On Thanksgiving Day, the kitchen is the most important room in your house. The second most important room will be the dining room, where every will sit and eat. So it’s important to get your kitchen and dining room clean and ready for when your guests come over for Thanksgiving.
The key to staying stress-free during the holidays is to start early. Take each of these areas in small pieces and it won’t seem so overwhelming as the time gets closer. So let’s take a closer look at each area and get really specific. Once you break it all down, it won’t seem so impossible.
The idea is to tackle these areas one by one, a little bit at a time. If you get work during the week like I do, you can make the most of your weekends by tackling 2-3 areas a weekend. By starting early, you won’t have to cram in all the cleaning the day before everyone gets there.
The pantry is a great place to start. I am the kind of person that starts out neat and organized and then I get lazy. Take 15 minutes to take everything out of your pantry. Check all your expiration dates and try not to freak out at all the old dates you see. Get rid of what is past it’s Best By date. Then decide what needs to go back into the pantry. Don’t be afraid to move things out of the pantry if they don’t fit anymore. Keep similar items together and try to think of ease of use and reachability later on.
My counter tops always end up so cluttered. Remove everything that doesn’t belong. I like having a bucket nearby where I can toss everything that I don’t know what to do with. You don’t want to get bogged down with all the small details now. Toss them in a bucket and deal with them later. Once the clutter is gone, decide what stays and what goes. Most people would probably say they don’t have enough counter space. Not everything needs to be out all the time. I store my crockpot and my blender in other areas of my house for example.
Just like my pantry, my cabinets get a little crazy after a while. Take another 15-30 minutes to take things out and put them back where they belong. Feel free to purge items you don’t need anymore. Reorganize any items you need to. Think about getting cabinet shelves or hooks to make your pots and pans fit better.
Refrigerator and Freezer
Cleaning the refrigerator is one of my most hated chores. I start out by getting rid of anything old and moldy. Then purge any condiments you don’t need. I don’t know about you, but condiments seem to multiply on their own in my frig. Once everything is cleared out, I take everything else out, then wipe down the shelves, walls and drawers. Then I load everything back in and do the same process for the freezer.
The Kitchen Sink
Remove all the dishes (preferrably after you wash them) and wipe down the sink. Be sure to get all the nooks and crannies around the faucet where water and food loves to collect. Slice an orange, lemon or lime into quarters and run it through your disposal while running cold water. The citrus smell will make your kitchen smell wonderful. I like to do this anytime I am cutting up citrus. You can also use orange rinds after you eat the rest of the orange.
For something you might use every day to wash your dishes, your dishwasher can get dirty. First off, make sure there is no food debris in the bottom. Fill a dishwasher safe container with 1 cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run the dishwasher. You can also sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run it again on hot. Your dishwasher will be sparkling clean after you run these two cycles.
If you have holiday towels, now is the time to get them out. Wash them and get them hung and ready to show off. If you don’t have holiday specific towels, just make sure your towels are clean and neat (no stains) and ready for the holidays.
Table and Chairs
My dining chairs get surprisingly dirty will all the little hands touching them at dinner time. But it’s a part of the dining area that might go unnoticed when you are cleaning. Take a few minutes to wipe down the chairs seats, the backs, sides and legs. You might be surprised at how dirty they are. And this is where your guests will be spending the most time. So make sure they are spotless.
The floors might be something you want to wait on until closer to the actual holiday. Floors get dirty every day, with food debris and dirt. If they need a real good scrubbing, do that early. But be sure to give it a once over the day of the party.
Dinnerware and Glassware
Last but not least, check all your dishes, glassware and silverware. If you have special dishes, get them out and get them washed early. Check all your dishes and glasses for chips. Check all your wine glasses too. Even if all your glasses are clean, make sure there are no streaks or water marks. You can remove those easily by polishing with a clean dry cloth.
Have a happy and stress-free Thanksgiving dinner! Do you have any tips on getting your house ready? Let us know in the comments.