In the quest for organization, many of us view the spring as the time of cleaning and organizing. Depending on how busy you may be in the winter holiday season, however, some organizing preparation in the fall can be extremely helpful. If you are someone who does a great deal of baking and/or entertaining during the fall and winter months, cleaning out, organizing and stocking the cupboards and pantry prior to the busy holiday season can make a big difference in setting the stage and creating a less stressful working environment.
An afternoon of cleaning and organizing can go a long way–set aside a couple hours of uninterrupted time to pull everything off the pantry or cupboard shelves and check expiration dates, quantities and storage containers. It can be especially efficient to keep a notepad handy to write down the items that you need to restock. Stocking up on staples such as flour, sugar, oils, spices, etc. can be less of a hit on the holiday pocketbook if you start in advance. Consider the recipes you are likely to make or the holiday items you bake regularly (but don’t always have all the ingredients on hand) and add those needed items to the shopping list now.
It can also be helpful to consider organizing in such a way as to facilitate easy access for holiday baking and cooking. Instead of shoving those staples like flour, sugar and others in the back of the pantry–why not move them to the front or to a special shelf where everything will be within easy reach? The holidays can be such a hectic rush anyway–starting with Halloween and marching on through the New Year–that any way you can organize to help you save time and cut corners can be productive time well spent.
In addition to food staples, consider which kitchen utensils and cooking items need to be repaired, replenished or replaced. Do you bake a lot of breads in your bread machine but never have enough bread pans? Why not buy disposable aluminum ones now or replenish your supply of bread or loaf pans before the need arises? Do you find that you make do with a worn electric mixer or only remember you need a new turkey baster after it is too late and you are already elbow-deep in holiday meal preparation? Cleaning out, taking inventory and organizing in the early Fall gives you an opportunity to make that list and get those items before another year of unpreparedness passes.
You can keep the organizing project simple: Clean, toss outdated and unused items, make a shopping list for food staples and kitchen utensils, and organize everything for easy access and efficiency. Consider also organizing your own cookbook and recipes at this time so that you won’t be hunting for just the perfect cookie recipe when December hits!
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