The Christmas tree is up, the presents are wrapped, and candy is lining your tables (and your stomach!). In other words, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us…but only in some ways! While a smile lights up your face as you spend quality time with loved ones, the state of your kitchen has the power to send the corners of your mouth plummeting downwards. If you’ve hosted a Christmas or New Year’s party before, you’ll know what we’re talking about: heaps of dirty dishes, scattered crumbs, and trash far and near are sure-fire mood killers. So, what can you do to ensure that the prospect of cleaning your kitchen doesn’t instill you with dread? For starters, you can follow these 10 tips from our experts, who explain how to keep a cool head when those inevitable cleaning woes threaten to get you down. Let’s get started!
- Before you even think about going on a food shopping spree, open your refrigerator and take out all items that are well past their expiration date – and trust us, there are bound to be a few things lingering in corners that look more like science experiments than food. This crucial process will ensure that your fridge isn’t bursting at the seams during the holidays, and will also save you from an even bigger, nastier clean-up job in the new year. Proactivity is key!
- In addition to checking your fridge, don’t forget to scrutinize your pantry for expired spices. It’s a commonly overlooked step, but could make or break your Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinner. After all, it won’t matter if your ham is roasted to perfection if it’s garnished with stale, funky-tasting thyme or rosemary.
- It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s often best to give your glasses, dishes, and silverware a thorough rinse before the big holiday dinner(s). Since many of us only use the good china or silver cutlery for special occasions, it’s possible that they’ve accumulated a layer of dust while waiting for one of their rare appearances. So, save yourself from embarrassment – and from disgruntled looks – by washing your special tableware before your guests arrive.
- Create a list of kitchen basics that you’re bound to need – and run out of – during the holiday season. Whether you always find yourself low on dishwasher tablets or trash bags, it’s worth thinking practically and buying all of the necessities in bulk. As a result, you won’t find yourself with an overflowing dishwasher or trash can at the end of the night.
- Tired of finding your sink clogged with silverware at the end of the night? If your sink is equipped with a garbage disposal, this can be especially frustrating. Luckily, we’ve got an easy solution for you: place a colander in the sink so that dirty silverware can be collected in one, contained place, expediting the task of washing knives and forks at the end of the night – or of loading them into the dishwasher. It’s simple, but makes a world of difference!
- Speaking of the dishwasher, be sure to empty it before your guests arrive. This will allow you to load dirty dishes, glasses, and silverware straight into the dishwasher, which makes the job of cleaning your kitchen a whole lot easier – and faster – at the end of the night.
- Don’t fall into the “I’ll do it later” trap – chances are that the longer you wait to clean up that spill on the floor, the more difficult it’ll be. Although it’s not always realistic, try your best to clean up a mishap right after it occurs…or as soon as you can!
- On that note, give surfaces and floors a wipe-down at the end of the night. No one likes walking into their kitchen the following morning, faced with the task of cleaning sticky counters and floors coated with crumbs. Do yourself a favor and spend at least five minutes vacuuming your floor and running a wet towel over your counters. You’ll thank yourself the next day!
- If you have a designated kids’ table for this year’s festivities, don’t bother with fancy tablecloths – why not give yourself a break and opt for paper instead? This option not only reduces your clean-up time, but also your worries about whether your favorite tablecloth will survive this year’s festivities. What’s more, you could put out some crayons or colored pencils to keep the kids entertained. It’s a win-win!
- If your children and/or other people’s kids are raiding your home this December, don’t simply wait for accidents to happen – instead, you can and should actively work to prevent them. By childproofing corners, unplugging appliances that are not in use, and keeping dangerous items, such as knives and matches, out of reach, you’ll set yourself up for a stress- and disaster-free holiday…and perhaps even save you a trip to the hospital!
While Christmas and New Year’s Eve are deemed a time for celebration, any good host knows that only forward thinking (and action!) truly make the holiday season the most wonderful time of the year. By following the ten tips above, you’ll be well on your way to filling your home with care-free Christmas and New Year’s cheer. So, let’s get cracking!