!


(Image: One Ash Homestead)

12. Get some big plastic bins and label them clearly to easily store and carry around your outdoor games, dirty dishes and all those other extras rolling around. (Image:



13. Put some water and rock salt (the kind used to make ice cream) into your cooler full of ice. Salt will lower the freezing temperature, which means all your drinks will get super cold super fast!


(Image: Walmart)

14. A clear shoe organizer is the perfect way to store cups, cozies, plastic ware, and all those little things that clutter up a table. Put each item in a shoe space and hang it from your tent or your car for easy access. The best part is, come cleanup time, it just rolls up with everything in it and you can pull it out next go-round.


(Image: Sidnee Shares)

15. Forgot the bottle opener? A simple solution is to open your car door and use the latch to pop off your bottle tops.


Well, there you have it: the tips you need to reduce your tailgate stress and start enjoying your gameday more!