Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness, caring, and reflection. It’s also the day that puts the highest demand on your home’s dining room and kitchen. To make sure that your home can keep up with the busy Thanksgiving gathering this year it’s crucial to have a plan that keeps your kitchen clean, organized, and cool no matter how many distant relatives come calling.

Give Thanks for: Your Clean Kitchen

When you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, the pressure’s on for your culinary skills but ignoring all the cleaning that needs to be done until the meal’s over leaves you with hours of work when all you’ll want to do is relax. Instead, make your kitchen cleaning an active part of your cooking routine and keep the post-game cleanup for someone who didn’t spend all day standing over a stove top.

  • Clean up any small messes as they happen. This prevents them from becoming ground-in, caked-on, and even dangerous as you keep cooking.
  • Keep the trash and recycling close. Even if space is limited (it will be) having a recycling bin, a trash barrel, or even a garbage bowl handy keeps you honest and keeps trash in one, dedicated place.
  • Soak all dishes, pans, and utensils as soon as they’re emptied. If you haven’t gotten around to having that second kitchen sink installed yet, this will make sure that your dish washing responsibilities are spread out throughout the day instead of all coming at once.
  • Aluminum foil is your friend. Wrap as many of your oven-bound dishes in foil as possible to retain heat and save you from needing to clean another pan.
  • Bring in the helpers. Even in a small kitchen, the benefit of having your kids handle dishes and trash while you finish your last cooking demands outweighs the space restrictions this may place on your final touches. Particularly if you set up a schedule that they pop in every hour or so and then get back to the fun in the living room.

Give Thanks for: Your Organized Kitchen

An organized kitchen not only will look better this Thanksgiving, it’ll also be easier and more pleasant to spend time cooking in. Don’t waste time and add stress to your holiday celebrations looking for space on the counter or searching for missing ingredients instead do as much of your Thanksgiving-prep in the days leading up to the actual event to keep your space organized and your last minute cooking easy.

  • Empty all cabinets and drawers and start fresh. Anything that’s taking up valuable space without good reason should be moved, if only for the holiday season. Be sure to get rid of all your expired food and drinks at the same time. This alone will free up space.
  • Pre-make as many dishes as possible in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and reheat in the microwave or oven to save time and effort on the big day. This is especially helpful for side dishes and for dessert options.
  • Think vertically. Your counters are going to be packed with all your prep work so find create ways to store all the things that you may need but probably don’t need right now. Small, out of the way places can be invaluable when space is in high demand.
  • Empty the sink and dishwasher as soon as the load is clean to prevent any small items from going missing. This will also keep your dishwashing station free for new loads throughout the day.
  • Keep all your cabinets, pantries, and your fridge organized and clearly understandable. Consider installing labelled dividers or using transparent containers to keep your cooking as efficient and organized as possible.

Give Thanks for: Your Cool Kitchen

If you can’t stand the heat, cool down the kitchen. Your kitchen is going to be buzzing with activity in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and with all the cooking you’ll be doing, it’s going to get pretty hot, pretty quick. Finding quick, dependable ways of cooling your kitchen will make the entire process easier and more enjoyable. Instead of sweating your way through another holiday season consider some of these easy cooling ideas to stay comfortable this year!

  • Keep air circulating. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a ceiling fan installed, you’re relying on a table or floor fan, or you’re simply leaving a window or two open while you cook, moving air is always going to be more refreshing than hot, stagnant air.
  • Once you close the oven door keep it closed. According to the Department of Energy, every time the oven is opened to check on the progress of your turkey the temperature inside can drop by up to 25 degrees meaning that your kitchen gets hotter while your food gets colder.
  • Allow hot food to cool at room temperature before you put it in the fridge for storage. If food is too hot when it’s put in it can actually heat up the interior of the fridge, requiring colder temperatures in the refrigerator. The colder your refrigerator the hotter the space around it.
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