You might have already ordered the turkey, but have you had a good look at the state of your cookspace yet?
Houzz UK Contributor. I’m a freelance sub-editor with more than 15 years’ experience… More
We know you have Christmas presents to buy and soirees to attend, but we also know that a good kitchen sort-out is invaluable in the run-up to the big day. Why? Because on the night before Christmas, nobody wants to discover that the roasting tin has done a runner or there aren’t enough glasses for the mulled wine. Here’s how to get the Christmas control centre in order.
Start with a clear-out of the pantry
This is a good beginning, because you’ll find out which store-cupboard essentials need to go on your Christmas shopping list.
First, go through each shelf and get rid of anything that’s out of date. Also make a note of any must-haves (flour, sugar, chocolate chips) that are running low. Once this is done, you can create a master list of all the cooking and baking ingredients you need to stock up on.
In order to make sure you have enough room for all the cookie-cutters, tins of nuts, cans of hot chocolate powder and other Christmas paraphernalia you’re sure to buy over the next few weeks, move any bulky, non-perishable items (think kitchen roll and tins of beans) to the garage or garden shed.
You’ll also want to put away any bits and bobs left over from the summer – we’re talking plastic picnic plates and ice lolly moulds.
See more kitchen pantry ideas
Tackle pots, pans and bakeware
If you’re catering for a crowd on Christmas Day, now is also the time to take an inventory of your cooking gear. Think about what you’ll be making and baking, so you’ll know if you need to buy, say, a pudding basin for that homemade Christmas pud you want to try out.
Once you’ve tallied up what you have and what you don’t, put everything back into the pots and pans cupboard in an orderly fashion. When you’re entertaining, you’ll want to be able to see where things are at a glance so you can grab them quickly.
While you’re in organising mode, sort the Tupperware, too. Leftovers are synonymous with Christmas and you’ll probably require extra storage for all those biscuits you’re going to be baking. With the plastic containers you do have, find their matching lids and keep them together. That way, everything is ready to go come Christmas.
If new pots and pans are needed, make sure you buy the correct ones for your cooker. If your hob is gas or electric, you should be fine with any type of metal pan. Do you have an induction hob? Then you’ll need ones made from magnetised metal. Both cast-iron and steel fit the bill. Ceramic hobs work best with pots and pans that have flat, heavy bases. And for an Aga, you’ll want heavy pans that can deal with high temperatures.
Take a look at tableware and linens
You might be hosting a few parties in the run-up to Christmas, too, so be prepared for these (and the main event) by checking all your best china, glasses and linens. Is your favourite tablecloth looking a little worn? Or maybe you just want a new style? And what about those napkins? Are they stained or frayed? If so, think about replacing them.
Then move on to the glassware. The bubbly will be flowing, after all, so you’ll want to make sure your stemware is in good nick. Do the same for the crockery. Inspect for chips and do a quick count to ensure you’ll have enough soup bowls and side plates for everyone invited.
Haven’t used your very best champagne glasses since last Christmas/New Year? If that’s the case and they’re looking cloudy, try this trick: simply soak them in white vinegar for at least five minutes, rinse and then dry them with a microfibre cloth. If there are a few stubborn cloudy/spotty areas left, sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda on a toothbrush and gently scrub these off, then do a final rinse and dry.
Deal with the fridge and freezer
One way to make the Christmas food shop less stressful is to do it in stages. That way, on the 24th, you won’t be searching high and low for those pigs in the blankets that seem to be sold out everywhere. You can buy these and other ready-made party food early and freeze them.
Of course, this means you should probably start clearing out your freezer now. Take a look at what’s in there and plan a menu for the following week using up a chunk of the contents. Then, before you do that first Christmas shop, check whether your freezer is in need of a defrost.
Slowly start clearing out the fridge, too, to make room for the turkey. Finish off those almost-empty jam jars and definitely get rid of any leftovers from the summer – barbecue sauce, relish, capers… You get the picture.
How to defrost a freezer
Clear the surfaces
Our kitchen worktops seem to be magnets for all sorts of things, from paperwork to random decorative jars that end up collecting dust. And none of it’s conducive to having a proper space in which to cook and bake comfortably.
So be ruthless and clear the worktops of almost everything. You’ll be happy you did when you’re prepping potatoes and guests start arriving with lots of plates and bags of goodies. There’ll be room for almost everything.
Another benefit of doing this clutter-busting now? The kitchen will be easier to clean closer to the big day. Merry Christmas!
Do you have any tips for getting the kitchen ready for Christmas? Share your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section.