These holiday kitchen cleaning tips can help you give yourself an early present this season by getting your kitchen clean, organized, and fully functional before the holidays are in full crazy swing.
After all, when you’ve got four pots on the stove, a turkey in the oven, a ham in the microwave and 18 hungry people in the living room – you’ll be glad you were prepared for the onslaught.
First, get rid of everything you are not going to use this holiday season. To be organized and sane, you need space and lots of it! Open up your cupboards, cabinets, drawers, pantry, refrigerator and freezer and take everything out.
Clean the empty areas and then - now this is the trick - put back only what you are going to use over the next two months. A clean kitchen will make it easier for you to know what you have, what you need, and to shave time off holiday meal preparation.
Pack up the rest of the non-essential and stick them in the garage. Toss out any ancient foods from the fridge and freezer.
Use this occasion to rethink your kitchen organization. Which cupboard is really best for the glasses? Which counter is more convenient for the coffeemaker? What drawer should the corkscrew be in?
A lot of the time, we tend to leave things where we first put them, even if that spot turns out to be inconvenient.
Why? Because once you move the glasses to the cup cabinet, you now have to find a new home for the cups, which displaces another item. It's a round robin effect. So take advantage of this opportunity and develop a kitchen plan.
Mentally divide your kitchen into activity areas so you and your family won't be falling all over each other as you try to work. Here are some ideas:
Have the following food in your pantry and/or refrigerator for on-the-spot entertaining.
Plan your main holiday meals now. Check what ingredients you have on hand; put the rest on a shopping list.
Find your holiday recipes and put them in one binder in your kitchen. Find serving dishes for each entree and make sure they are clean and ready to roll.
If you're planning a party or a dinner party, carefully schedule the food preparation. What time do you plan to eat?
Then when should the turkey go in the oven? When should the shrimp be sautéed? Make a schedule for the evening, listing all the preparations you need to do at the time you need to do them.
That way, the shrimp will be cooked on time and you won't find a forgotten tray of appetizers on top of the fridge after the last guest leaves.
When 20 people are in your kitchen chatting and asking questions while you're trying to put a five-course dinner together, that checklist could be a sanity saver.