A lot of the residential work we do involves the kitchen. And believe it or not, we frequently hear clients talking about how much messy kitchens bother them. We can only imagine how much more serious the problem becomes for some homeowners during the annual holiday season, given the American penchant for wanting to entertain extensively between early November and late January. We want to help.
A messy kitchen does not have to be the norm during your annual entertaining season. With a few helpful tips for avoiding the holiday cooking mess, you can entertain to your heart’s desire without driving yourself, and your family, crazy with a never-ending pile of dirty dishes and tons of leftovers.
Here are our tips for this season:
#1 – Declutter Your Kitchen
As far as My Divine Concierge is concerned, decluttering is a good thing to do any time of year. It is particularly useful in the kitchen just before the start of your annual holiday entertaining. Clutter in your kitchen only makes it harder to keep the space clean while you are trying to cook and serve. So give the knickknacks a break and put away those appliances you only use once in a blue moon anyway. While you’re at it, take a few hours to scrub everything clean. A clean kitchen is a surprisingly strong motivator to avoid making too big a mess.
#2 – Adopt a ‘Clean as You Go’ Approach
One of the big reasons our kitchens tend to get messy is that we put off cleaning efforts for too long. Things are only exacerbated during the holiday entertaining season because messes are generated more frequently and on a larger scale. The solution is to adopt a ‘clean as you go’ approach. For example, you may have a 20-minute break between the time you finish preparing the pumpkin pie and having to begin working on the stuffing. This is a great time to clean your counter tops or wash the dishes in the sink. If you are the ‘many hands make light work’ kind of person, those extra hands in the kitchen can help you by cleaning up behind you.
#3 – Think Disposable
It is okay to use a disposable foil roasting pan to cook your turkey in – especially since you have no plans to serve it that way. Using a disposable pan means cleaning up after the turkey is done will be a lot easier. Other things you might consider include food grade parchment paper for baking cookies and pies, aluminum foil to line your bread pans, and disposable storage containers to hold leftovers.
#4 – Plan Ahead
A lot of people find that if they plan their holiday menus ahead of time, they can cook some things in advance. As just one example, Christmas cutouts are a staple for many American families. Did you know they freeze extremely well? You could make all of your Christmas cookies in early December and freeze them until your holiday celebrations start later on in the month. There are lots of things you can cook in advance so that you don’t spend an entire day in the kitchen when you should be spending it with family.
#5 – Avoid the Stress and Drama
Lastly, do yourself a favor and avoid the stress and drama in the kitchen. Stress and drama only create bigger messes that take longer to clean up. Keep your eyes focused on the practical aspects of food preparation so that you remain efficient and tidy throughout the day. You will find cleaning up a lot easier and less stressful as well.
The holiday season is a great time for entertaining. Do not let it become a trap for creating a huge kitchen mess that you know you will live to regret. After all, the kitchen should be an enjoyable place rather than a space in your house you dread.