Summer cookouts are a blast. Grilling some burgers and 'dogs, throwing the football around, enjoying an ice cold adult beverage or three - tons of fun, right? Well, they're fun unless you're the one doing all the work. Here are a couple of tips to make things easier the next time you host a cookout:

1. Use muffin tins for condiments - Instead of having a bunch of bottles out on the table, put your mayo, mustard, relish, jalapenos, BBQ sauce, whatever you are going to put on a burger or dog in a muffin tin.

2. Plastic laundry tubs - Plastic tubs are magic. Fill them with empty soda and beer cans for easy recycling. Line them with a dollar store plastic tablecloth and put beer in one and soda in another. You can even use one to hold bags of ice for drinks. The best thing is you can rinse them out after you've used them.

3. 5 gallon paint buckets - These can hold extra clothes, beach towels, toys, garbage bags for after-cookout cleanup, sunscreen, pretty much anything you need to haul to a park or someone else's house. At the end of the picnic, put all the dirty utensils and food containers in them so they are all in one place and not all over the trunk of your car.

4. Blue jean cloth - Jeans take a beating but look like new after you wash them. That's why a length of blue jean material is the thing to have at your next picnic. Buy a five or six foot length of jean material and spill stuff on it, throw it on the grass, use it as a tablecloth, put it in your trunk to protect it from spills, and then wash it and bring it back to life.

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