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Things will look a little different this year but one thing that remains constant is the need to prep your kitchen for whatever the holiday plans will be. Your plans may be as simple as family dinner, making holiday treats or hosting small outdoor dinner parties. Regardless, your kitchen may need a little attention, I know mine usually does. I use the time leading up to the holidays to give my kitchen a good cleaning as I prepare for the added groceries, holiday dishware and other items that somehow find their way into my kitchen.
Here are a few steps I take before the holiday season to make life a little easier:
Clean out your refrigerator. Take out everything and do a thorough cleaning. Check each condiment for expiration dates. I promise you'll be surprised by some of those dates if you haven't looked in a while. After throwing out that mustard with the 2019 expiration date it's time for a good cleaning. I like to use a mixture of Dawn with a little vinegar and lemon in a bowl of warm water. Depending on how long it's been since your last cleaning try Scotch Brite Heavy Duty or Medium Duty scrubbing sponge (if using the heavy duty be careful not to scratch the glass). If you have spills that are proving difficult to remove keep at them with hot water and an all-purpose rag. Tip: Using the hard side of the sponge will leave fibers on the stickier messes and cause a longer clean-up process.
Clean out the pantry. I use the same process on the pantry as I do the refrigerator. Take everything out, check for expiration dates, sort/re-organize then give it a good cleaning and put everything back in. Sorting and re-organizing is so important because it makes the shopping and cooking process so much easier. Later this week I'll be sharing my shopping tips so stay tuned, my process easily saves me an hour + in the grocery store.
Clean out the spice cabinet. Again, a similar process. You'd be surprised how many expired spices you own. Once you replace them you'll even notice the change in the flavor of your dishes. I take it a step further in the spice cabinet and replace my shelf liners. So once I've cleaned everything out, sorted through the expired spices and wiped down the surfaces I measure, cut and replace my shelf liners before I return and reorganize my spices.
If you have some extra time or just want to keep your mind off of the work you actually should be doing (I know it's not just me) consider organizing your remaining cabinets to make it easier to reach dinnerware, cookware, serving trays, etc.
You'll be surprised at how much time and money you save by prepping your kitchen for the holiday season. You'll cut back on double purchasing because you know exactly what you have in your fridge, pantry and cabinets. You'll save stress when you’re midway through a recipe frantically looking for the rubbed sage. You'll save time when preparing the table for dinner because everything will have a place.