Thanksgiving was just the start. Now that December is here your kitchen is going to be called into heavier duty as all the demands placed on it in the run up to Christmas – and the big day itself – ramp up.
The biggest keys to a successful time in the kitchen this holiday season are organization and preparation. But these things do not have to be as complicated or time-consuming as you might imagine. Creating space and restoring order in your cabinets, drawers, pantry, and refrigerator is easier than you think.
Here are 10 easy tips to follow to create an efficient, clutter-free kitchen in time for all that holiday action.
1. Create space for extra dishes, more cooks and lots more dishes, by storing out-of-season items like patio dinnerware, picnic supplies and barbecue tools in a lidded bin on a closet shelf or in the garage. Just make sure that you mark these bins clearly, so that you do not lose track of stuff that you’ll need next year and end up re-buying things you already have.
2. Head to your refrigerator and start a de-cluttering project there. Throw away expired food items, wipe down all surfaces, and move the shelves in your refrigerator to make space for large dishes and platters. Make sure you do this before you start holiday food shopping so that everything you buy can be put away quickly and efficiently.
3. In the pantry after discarding out of date items there take inventory and make sure that you have all the basic ingredients you’ll need to create various holiday dishes and plan to purchase those you don’t.
4. Take inventory of your Tupperware collection. Throw away any containers that do not have accompanying lids and consider adding disposable containers to your shopping list, so that when you are handing out leftovers you won’t get upset over the fact that the containers you dish them out in never come back.
5. Store things where you logically make use of them i.e., mugs, coffee, filters, and sweeteners close to the coffee maker; olive oil, flours, and common spices near the stove. This will save you from dozens of repetitive questions from kitchen guests as the season progresses.
6. Use drawer dividers to separate flatware and serving pieces from cooking utensils. This may also be a good time to go through and discard any kitchen tools that have outlived their useful life, like that potato peeler that broke months ago but somehow still found its way back into the drawer.
7. Avoid the noise and inconvenience of pulling a cookie sheet out from under a pile of heavy bakeware by using a vertical pan holder to organize pans, trays, and cutting boards.
8. Tame the pile of plastic grocery bags under your kitchen sink by storing as many as can fit in an empty tissue box. Recycle the rest at your local grocery store.
9. Label shelves, drawers, and bins so that everyone who uses the kitchen can easily find things and put them back.
10. Keep your kitchen neat and guest ready by not using your countertops as storage space. If you have run out of space to store supplies and food in your drawers and cabinets, it’s time to purge. Be honest with yourself. If you haven’t used it in a while you won’t use it now, so it’s time for it to go.