Kitchen Organizing Tips for the Holidays
This year has gone by so quickly and I realized this week that Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are right around the corner. I’m currently in Israel where the average temperature during the day has been 80 degrees Fahrenheit (legitimately beach weather!). Although I can’t complain about the weather, I must admit that I do miss the feeling in NYC of the seasons changing. Everything pumpkin spice, sweater weather, crisp air, and holiday decorations. One of my favorite things during the holiday season are the many gatherings with family and friends. I enjoy helping prepare dishes for Thanksgiving, baking holiday pies and cakes, and of course hosting friends for the winter holidays. All these activities are tied to preparing food (and desserts!) in the kitchen. I thought that it would be helpful to provide some tips on how to declutter and organize your kitchen in preparation for the upcoming holidays! Here we go… 1) Remove anything that does not belong in the kitchen – The kitchen can be a catch all for everything - mail, purses, keys, kids’ homework, and more. Take anything that is not kitchen related out of the kitchen and put it in its appropriate place. 2) Clear the counters – Less is more! Keep the basics that you use daily on the counter (tea kettle, coffee maker, toaster, Vitamix, etc.). Make a section of things that you don’t really need out on the counter that you would like to put away once you declutter the rest of the kitchen. 3) Declutter & organize non-pantry items and get rid of any duplicates that you do not need –
Pull items out of the kitchen cabinets and drawers and group into categories by type (example of categories – dishes, pots and pans, mixing bowls, cutlery, utensils). Use the counter space and dining room table to stage items. If you don’t have enough room, start with 2-3 categories at a time.
Decide what you would like to keep, donate, and toss. Ask yourself do I really need/use this? Would I buy this today? Does it help me in the kitchen? Consider donating any duplicates you have and don’t need. Throw out items that are broken, chipped, rusted or that you don’t have a complete set (Tupperware that’s missing a bottom or top). Get rid of as many takeout items as you can (sauce packets, plastic utensils, chopsticks, etc.).
Wipe down the cabinets, shelves, and drawers.
Organize in a way that makes the most sense to you based on what you use the most. The general rule is what you use the most should be easy to access and things you use less often in harder to reach areas.
4) Declutter & organize pantry –
Pull everything out of the pantry and group into categories by type of food.
Check expiration dates and throw out what’s expired; donate any unopened items that you don’t plan on using.
Wipe down pantry shelves and drawers.
Take inventory of what you have before grocery shopping. I find that during the holidays I use special ingredients that I may already have and don’t need to rebuy.
Organize and put items that you use the most in easy to reach shelves while items you use less on the upper shelves and back areas. It’s important to try and keep everything together by type (if you don’t have enough room, make a shelf for duplicate items).
5) Organize and clean the refrigerator & freezer –
Take everything out of the refrigerator and group by category.
Check expiration dates and throw out anything that is expired or that looks uneatable.
Wipe down shelves, take out drawers and wash them. Wipe the outside and top of the refrigerator.
Organize food by type and put leftovers and items that will expire soon in the front.
Do the same thing with the freezer, most items may be keep, but at least you’ll have a better inventory of what you have.
6) Incorporate organizing products – Sometimes it is helpful to purchase organizing products like risers, pantry bins, drawer inserts, under the sink bins, and more. I would suggest doing this after you declutter the kitchen. You’ll have a better sense of what you have and what you need. Don’t forget to take measurements beforehand and in some cases, you may not need anything! I hope that you find these tips helpful while you’re preparing for your holiday meals. I’m excited to get back to NYC next month, until then, Happy Thanksgiving!