After hosting a successful event last night (our third annual Pumpkinfest) I was reminded of certain items that are valuable to have in storage to be used for events. If you're anything like every church I know you are limited on storage space but if you can find a shelf or two, here's what I would suggest putting on them...
1. Mason jars, these are great for serving drinks, filling with candy, using as centerpieces (we've filled with them with coffee beans before), use them as a vase, fill them with colored water or gels, you can use them to hold pens or collect donations. Hugely versatile, fairly hard wearing and pretty cheap.
2. Rope lights. Definitely not the cheapest thing to have in storage but they are often more affordable than Christmas lights (with individual bulbs), easier to store because they don't get tangled and give a great effect. For Pumpkinfest we used orange but you could buy white to up-light something or line a table with them or even snake them around food on a buffet.
3. Whether you run large events or small events, often or frequently you should consider putting together an "Event tub". Mine has staple guns (which go missing frequently), flashlights, zip ties, caution tape, rope, tape, duct tape, box cutter, glue, permanent markers. It doesn't need to have expensive stuff in it but just basic tools that are super valuable during set up. Try not to pull form this stash between events...you will be grateful you didn't during event set up!
4. Cash boxes. This is fairly obvious but they are expensive (for something that you rarely use) store them well, borrow them if you can.
5. Halogen work lights. Again not the most inexpensive item but worth the investment over time. We use them at evening check-in, to light up signs, to flood light areas and even to create a more intimate environment by pointing them at the ceiling or wall etc. We also use them for work projects on various mission trips. The one pictured is the type I use but you can buy the same set without the tripod which is much easier to store and more durable.
6. Flashlights. Depends on the events that you run but you can often pick up packs of mini LED flashlights like these cheaply at hardware stores (Home Depot often sells packs of 10 for around $15). They're great for leaders to use during a dance party or outside...and judging on the number that go "missing" at every event, they are probably a great volunteer appreciation gift too!!
7. Galvanized tubs. These are fairly inexpensive and you can fill them with ice for drinks, or put candles in them, use them as a drop point for info cards and even store event equipment in them.
8. Hurricane lanterns are pretty cheap (especially online) and with some tiki torch oil are a great addition to a check-in table. They give a little functional light but are perfect decor for many evening outdoor events.
9. Burlap. This is pretty inexpensive and really versatile for table decor especially used with Mason Jars.
10. Extension Cord. You can never have enough of these and multi-socket adapters. They aren't cheap but if you can keep a few long cords (50ft-100ft) stashed away it'll save you in the long run. Put one or two in your event equipment tub.
Any other "must haves" or items that you are pleased you kept and use frequently? I'd love to add to my storeroom!