Thanksgiving can be a hectic time of year. There are rooms to be decorated, food to be prepared, and guests to accommodate. Much of the holiday’s chaos is centered around the kitchen, and that is why it is vital to properly prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving. Even if you are not hosting this year, creating a holiday-ready kitchen is a great way to invite the spirit of the season, and the earlier you start, the better.
Maximizing Kitchen Space
With various cooking schedules, frequent trips between the oven and the countertop, and nieces and nephews underfoot, it can sometimes feel that there is not enough space in the kitchen for all the Thanksgiving preparations. While it’s not very wise to begin an extensive remodel to expand your kitchen less than a month before turkey day, there are a few suggestions to maximize your existing space as you prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving.
Make a List and Check It Twice
Your kitchen is going to see an influx of food this holiday—it’s up to you to make sure it isn’t redundant. As you gather supplies to craft the perfect pie, double check that you don’t double up on spices and foods you already have. Make a list of everything you will need to make your holiday menu, and then go through your pantry and spice cabinets to cross off things you already have.
Make Space for Leftovers
An essential component as you prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving is to prepare your fridge for leftovers. They are a guarantee, no matter how many people are coming over, so now is the perfect time to clear out the condiments and sauces you never use. Dispose of any other leftovers you know you won’t eat before the holiday. That should also free up some Tupperware.
If you make space in your freezer too, you give yourself the option to save some of the holiday vittles for later. That way you won’t have to eat turkey for three days straight after the guests have gone. If you find that you still don’t have enough room in either your fridge or freezer, create even more shelving using cooling racks between corning ware.
Make Room at the Table
Not only for guests but for food prep or service. If your table decorations are not too elaborate or don’t need to go on until shortly before the meal begins, you might utilize that space for other things. Sit there as you chop veggies or peel potatoes, or use it as a holding zone for dishes that are ready. On the other hand, once the ceremony of carving the turkey is done, take it off of the table. The bulky bird makes up 10–20 pounds of prime real estate.
Make a Cooking Schedule
If yours is the kind of family that does Thanksgiving in an almost potluck-type style, the chaos in the kitchen is not likely to be complete. If, however, you’ll need the oven on all day just to fit everything in, you might consider doing some of your holiday cooking the day before. This will cut back on foot traffic dramatically and half the amount of space needed since it will have been used the day before. Get the preparation of foods that aren’t served hot out of the way before the real fun begins.
Make Room on the Counters
The countertop is coveted space during Thanksgiving meal preparations, so it is important to make as much of it available as possible as you prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving. Store away any appliances that won’t be used, and consider moving any holiday decorations to another location as the food is boiling or basting. You may choose to invest in a lazy Susan since they are great for serving and for storing in an organized way.
Don’t Forget the Décor
Your efforts to prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving don’t just include food prep. Setting the scene is integral to the holiday experience as well. Fortunately, effectively decorating for Thanksgiving can be done any time after (or before, depending who you ask) Halloween and before the turkey is carved. We have a few suggestions to get you started.
Before the frost sets in is the perfect time to incorporate fall flora into your kitchen decorations, and your options are abundant. Pumpkins are, of course, the most common, and can be used as they are or even just in essence as motifs or shapes around the room. Wheat, sunflowers, nuts, vibrant leaves, pinecones, berries, and branches are all good choices if you like a natural touch to your autumn décor.
The countertops and table are not the only place to decorate for the season. Doors are something your kitchen probably has in abundance and can make great displays as you prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving. You can hang wreaths or lights from cabinet or pantry doors. Even the fridge or microwave offer available space for magnetic bric-a-brac. Be careful not to overdo it, though.
A Textured Touch
If Thanksgiving is about bounty and gratitude, the perfect way to celebrate is to enrich a kitchen’s décor with texture. As you prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving, consider using a variety of materials and patterns to add visual and tactile interest. These may include textured napkins, an interesting tablecloth, felt pumpkins, plaid placemats, and wood plaques reminding us to be thankful. Find the right blend for your kitchen, and the holiday is sure to be full of gratitude and good will.