While the holidays can be a fun season, the cleanup craziness usually gets the better of everyone. After a busy day, you want to curl up on the sofa with a good book or movie, not spend your evenings tidying the mess from a flurry of festivities. So here are a few tips to ensure you have everything in place for a fun holiday season while building a routine to keep you set up for success (especially in the kitchen).
Stock Up on Supplies
Be prepared for all the holiday baking by stocking up on baking supplies. With potential shortages predicted for 2021, stock up early, so you don’t miss out on cookie baking because the grocery store ran out of flour.
Check your pantry to make sure these aren’t expired, then add them to your list!
Here’s a few items to always keep in stock:
- 1-for-1 flour alternative (for any gluten-free guests)
- White Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- 10x powdered sugar (this one might be forgotten but is always needed for icing!)
- Chocolate chips (dark, milk, semi-sweet, white, everything!)
- Extra eggs
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Pumpkin Puree
- Vanilla Extract
- Canola Oil
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, pumpkin pie spice, ginger
- Food coloring
Create a Cleanup Routine
Cleaning a little every day will save you time in the long run and keep you from feeling overwhelmed with the amount of cleaning to be done after a fun day. Of course, the best solution is booking a cleaning service ahead of the holidays to ensure you’re on their calendar. One less thing for you to worry about! If that’s not workable for your family, try this routine instead:
- Daily: 10-minute (timed) tidy before bed for the night
- Daily: Clean up from cooking while the dish is in the oven: basic but always a good practice!
- Weekly: quick inventory of refrigerator and pantry before meal planning
- Weekly: Before unloading from a grocery trip, wipe out the drawers of your refrigerator.
- Weekly (Sunday night): mop the kitchen floor to start the week fresh!
- Weekly: choose one night to vacuum your living room/den area or incorporate into tidying time
- Laundry is everyone’s nemesis: turn on a favorite show or podcast and fold all at once weekly or daily, whatever works for your family
- Seasonal: wipe down cabinets
- Seasonal: Organize under the sink
Make a Meal Plan
During a busy week, there’s nothing worse than coming home from games and concerts to an empty refrigerator. Make a tentative meal plan with room for leftovers and crockpot meals, so you can set it and forget it but keep everyone eating well.
A few great recipes to get you started (although you can easily swap these for your tried-and-true favorites):
- Crockpot chili
- Roasted Chicken & Veggies
- Meat Sauce (takes some time up-front, but make a big batch to freeze for later!)
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Chicken
- Sheet Pan Fajitas
Prepare for hosting
Decorating a table can be simple if you have everything you need ahead of time. Your festive plates with coordinating napkins and simple napkin rings look like you pulled off a feat when you only spent two minutes setting the table.
Again, before the season gets hectic, determine some holiday-neutral supplies to have on hand: silver napkin rings, white dishes, cloth napkins. Then, you’ll only need a seasonal tablecloth or bouquet for the centerpiece to look put together.
If you’re planning a renovation during the holiday season instead of hosting, contact Garden State Soapstone to arrange for high-quality, hand-crafted countertops from natural stone. Slate, soapstone, and marble surface make a statement no matter the holiday and will always keep your home looking great whether or not you decorate for the season.