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Kitchens can get cluttered around the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving with all the food and drinks being passed around. Dishes on every counter, glasses in everyone’s hands, and people crowding around the table. It’s easy to get flustered with everything going on, so here are some tips on how to keep organized in the kitchen.

Pantry and Fridge First

Before the holiday season begins, take the deep dive into your tupperware containers and the back of your fridge. Clean out every drawer and shelf, throw out anything bad or even questionable, and stack everything in again so that it fits well. Wipe off anything sticky, as these spots can attract fruit flies. As an added bonus, you can take inventory at this point and get a better idea of what you’re going to need to buy for the recipes you’ll be making.  

Protect your Recipes

Be it a Betty Crocker cookbook or a time honored family heirloom, you’re going to want to make sure everything survives another holiday season for next year. Many families have found that lamination can take care of many spills and stains that would otherwise destroy that culinary tradition. Otherwise bookstands or tape can keep your delicious recipe away from harm. Have your recipes hover above the food and clutter while staying in sight for easy reference.

Move the Party Away from the Kitchen

You’re cooking a great deal of items that all require different times, temperatures, and preparation. To have people moving around you and diving in and out of the room isn’t just less than ideal, it’s potentially dangerous. So move the party to a different location. Set the apps and the bar away from the action, while still in plain sight. Your guests will swing by and keep the party moving and lively. Also people are naturally attracted to light, so just keep it dim in less favorable rooms. Whatever works to keep the traffic flowing.

Clean Up

The least fun part of the meal can be done with both speed and precision. Have containers and baggies at the ready beforehand, and your guests can take a buffet home with them. This will leave you with enough fridge room for everything else. Assign the kids to do the fast jobs, like dishes, to make time more efficient. And speaking of efficiency, scrape off the food at the table to stack those plates up high. This is especially true in smaller kitchens where space is always an issue. And be kind to your garbage disposal, the amount of grease that goes down there can merit a call to a plumber. Cleaning up doesn’t have to be a chore when you’re surrounded by friends and family.

Article written by Sean Mahan, also a writer for homeyou.com, a company that connects homeowners to reliable, affordable and professional contractors for their home improvement projects. Check more on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.