A Holiday-Ready Kitchen

Are you ready for the holidays? What about the kitchen? A well-planned, organized and attractive kitchen will impress guests and ease the burden of entertaining. Clean cabinets, clutter-free counters and a tidy pantry keep spirits bright. If your kitchen says ‘culinary chaos’, now is the time to organize! Prep your kitchen for the holidays using our list of tips and tricks. No reason to get your tinsel in a tangle.

Dishes, Plates, Pots & Pans

Julia Child.

If you have serving dishes that deserved to be displayed, install a plate rack in the kitchen or dining room. This is a great way to show off favorite pieces or family heirlooms and free up cabinet space. Are your pots and pans the problem? Invest in a pot rack. These racks can be hung over an island, cooktop or kitchen sink, keeping your pots and pans at your fingertips. Or try a pegboard, à la Julia Child. For the lids, use a door rack hung inside the pantry door or a dish rack inside a cupboard. A flat bottom rack allows you to store the lids vertically in each slot.

Utensil Utopia

Drawer organization is one easy, inexpensive way to get the kitchen chaos under control. Segmented drawer organizers keep each utensil, piece of flatware and spice bottle in its proper place. This makes it much easier to find what you’re looking for without rummaging through a pile of miscellaneous mayhem. While organizing your utensils, swap out the old drawer liners with new. Are you unhappy with the limited liner options? Wallpaper, oil cloth or heavy-duty craft paper are excellent alternatives with a wider selection.

Pegboard. Image c/o Better Homes & Gardens.

Think Vertically-or Horizontal

Keep those cookie sheets and cutting boards organized and accessible with vertical dividers. These are designed to utilize most cabinet sizes (roomy and wide to just a few inches). You can purchase dividers at most home-good stores or have permanent dividers professionally installed. Small tension rods can also keep sheets and boards organized.  If you’ve got deep drawers, install peg dividers and customize them for dish storage. Your plates and bowls will stay stacked neatly and safely for easy access. Bonus points if the dish drawer is next to the dishwasher. Emptying the dishwasher has never been easier!

Cluttered Counters

Take stock of everything you keep on the kitchen counters. If you don’t need it for holiday entertaining and its not used on a daily basis, relocate the item to another room till the New Year. Utensil crocks may be handy when cooking but they can take up valuable space. That deep drawer next to the oven is the answer: set the utensil crock inside. This keeps items in reach but out of sight. Another culprit to littered countertops? Mail, receipts, user manuals, spare chargers, extra keys. These piles of miscellaneous items tend to keep getting bigger and bigger. Create a designated ‘drop zone’ that’s not in the kitchen.

Dream Kitchen. Previous Circa Real Estate listing, image c/o of Circa Real Estate.

Wasted Space

To maximize available storage, take advantage of dead space. For example, the space above your refrigerator is a great place to add full-depth cabinets. You might need a chair to reach the things in the back, but that’s the perfect spot for rarely-used specialty appliances or items purchased in bulk. Want a more cost effective alternative? Keep supplies neatly tucked in decorative baskets and store on top of the fridge. We also suggest utilizing the back of cabinet doors by installing simple racks. Pinterest, Martha Stewart and Apartment Therapy are great sources for space-saving inspiration.

Ready for leftovers! Image c/o Bryan Gardner, via Martha Stewart.

Clean House

Pre-holiday is the best time to clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Leftovers go hand-in-hand with the holidays, so make room! Go through all the contents and toss out whats expired (or soon to be expired), throw away old leftovers and get rid of any questionable products that have taken up residency in your fridge. Take advantage of the empty appliance and wipe down the shelves and doors. Remove the produce and deli meat drawers, fill with hot water and let them soak. While you’re on a purging kick, do the same with the spice rack. These are great projects to tackle after you’ve picked out holiday recipes. Compare your grocery list to the fridge/freeze contents and adjust accordingly.

Two Weeks till Turkey Day

The clocking is ticking and Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Avoid the holiday blues and tackle this project as soon as possible. Whether you’re hosting out of town guest, throwing a holiday party or just want to enjoy a less chaotic cooking experience, a kitchen overhaul deserves to be the next project on your to-do list.