How to Easily Holiday-Proof the Kitchen

How to Easily Holiday-Proof the Kitchen

I can’t believe another year is coming to a close and the holiday season is ramping up! This is a great time to do a good cleaning out in the kitchen to get ready for all the holiday parties and foods you will soon be enjoying!

Whether you are hosting any holiday parties, family get-togethers, attending parties, or just have generous friends and neighbors, space in the kitchen is always necessary around this time of the year. Think of all the delicious treats that usually circulate.

How to Easily Holiday-Proof the Kitchen

First, you have all the candy and sweet treats for Halloween. Then next month is Thanksgiving, which is always a feast of so many foods. And then December hits with all the delicious baked goods, candy canes, cookies, and everything in between. And that’s only the 3 major holidays that I celebrate, I know there are many others around this time as well.

Needless to say, this is not a good time to start a diet! Or maybe it is to try to limit yourself over the holidays. And, come to think of it, this is probably why so many people make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.

No matter what your plans are, chances are you are going to have an over-abundance of food in the next couple months, so it’s a great time to clean out your kitchen, especially the pantry and refrigerator/freezer. Of course, as with everything, there are many methods to get the job done, but I am sharing my tips that have worked the best for me.

  • Choose one day to get the cleaning done. You are going to need to spend at least an hour or two, depending on how much cleaning needs to be done, so make sure you have the time.
  • Decide if you want to tackle it all in one day, or do a different part of the kitchen each day. This again will vary based on how much time you have and how long each thing takes.
  • If you are hosting, you may want to get the entire house cleaned and ready as well.
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With both the pantry and refrigerator/freezer, I use a similar process to get the job done. It varies only slightly because of trying to make sure the food in the fridge and freezer stay cold.

Pantry

  1. Take everything out of the pantry and place it on the counters.
  2. Go through everything and check expiration dates as you remove it from the pantry. If something is expired and you don’t want/need it, toss it out. Don’t forget that some things may be able to go in a compost bin if you have one of those going.
  3. Have a piece of paper and a pen handy so you can write down a list of items that have expired or are almost gone so you remember to get more next time you go grocery shopping.
  4. As you remove everything, organize it into groups such as baking goods, breakfast foods, pasta, etc. so you can do a bit of pantry organization as you go.
  5. Once the pantry is empty, get a damp rag and wipe down all the shelves. Sometimes if there are a lot of crumbs you can also use the extension hose on your vacuum to get those.
  6. Make sure the shelves are dry and start putting all of your food back in the pantry, organizing as you go if needed.

Refrigerator and Freezer

As I mentioned, I do this very similar to the pantry, except working in smaller sections so the food doesn’t get warm.

  1. Start with either one shelf inside the refrigerator or in the door and take everything out and place it on the counters.
  2. Go through everything and check expiration dates as you remove it. If something is expired and you don’t want/need it, toss it out. Don’t forget that some things may be able to go in a compost bin if you have one of those going rather than thrown in the trash, although most of the foods in the refrigerator aren’t good for that, except any fruits or veggies that are going bad.
  3. Have a piece of paper and a pen handy so you can write down a list of items that have expired or are almost gone so you remember to get more next time you go grocery shopping.
  4. Once the shelf is empty, get a damp rag and wipe it down.
  5. Make sure the shelf is dry and start putting all of your food back.
  6. Repeat for all of the shelves in the refrigerator and freezer, and don’t forget the shelves in the doors as well.
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I find that, when cleaning the refrigerator and freezer, it’s best to clean and put things back where they were, then once the entire thing is cleaned, do a quick organization and move things around as needed. Like I mentioned, the goal is to keep these foods cold as much as possible so they don’t thaw or spoil.

Once you have both the pantry and refrigerator/freezer cleaned and organized, you should have more space to be able to store the food for your upcoming party or the groceries needed to make the meal for your family get-together or even just a place to keep the delicious snacks your family, friends, and neighbors may gift to you during the season.

Oh, and don’t forget to wipe the counters down when you are done as well. Sometimes there can be residue from the outside of a package left on there after doing a big cleanout like this.

How to Easily Holiday-Proof the Kitchen

What do you think?