How ready is your kitchen for the holidays?
With the season of get togethers and reunions fast approaching, it’s best that we prepare the field where the battle for food preparation in our home takes place.
We know how it feels when we go to class or work unprepared. We get jitters all day, and we wish we could turn back time just so we can squeeze in a little bit more reviewing and revising. Also, when we are unprepared, we tend to forget and leave things behind, making us lose focus and composure altogether.
Can you imagine with me for a moment what our beloved kitchen would say if we send it to a holiday battle unprepared? Think: expired ingredients, dusty serving dishes, and “missing” what-have-you. If our kitchen could only speak, it would surely tell us it’s a lot more stressed than we are.
How do we send our kitchen to the holidays in full battle gear?
On Saturday, October 26, I had a great time bonding and sharing my time with homemakers who attended my Organizing Workshop in Makeroom, Bonifacio Global City. In this particular workshop, I shared the importance of placing an efficient system in the heart of our home.
I call the kitchen the heart of the home because this is where all the meal preparations happen. As I’m writing right now, I am transported to my younger years when our house is filled by the aroma of my Inay’s dish for the day. As much as this aroma signals the coming of mealtime, it also sends my mother’s love through the hard work she puts in while cooking for us. It goes without saying that the kitchen is also the place where our family gets to bond through getting what we need to set up the dining table.
When my husband and I moved in to our own house, I made it a point that everyone in the household, including our house staff, knows my standard for keeping both the kitchen and the bathroom clean everyday. My explanation to this is very simple: these parts of the house are prone to bacteria and molds. Not placing a standard on these areas of the house will compromise everyone’s health.
You might have seen and read my Instagram post about how my kitchen looks in the morning and at night.
The kitchen may bear evidences of food preparation and of my kids enjoying their meals the whole day, but the kitchen must return to how it looked like in the morning before we all go to bed. This way, we wouldn’t wake up to a dirty kitchen, complete with uninvited guests such as running roaches. Imagine the stress it will cause first thing in the morning if the sink was left full with dirty dishes the previous night.
While we are preparing our Christmas lists and Christmas menus, it wouldn’t hurt to also include re-examining our very own kitchen and list down what it needs so it performs its best on days we need it the most. Here are some tips that I also shared in the workshop last Saturday:
Make your own kitchen.
The best kitchen you’ll have in your life is the one that completely displays your personality and your preferences. Before moving anything in your kitchen, you may list down the things that you actually do in the kitchen. Do you cook everyday? Do you bake often? Do you prepare your kids’ baon? Answering these questions will help you identify the spaces that you need to allot in your kitchen.
If you feel like your kitchen is not big enough the way you want it, it’s time you embrace the space that you have and work on it! Focus on what it can do instead of thinking about what it cannot and what it doesn’t have. After all, if you are able to perform the tasks you need in your kitchen, then it’s doing its purpose in your life. Now it’s time to thank it by making it an efficient space.
My mantra has always been this: implement a system that works for you. Understand the structure of your kitchen and think about the flow of movement you and your household have in it.
Love it, and it will love you back.
Sort items thoroughly.
One of the ways we can check if our kitchen is at its prime is when we can easily identify where the items are. The kitchen is very tricky to organize because unlike in other areas of the house, the kitchen houses items so diverse that if not sorted thoroughly would cause harm and danger to the people living in the house. Imagine if these items are just beside each other in the kitchen: food, beverage, cleaning materials, cleaning agents, plates, utensils, trash bins, room deodorizers, placemats, and the list goes on. I’m sure you get the idea.
For those of you with kids, you may sort the food items further by separating your kids’ snacks and drinks. With this, you wouldn’t spend much time looking for something that your kids can have at the end of their long day in school.
It would also be best if we start to identify our serving dishes, utensils, place mats and plate chargers. This way, we wouldn’t spend too much time traveling in our kitchen and opening all the shelves when all we need at the last minute is just one more serving spoon or one more place mat to complete the setup.
Store your items systematically.
The kitchen is not an exemption in the prominent “a place for everything and everything in its place” organizing guideline. When we already finished sorting the items in the kitchen, we have to make sure that these items are strategically placed – that no cleaning agent or material shares the same shelf as items that either touch our mouth or items that we take in our body.
One of the culprits of food expiring in our kitchen without us knowing is storing these food items in a place we cannot easily see or pull out. If your kitchen shelf is like mine that you can squeeze in as many grocery items as you have without proper system, chances are, you will keep buying the same food item you already have until such time that the others will already expire.
Devise a system where you can monitor your food items. In my case, I begin with grocery shopping. Because I go to the grocery on a weekly basis, I make sure that I only buy what is needed in the week. If I overbuy, I won’t have space to store my groceries, and I will suffer from spending on food that will not be eaten anyway because they already reached their expiry dates.
Also, I cannot stress enough how important it is that we label our decanted food and ingredients properly, complete with their expiration dates, to avoid mix-ups and confusion.
There’s nothing more fulfilling than gathering people in your house and serving them to your heart’s content without having anyone run to the nearest grocery to buy just one item you forgot or missed.
Having an organized kitchen for the holidays is a fool-proof plan to just enjoy the get together and celebrate the heart of the season. When our kitchen is in full battle gear, it relieves us from all the stress and extra expenses that the holidays may bring.
As in any area of your home, make room for the items in your kitchen that fills and warms your heart.
Have a great week ahead, Neatropolis!