It's Picnic Season: Tips for a thrifty picnic


We're so excited that the official start of summer is just around the corner. It’s tomorrow June 21! How will you celebrate? We hope to see some sun in our future. And, it's about time!

What better way to get outside, connect with family & friends, and enjoy the season than a picnic?

Your Volunteers of America Thrift Stores have all of your picnic needs, whether you're going to an outdoor movie, the zoo, a park or an afternoon at pool.

And, to have the most successful summer picnic ever, you'll need to make sure you have the essentials. And, my oh my, do we have you covered!

Are you ready?

The Essentials

  • Picnic Basket: A necessity. Be sure to snag one with a sturdy handle.
  • Cooler: For convenience, look for one with wheels and a handle.
  • Blanket: Grab a big soft blanket to lay on. Even better if one side is waterproof!
  • Plates: We like to use lightweight plastic plates that we scored at a great price from our favorite VOA Thrift Stores.
  • Cups: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade and pour it into cute cups.
  • Muffin tin: No more crying over spilled lemonade on your picnic blanket. This makes for the perfect drink or condiment holder when dining on the grass.
  • Silverware: Store silverware in a reusable container to keep them clean.
  • Mason jars: A great way to transport salads, dressings, coleslaw, salt and pepper, etc. Thrift stores are a great place to stock up on mason jars. They have such a variety!
  • Thermos: Keep ice cubes nice and cool all afternoon long.
  • Games: Activities can be easily forgotten, but can be a blast. Pack a deck of cards, board games, chalk, jump rope, Frisbee, softball, mitts, or bubbles.

Our Favorite Picnic Tips

We all know that a picnic, while fun, has the potential to go south. Here are some of our favorite picnic packing tips to make sure you have the best picnic possible.

  1. Nothing spoils a fun picnic like bugs. Keep them out of your tasty food with shower caps. They're inexpensive, light and easy to pack.
  2. Place your cups in your shoes or muffin tins to keep drinks from spilling.
  3. Keep your blanket from getting wet or dirty by sliding a shower curtain liner or tarp underneath.
  4. Pack your basket in reverse order so it's easy to unpack. Place nonperishable food on the bottom, serving items then your blanket on top.
  5. Use egg cartons to carry foods that could be easily damaged, like apples, deviled eggs, mini-cupcakes, or cake balls.

Our favorite place to picnic is a park and we're sure you have lots in your area. Check out your local city guide for the best parks in your area. Pick a great view. Hear the birds chirping. Smell the flowers. Feel the wind in your hair. Relax. It's as easy as that.

Food Essentials

Make sure you pack lots of food. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be a whole meal. Make it fun with light eats, snacks and desserts.

  • Sandwiches: You can get fancy or stick with a simple PB&J.
  • Fruit: Can you say watermelon slices?
  • Veggies: We're just trying to keep it healthy.
  • Meat & cheese plate: Throw some tasty olives and a baguette in too.
  • Chips & Dip: We suggest the healthy route with pita chips & hummus. But, you do you.
  • Dessert: Did someone say cookies and pie?!? Yes, please!
  • Don't forget your drinks: Your favorite beverage is essential. Stay hydrated.

All of these fun and helpful picnic items, besides the food of course, can be found for an affordable price at your nearest Volunteers of America thrift store.

Now it's time for you to get to your nearest thrift store and do some thrifting!