Preparing your home for the hustle and bustle is important if you’re planning on hosting guests this holiday season. Cooking meals throughout the year can wreak havoc on your kitchen. When the holidays roll around, a well-organized kitchen can help ensure you execute your entertaining efforts flawlessly. Organizing everything from your meal plan to your storage space can help you streamline your cooking projects. Here are 5 tips for how to get organized for the holidays.
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1. Plan (and Prep) Ahead
When you have a lot of cooking to do over the holidays, it helps to sit down and plan out your meals well in advance. Knowing how to organize for the holidays can help you experience a more efficient and enjoyable holiday cooking.
Take inventory of what you have in your pantry, and make a list of things you may need to re-stock. In addition to cooking and baking ingredients, make sure you have the non-perishable basics needed for prep and cleanup:
- Trash Bags
- Tin Foil
- Wax Paper
- Salt & Pepper
- Ziploc Bags
- Tupperware Storage Containers
- Dish Detergent
- Paper Towels
Consider planning meals that use similar ingredients so you can buy in bulk and use everything that you purchase. This allows you to prep some things ahead of time to help cut down your time in the kitchen and increase your time spent with loved ones.
Pro Tip: Simplify dinner time on busy days or when you’re burnt out from cooking by making family meals ahead of time and freezing them.
2. Organize with Baskets and Bins
Baskets and bins are great for organizing everything from your pantry to your fridge. Group similar items in baskets to make it quick and easy to find what you’re looking for. Use clear, plastic containers and bins in your refrigerator to prevent rummaging. Look for bins that have handles and can be pulled out when needed, just like drawers. In your pantry, choose decorative woven baskets with square sides to maximize your storage space, and labels to help you quickly find what you’re looking for.
Pro Tip: Streamline your cooking time by grouping the ingredients needed for each of your cooking projects in their own basket. When it comes time to hit the kitchen, there will be no need to search for each one – it’s all right there!
3. Maximize Your Storage
Kitchens are often short on storage space, so finding creative ways to make the most of what you’ve got is crucial, especially during the holidays. Ditch the boxes or bags and store dry goods in glass canisters to make for an attractive display on counters or open shelving. You can maximize space and make it easier to find what you need when preparing a meal by storing flat items such as baking sheets and cutting boards vertically.
Pro Tip: Use organizational inserts in your drawers to help give everything a place, grouping similar items together so you know just where to look for them.
4. Utilize Your Kitchen Island
Having a kitchen island can give you much more storage and prep space, perfect for hosting holiday festivities. Whether you blend your island with existing cabinetry or use a one-of-a-kind piece of antique furniture with a butcher block, the storage opportunities on your island are endless. Consider the flow of your kitchen and organize your island drawers accordingly. Are they best for pots and pans? Cooking supplies and equipment? Utensils and small appliances? No matter how you decide to organize your island, make sure it helps elevate and simplify your cooking experience.
Pro Tip: Before cooking begins, ensure that all the built-in appliances on your island are cleaned and ready to use and that they are all in working order.
Learn More: Kitchen Features Worth The Investment
5. Keep It Clean
No kitchen can maintain its organized appeal if it’s not kept clean, especially during a long day of meal prep and cooking. During the holidays, try to clean up messes and spills as soon as possible. Wash dishes as you go and empty the trash as often as you need to. Keep everything you’re not using put away until you need it so they don’t take up space or make your kitchen feel cluttered.
Pro Tip: Having a “trash bowl” or designated space to put things like potato peels, wrappers, and other discarded items can help streamline your cooking process, keep garbage in one area until you can throw it away, and make cleanup more efficient.
Learn More: Holiday Home Updates
Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or a large group, the thought of cooking and entertaining during a busy holiday season can be intimidating. Knowing how to organize for the holidays can help you prepare and maximize the space you have. Start prepping your meal plan and your kitchen space now so you’ll be ready when the guests arrive. Let the festivities begin!