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Get your kitchen ready for the holidays


According to the store displays, the holiday season—stretching from Thanksgiving to New Year’s—is already here. Thankfully though, you still have plenty of time before the frantic pace of all the chores that come with the festivities is knocking on your door.

While you have a bit of a lull, invest some time in proactive stress relief. Get your kitchen ready for the holidays so you’ll have everything organized, cleaned, and readily available.

Start with a hearty purge.

·       De-clutter your counters. Sort the papers, magazines, and mail. File the important pieces and toss or recycle the rest. Remove and stash the items that take up unnecessary space.

·       Go through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, and discard all items that are past their expiration date.

·       Check your dishes, glassware, and serving dishes for cracks, chips, and stains. Throw away the items that you’re not going to use, so you don’t find yourself serving your mother-in-law a plate that’s cracked.

·       Sort through all the drawers. Purge the utensils and gadgets you no longer use to reduce the clutter. Assess the condition of your linens. Clean out and organize your junk drawer(s).

Clean, sharpen, and polish.

·       Clean your oven, vent, and microwave.

·       Sharpen your knives and kitchen shears to make sure you can chop, mince, dice, and carve with efficiency.

·       Inspect those small appliances and cookware you rarely use, except during the holidays—like the electric carving knife, slow cooker, roasting pan, hot plate, mixer, hand blender, and food processor. Repair or replace as needed.

·       Polish the silver. Do it now, instead of the hour before your guests arrive.

·       Disinfect your trash cans.

Take inventory.

·       Make a list of the items you’re going to need—both to replace the things you threw away and to fill in the gaps. Maybe it’s time for a new coffee machine or you’re ready to replace your dishes. Doing this step early gives you time to shop for the pieces you want, and not feel rushed into making a hasty choice.

·       Think about the recipes you’re going to prepare and stock up on the ingredients you’re missing. Create a file on your smartphone to store the recipes so you have a shopping list in hand when you find yourself in the store.

·       Be prepared to store food and leftovers. Stock up on food wrap, bags, and containers, including “to go” boxes for guests. And don’t forget to have extra trash bags on hand.

Make improvements.

·       Fix any annoying problems you’ve put up with, like a drawer that doesn’t close correctly, a leaky faucet, or a loose cabinet hinge.

·       Now is the perfect time to make simple kitchen upgrades. Change the hardware on your kitchen cabinetry or replace the light fixtures. Add a new back splash—tile decals are a quick, attractive solution. These quick “refreshes” can make a big difference.

Take advantage of this pre-holiday calm period. You’ll thank yourself later.