The end of the year is approaching. With such a dramatic weather event to end this October, it
is hard to get in gear for the winter holidays that are just around the corner. Inevitably they will come and planning ahead will make the tasks much easier. Here are several reminders plus strategies for getting your kitchen ready for the holidays.
To begin the kitchen organizing, spend some time going through the kitchen equipment. Now is a
good time to donate or sell those pots, pans, small appliances, tools and utensils you do not use. If you have not used an item in the past year, it should not be taking up valuable real estate in your kitchen. Consider storing it in a more remote place in the house if you cannot part with it.
Inventory the pantry. If yours is normally full it will be difficult to add the special holiday items you need this time of the year. Check the expiration dates on spices and some staple items you have not used in a long time. Eliminate or use immediately all you can to make more storage space.
To organize it, use the trays, containers, turntables, and/or racks to help you group items in the same category together. Keep items you use everyday in the most convenient spaces. Small boxes, envelopes or packages should be grouped in clear containers so they are not lost on the shelving and can be easily accessed. If shelving is deep, use baskets or trays to hold items so they can be pulled forward to access items in the back. Finally, try to leave a few inches of empty space between categories of food on the shelves. This allows room for new items and also gives an appearance of order.
Make a list of what your holiday recipes require and what you will need during the next few weeks. Some special seasonal items will disappear from the grocery shelves before the holidays so shopping for those now will be advantageous. Check off all ingredients you already have so you do not duplicate items that will take up valuable shelving.
Keep records of all you holiday planning, meals, events and reminders for future holidays. It will
make planning for next year so much easier. I have a folder (on my computer) with the menus, grocery lists, guest lists, etc. that I update every year. I print those out, take notes on the printed copies and then update my original files.
Have packages for mailing out of town ready to send. Some overseas deadlines occur in November. Even packages to domestic locations should be ready to ship by the end of the month.
Now is the best time for online shopping. Almost all stores are offering free shipping and the selection is better now than later. Be sure to save receipts until after the holiday so items can be returned if necessary and to validate any charges on future credit statements. It is a good idea to keep these in a special envelope, folder, box, basket, etc. designated only for them.
Last month we reminded you to purchase holiday cards if you are particular about them. Now is the time to address and get them ready to mail. Email greetings can wait until December.
And I can never stress this point enough: If you choose to send a holiday newsletter, remember to keep it short and sweet. The shorter, the sweeter. No bragging is allowed; keep it newsy with love and appreciation for the input the recipients have had in your lives.
If you begin your holiday decorating early, be selective as you pull out the boxes of decorations. Pass on those items that you no longer like or use to save space and time. Permanent wreaths for the door can have the bow and a few leaves or flowers changed each season and will not have to be packed and stored. I purchase inexpensive wreath decorations for my permanent vine wreath each season and toss them after use. They are normally dirty or faded anyway.
Stand alone decorations specific to the holidays take lots of time in packing and unpacking each year and require more storage space. By simply adding decorative bows, etc. to lamps, candles, house plants, etc., you can make your home festive without needing extra storage bins and space after the holidays.
As I have advised every year, avoid shopping on Black Friday unless you absolutely must go and be sure to stick to your “needs” list. Going into the stores with their displays of special pricing, etc. is an emotional trap waiting for your hard earned cash. And all that stuff you don’t really need will clutter your house.
After years of getting up before dawn to hit the sales, I have learned it is much smarter to just stay home that weekend, get more sleep and decorate. If you love the adventure, if you only buy what you need and is on your list, and if you don’t mind crowds and insane traffic jams and parking, go for it and send me your stories! maryfrances@OrderlyPlaces.com