Image credit: Adobe Stock
The holiday season is all about good times with good people and good food. Of course, preparing and enjoying all those celebratory meals and treats can really take its toll on your kitchen, especially if you hosted a holiday party (or two!).
Now that we’re a week into January, it’s time to hit the reset button and start cleaning up any leftover holiday cheer. If you need some help dealing with the “holiday aftermath,” here are a few kitchen organization tips that will help you restore the heart of your home back to a state of normalcy.
1. Put away any holiday decorations that are still out.
Is your Elf on a Shelf still hanging out in the kitchen? Are your New Year’s Eve noisemakers and holiday cards still taking up space on the counter? Before you start the “real” cleaning work, do a quick visual inspection of your kitchen (and the rest of your home) to make sure all your decorations are taken down and stored for next holiday season.
2. Throw out any uneaten leftovers from your holiday meals.
We know -- it’s not ideal to let food go to waste. But let’s face it: The holiday season is one of indulgence, and maybe you took home a few more of Mom’s latkes or Grandpa’s eggnog than you could reasonably finish.
According to the Mayo Clinic, any leftover prepared food that has been properly stored should be consumed within three to four days to avoid an increased risk of foodborne illness. In other words, if it’s still in your fridge from your holiday dinner two weeks ago, it’s long-expired -- so stay safe and throw it away.
3. Disinfect your kitchen surfaces and appliances.
The counters. The stove top. The sink. The refrigerator shelves. The inside of the microwave. The slow cooker. Any appliance with removable parts. It’s a good idea to thoroughly clean and disinfect everything you used to prepare or serve food during the holidays, just to make sure you (or whichever guest helped you clean up after dinner) didn’t miss any caked-on food stains when you initially washed them.
If you don’t want to use a harsh chemical disinfecting spray, there are plenty of natural ingredients you can use to create your own DIY disinfectant (white vinegar is a tried-and-true favorite!).
4. Sweep and mop the floors.
Holiday guests can leave a lot of dirt and crumbs all over your home, so make sure you’ve done a thorough sweep and mop of your kitchen. Be sure to check the corners and crevices you don’t normally pay attention to -- this is where the most dirt buildup can occur!
5. Check your cabinets for any rogue dishware or food storage containers.
It happens every year: A holiday guest brings over a side dish or dessert in their own storage container and forgets to bring it home at the end of the night. If you find yourself with a small collection of forgotten serving dishes and Tupperware, put it all in a box and make a point to reach out to the owners one by one to coordinate the return. If they don’t want it back, either donate it (if you know you won’t use it) or find a new home for it in your kitchen.
6. Make a grocery list of any pantry or fridge items you ran out of during the holidays.
The new year is a great time to take inventory of what’s in your fridge and pantry and replenish any bulk ingredients that you may have used up during your holiday meal prep. Similarly, you can check the expiration dates on anything that’s running low and toss it if it’s no longer fresh.
Start 2020 off with a full pantry and a clean kitchen, and you’ll set yourself up for a great year!
Want to reward yourself for all that post-holiday clean-up? Stop by The Cookie Cups in Navarre or Chanhassen and pick up your favorite sweet or savory treat! You can also place an order online for pickup in either of our locations.