My kitchen seems to be the room in my home that gets the messiest the fastest, and that just becomes more true (and more messy) during the holiday season. Between cooking for friends and family, making holiday treats, and gathering with loved ones, it’s all too easy for your kitchen to get entirely out of control. Dirty dishes pile up in the sink, the floor is covered with sticky spots from little footprints, and it slowly gets worse and worse. The biggest issue here is that because it gets messier more quickly, it gets out of hand in the blink of an eye. Neglecting the kitchen for an evening used to be fine, but after a dozen trays of Christmas cookies come out of the oven, leaving your kitchen for the next morning is simply a recipe for disaster. So, how do you keep this mess under wraps and maintain your kitchen during the holidays?
ORGANIZE YOUR KITCHEN BEFORE THINGS GET TOO BUSY
The best way to be successful is to set yourself up for it before you get started. Pay attention to the most unorganized areas of your kitchen, and get to work.
Start with the fridge. Throw out anything that has expired, looks questionable, or you don’t remember putting into the refrigerator. Designate different shelves for different categories of food, to ensure that you are able to keep it organized. One shelf for leftovers, another for meats and dairy, and produce and snacks on another.
Get organizational containers for your pantry, and label them! This will keep you from just tossing random objects onto a shelf when you’re cooking or baking. Getting organized motivates you to stay motivated.
CLEAN UP AS YOU GO
A simple baking project often yields dirty dishes covering your kitchen countertops. Before you get started in the kitchen, make sure the room is clean, to set yourself up for success. As you are waiting for your cinnamon rolls to rise, rinse the mixing bowls and put them in the dishwasher. If you get easily overwhelmed with multitasking, ask a partner or one of your children in to place your cookware into the dishwasher as you finish with it. You can promise them one of the holiday treats you are preparing in exchange. Cleaning up the kitchen as you go also prevents pests from finding their way into the kitchen to make their home with you for the winter.
ALWAYS CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN BEFORE GOING TO BED
We all have times where we walk past the disaster of a dirty kitchen as we are heading to bed, and promise ourselves we will wash the dishes first thing in the morning. But after making breakfast the next day, you tell yourself you’ll wait until after lunch. When lunch rolls around, you don’t have enough clean cutlery to eat with, and are now stuck in a bind you could’ve avoided if you had cleaned the kitchen the night before like you had told yourself you would. It’s easier to clean the kitchen when it’s one load of dishes, so why wait until it loads up beyond that?
DON’T DO IT ALONE
The holidays are best when shared with your loved ones, and this is true for every single aspect of the holidays. Including cooking and baking. If your family members are getting to enjoy the benefits of you spending all day in the kitchen, then they should be willing to help keep the kitchen clean and under control. Don’t let yourself feel the pressure of doing it all alone, and let your friends and family pitch in to help you maintain your kitchen during the holidays.
These simple steps will not only save your sanity but enable you to maintain a clean kitchen during the holidays.