Now that Halloween, the official kick-off to the holidays (at least according to retailers), has come and gone, it is time to prepare for entertaining. Whether you are hosting the big Turkey Day feast or smaller get-togethers, your kitchen will likely be the hub. To alleviate as much stress as possible, let’s get your entertainment central organized.
1. Make a Plan
Plan your menus early on to avoid last-minute consternation. Pull out your favorite recipes, or even check out Pinterest for something new. Be sure to do a practice run, if you are experimenting with untried concoctions. If your guests wish to bring side dishes, give them their assignments early. Speaking of guests, it is wise to inquire about allergies or special food restrictions in advance. Even if you are fortunate to have a double oven, create a timeline for Thanksgiving or other large spreads to allow for various cooking temperatures and times. Identify dishes that can be prepared ahead of time, as well. Also, think about making regular meals to freeze and eat when you are knee-deep in holiday meal preparation mode.
2. Clean, Scrub & Disinfect
Your guests, specifically those with a desire to help or who simply want to chat, will probably congregate in the kitchen, so you will want it clean. Put on those rubber gloves and get busy. Tackle the biggies: the oven, microwave, refrigerator, and even the dishwasher. During the fridge clean up, go through the contents to consolidate where possible, and check expiration dates. Scrub and disinfect the countertops, too. Wipe down the cupboard doors. Don’t forget to clean and disinfect the garbage can. Make sure you have plenty of trash bags on hand.
Maximize your workspace by removing any unnecessary items from your counters. Check your spice cupboard for duplicates and expired items. Remove extra dishes, mugs, summer use pieces, etc. that you probably won’t be using. Stow them away elsewhere to make more room. Gather similar goods: put all the cereals together, all canned foods, all baking ingredients, and the like in the same cupboards. Find a new temporary home for anything you probably won’t use. You can always retrieve it if you do need it.
4. Stock up
Shop early and stock up on things like wine, spirits, and baking supplies such as sugar, flour, and nuts. This also helps spread out the extra expenses of holiday entertaining. It is a good idea to have To Go containers on hand if you plan to send guests home with goodies or left-overs. Pick up inexpensive plastic containers at your local Dollar Tree or even start saving up Costco tubs with lids, Taleni ice cream jars with screw-on tops, and similar repurposed freebies. If you send guests home with your favorite Tupperware containers, there is a good chance you will never see them again (the Tupperware, not your guests).
5. Gather Special Items
Get a jump on holiday decorating and entertaining by pulling out your Auntie’s vintage holiday tablecloth or Grandma’s crystal serving platter. Check the condition of your special holiday treasures and launder or scrub as needed. Make certain you have all the unique items at the ready to showcase and serve your holiday fare beautifully.
Throughout the year and especially during the holiday season, being able to gather those you care about in your home to share your love through delicious meals in a source of joy, so relish it. Prepare early and savor every moment. You deserve it!
Remember, the helpful team of Professional Organizers at SolutionForYou can support you with any room in your home.
We are only an email or phone call away: anne [at] solutionsforyou [dot] com (503) 706-3502.