Hosting the Thanksgiving dinner can be a time-consuming and chaotic endeavor, whether the feast is for 6 or 16 people.
“The kitchen is a place where you keep all of your cooking utensils, utensils, gadgets, and groceries, and with so many items it’s easy to get so cluttered that they’re inoperable,” says Mark Feldman, the primary residence Officer at Riverbend Home.
But don’t worry, we asked Feldman, along with Ryan Eisland and Brandie Larsen, the founders of the organization company Home Sort and brand representatives for mDesign, for their top tips on tidying up your space to make preparing for your vacation easier – and maybe even fun.
Add a “command center” to your kitchen
Feldman says creating a central place for holiday shopping lists, schedules, and calendars will bring order to your kitchen. Try adding a blackboard, whiteboard calendar, hooks for keys, or a magnetic board for hanging lists. In addition, wall-mounted organizers keep counter space of papers, pens, and bells and whistles, freeing them up for meal prep.
Get the cleaning
According to Eisland and Larsen, the best way to organize yourself for the holidays is to clean up. Free up space in your refrigerator and pantry for larger amounts of groceries and scraps of food by throwing away anything that is expired, empty, or probably no longer needed. This is easy to do, free, and a great place to start.
Eliminate drawer clutter
We all have a kitchen drawer full of odds and ends that’s so full it’s hard to open and a drawer full of utensils (we’re looking at you, spatula). Break the mess by dividing drawers into compartments with dividers or inserts for organizing items so that you can easily access them while preparing dinner.
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Invest in a lazy Susan and utensil holder
Eisland and Larsen say that when your “things” are included, it creates order. “You always know where your things belong and you can find them quickly,” says Larsen. They recommend the lazy Susan for her versatility. It can hold just about anything from cans to spices to oils and is also perfect for taller cabinets when you need quick access.
Feldman is a fan of utensil holders. “Slide the tools you use most, like spatulas, tongs, and mixing spoons, out of the drawers and onto the counter, where they’re ready to go,” he says. “No more searching in drawers.” There are many stylish designs to choose from to give your kitchen a nice decorative touch.
Limit the items to the counters
Most people struggle with where to put utensils like coffee makers, blenders, and toasters. For a really efficient kitchen, keep only the items that you use every day. The same goes for pots and pans, and an overhead pan rack is a great solution. If you have space, a corner shelf or étagère is a functional way to store and display less-used items.
Use hooks and racks
Cabinet doors can do double the job if you install hooks, racks, or rods on the inside or under the top cabinets. They are the perfect place to hang cups, pans, tea towels and more. “Your things remain invisible, but easily accessible,” says Feldman.
According to both groups of experts, you can save an incredible amount of space by stacking some items vertically. Use dividers to keep trays, baking trays, and pot lids upright in cabinets, and arrange kitchen towels and table linen vertically in drawers instead of stacking them horizontally. A riser in closets also creates an extra shelf for more storage space.
Originally published on Architectural Digest