Tailgating is an integral part of any summertime activity, and when it comes to sports, it's something that can be done most of the year. From backyard tailgating parties to throwback, open-the-trunk, bring-a-cooler tailgating, we've got the hacks that you need. No one enjoys picking garbage bags full of ants off the ground or misplacing the paper towels, but for those who don't care about these things, well... this is not the article for you.

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There's no bigger a bummer than getting to a sports stadium and realizing that our drinks have leaked all over the cooler, or that the food has gotten squashed due to our poor packing skills. Because let's be honest, when there's a baseball or football game to be watched, it's not very often that smart packing is the first thing on anyone's minds. Therefore, here's how you can tailgate smartly without necessarily committing all of that time to ensure drinks are upright, food is separated, and the paper towels are, well... somewhere within the vicinity of the car.

A Garden Flag Pole Or Bunge Cord For Paper Towels

If you're tailgating in the backyard or somewhere there's grass (or dirt, at the very least) then a garden flag pole is exactly what you need. Rather than sliding a flag onto the arm of the pole, slide on a roll of paper towels! It's practical and basically hands-free in the sense that no one even needs to touch the roll. If that won't work, then simply slip a bungee cord through the cardboard paper towel roll and clip both ends to the inside of a canopy or literally anything else that's within everyone's line of sight.

Use The Mason Jars

We all have them and while it's likely that we never use them, tailgating is the perfect opportunity to break them out. Rather than making a giant container or pitcher of drinks, portion them off into mason jars and then pack the mason jars on ice. They're mess-free, easy to grab, and won't come with the risk of spilling or leaking as a pitcher would. Plus, it's a single-serving so everyone is sure to have something to drink.

Bring A Portable Canopy

Traditionally, tailgating is pretty primitive in the sense that you literally open the tailgate and go to town. Nowadays, you can get a canopy for super cheap, and it's a great thing to bring everywhere - including beaches, backyards, and parks. If you're attending an event hours before it starts, a canopy is a must to keep the sun out as well as any potential rain if that's in the forecast.

Closet Organizers Can Organize Literally Everything

If you do have a canopy, it will usually have cross-hatched bars that allow it to expand and run the entire inside of the canopy, over which the cloth roof goes. It's these cross-hatched bars that will allow you to hang things such as the paper towel bungee cord and even a small closet organizer. In this, you can put sunscreen, bug spray, utensils, napkins, condiments, straws, and anything else that might get lost or blown away.

Desktop Drawers Are Great For Condiments

If you don't have a canopy, don't worry. The plastic desktop organizers that come from the dollar store will do a perfectly great job of holding smaller items. This is a great place to put sauce packets, extra napkins, utensils, and even plates if they're small enough.

Mesh Laundry Baskets Make For Great Garbages

It's a pain having to walk all the way to the garbage at the end of the parking lot, especially when it starts getting full from everyone else's tailgating. To eliminate this problem, consider getting some mesh laundry baskets and putting garbage bags in them. That way, when it's time to pack up, all you need to do is pull the bag out, dispose of it, and fold up the laundry basket, which takes up minimal space.

Forget The Tablecloth

Plastic tablecloths never stay on the table thanks to the wind that always comes out of nowhere. They also rip super easily which often defeats the purpose of even having one at all. So, rather than dealing with either of these problems, consider using a fitted sheet (clean or new and cheap, of course) so that it stays firmly on the table and won't go anywhere. Plus, it's easy to clean.

Empty Bins Make Great Bussing Tubs

Inevitably, you'll have leftover dishes such as serving bowls and plates, and they have to go somewhere. Many people try shoving them all in the cooler they came with which often ends up messy and, most of the time, doesn't even have enough room. Bring an extra empty plastic bin to store plates in so when you get home, all you need to do is load the dishwasher.

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