A problem I’ve encountered at my larger events is what to do with people’s belongings when they arrive. The simple answer, is of course a coat check, meaning an area where folks can hang up their coats, store their bags, and basically know that the items will be safe and sound when they need them. Usually, if you go to a restaurant or hotel, they offer this service. You hand the staff person your belongings, and they hand you a numbered ticket. Now this is all well and good for most adults (unless you lose things like me!) and those with pockets, but if you are a teen in a cute little dress, you probably don’t have anywhere to store a ticket. Since young adults and kids are my primary focus, I’m always looking for ways to simplify these types of situations, and so I offer up a few simple solutions for easier coat check.

Sophie's assistant Kendall checks coats at sophie's world

#1. Make sure you have a reliable person that mans the station all night. People are entrusting this person with their property -- it’s a serious job.

#2. Make sure that the coat check area is well situated with enough hangers, shelf or floor space, and staff to accommodate the number of guests you have.

Handwritten coat check tags form sophie's world

#3. Instead of giving out number cards, print up strips of cardstock with your event title. Cut out the strips and place an oversized hole punch at one end. As guests arrive, have them write their first name and last initial on the tag. Place the item on the hanger and the tag over the neck of the hanger.

Even shoes should be checked|sophie-world.com

#4. For bags, backpacks, shoes (yes, shoes!), and larger bulkier items, use binder clips or clothespins to attach the name tag to the item.

small containers can be used to check cell phones|sophie-world.com

#5. For cell phones (I know this seems crazy, but there are a lot of teens that just arrive with a cell phone and nothing else) create a cell phone drop-off. Get a bunch of same sized plastic bins (like you use to store leftovers) or little plastic baskets (we get these at the Dollar Tree). Write the person’s name in permanent marker on the side of the container lip (you will have to write small) or place a piece of tape or a label on the side with their name. You can then stack multiple cell phones on top of each other without fear of confusion or damage.

#6. If you have the space, cubbies are an excellent way of storing things during an event. Just assign each person their own cubby. Place the name tag hanging down from the top of the cubby so it’s clearly marked. I found this amazing cubby system made out of 12 x 12 wire panels that snaps together. It’s perfect because you can configure the cubbies any way you like.


Once the initial rush of arrival is over, your coat check person can arrange all the items alphabetically, which saves time at the end when the guests return for their items.

Now, if you are super-worried about the items, you can also create a checklist to match the items. This way, individuals actually sign their items in and out... but truth be told, that’s never been an issue with a private party before.

The best part about this system is at the end of the evening, when you get that inevitable sweater or sports jacket that’s been left behind, you’ll know who it belongs to. Jacket delivery, anyone?