Prepare for the Holidays by Organizing Your Kitchen

You may still be recovering from your Thanksgiving entertaining duties, but that doesn't mean that you should wait until the last minute to prepare for your December holiday entertaining. A great way to prepare ahead of time for the upcoming holidays is to organize your kitchen so that cooking and entertaining goes without a hitch. You likely have most of the tools necessary for organizing your kitchen already in place, so organizing your kitchen may just be a matter of decluttering and relocating.

By organizing your kitchen you can get it to look like this one, not to mention simplify your holiday entertaining.

Having all of your appliances, pots and pans, spices and recipes at your fingertips will surely help make entertaining this holiday season an enjoyable experience and you could even enlist the help of friends and family to help you get organizing your kitchen going.

Here is some great information from BetterHomesAndGardens.com that will have you on your way to organizing your kitchen and preparing for the holidays in no time!

17 Kitchen Organization & Storage Tips

Declutter your kitchen and implement efficient storage inside your cabinets, drawers, and pantry. Here's 17 ways to get it done quickly and easily.

Junk Drawer

Set aside one drawer for junk. That's right -- most organization experts agree that you can and should have a junk drawer! "There are always doodads in every home that nobody knows where to store," Lorie Marrero says in her book The Clutter Diet. "Just don't keep things in there that have a home somewhere else and that you have not used in more than a year or two." Marrero recommends using a drawer divider to keep items visible.

Small Appliance Storage

Store small appliances, such as a coffee grinder, handheld electric mixer, and toaster, inside a cabinet on a large lazy Susan. "A quick turn, and what you need is at your fingertips," author Meryl Starr says in The Home Organizing Workbook.

Upright Storage

Create upright storage for cookie sheets and cutting boards. A skinny cabinet is ideal, but to retrofit existing cabinetry, install inexpensive dividers to help items stand on end, as shown here.

Pullout Shelves

Add pullout shelves to turn every inch of a deep cabinet into accessible and useful storage. Pots and pans formerly lost in the back recesses of these cabinets are now easy to locate.

Pantry Organization

Group like items inside a pantry to simplify prep time. Organizing and productivity consultant Laura Leist suggests gathering baking supplies in a single container. When it's time to make cookies, just carry the container to your work area and all the basics will be at your fingertips.

Utilize Door Interiors

Press interior doors into service. Line a door with cut-to-fit sheets of cork to create a message center, or attach a magnetic board to the inside of a door. Attach a basket down low to keep bags in line. Or coat a door with blackboard paint to give kids a place to entertain themselves while you're cooking.

Customized Pantry

Quickly customize any pantry with tiered shelf organizers. "Can risers are like bleachers for your canned goods," Laura Leist says in her book Eliminate Chaos. "They allow you to see canned goods placed behind one another."

Island Shelf

Hang a shelf with customizable add-ons to the side of an island, and use it to store your go-to spices and utensils.

Alphabetize Spices

Slip a tiered rack inside a drawer to keep spices neatly contained. Arrange the canisters in alphabetical order. "Alphabetizing spices helps you find what you want at the grocery store; it will do the same thing at home," author Stephanie Denton says in The Organized Life. "Plus, you're less likely to buy a duplicate if your inventory is organized."

Utilize Small Spaces

Make the most of the sliver of space beside a drain pipe with a narrow two-tier basket. This model features a top bin that lifts off and a bottom bin that pulls out for easy access. The portable caddy is perfect for holding kitchen cleaning supplies. To protect the cabinet from leaks or spills, line the base with a waterproof mat.

One-Month Box Test

Try the one-month box test if your drawers are overflowing with cooking gadgets but you can't bear to part with that melon-baller. "Empty the contents of your kitchen utensil drawers into a cardboard box," author Peter Walsh says in It's All Too Much. "For one month, only put a utensil back into the drawer if you take it out of the box to use it. At the end of the month, seriously consider discarding everything that's still in the cardboard box."

Corner Cabinet Turntables

Get the most out of corner cabinets by installing turntables. Look for lazy Susans that are designed without a center pole to maximize storage capabilities.

Wire Shelving Unit

Use a wire shelving unit to slip storage into a space where none exists. Use the out-in-the-open shelves to hold frequently used items, such as coffee and tea supplies and breakfast dishes.

Presort Recyclables

Save time (and money, if you live in a state with bottle and can refunds) by presorting your recyclables as you toss them. Partitioned, pullout garbage cans built into these kitchen cabinets make quick work of dividing glass, plastic, paper, and cans. Check with your city's recycling program to find out what you can and can't recycle. Some cities only recycle certain numbers of plastic -- you'll find the numbers on the bottom of every plastic container.

Label Recycling

Change family habits by positioning recycling bins in a prominent location. Clearly labeled containers make it easy for young children and guests to stick with the program. "Consider your garbage can and recycling bin as a few of your organizing tools," says Stephanie Denton in The Organized Life. "The larger they are, the more likely you are to use them."

Food Containers

Save space by storing bulky food items in coordinating containers. To retain the cooking instructions, attach a clear adhesive pocket (commonly used to hold business cards) to the outside of the container and slip the info inside. "Plastic containers work great for items you use frequently that come in plastic bags, such as beans, rice, pasta, and nuts," says Laura Leist in Eliminate Chaos. "They eliminate the possibility of the contents spilling out and keep out unwanted guests, such as bugs." For maximum function, ensure the containers are large enough to hold a standard bag plus some.

Categorize Your Cooking

Identify food and cooking categories that suit your lifestyle -- for example, weeknight dinners, portable lunches, baking, and entertaining. Designate an area for each category inside your pantry, with the most often-used zones within easiest reach. Label all of the zones clearly so everyone knows where groceries belong.

Imagine a holiday season where you are completely in control and where you have command of your kitchen. This is an absolute possibility if you put effort into organizing your kitchen now. Organizing your kitchen now will leave you with less required prep time for cooking your holiday meal and will undoubtedly reduce your stress level, since you won't have to run around your kitchen frantically looking for the cinnamon.

The benefits of organizing your kitchen will stretch beyond just the holiday season; organizing your kitchen will allow you to regain wasted space, reduce stress, avoid duplicate purchases and allow you to readily locate your cooking supplies. We encourage you to try out these tips for organizing your kitchen, because who doesn't love a stress-free holiday? Good luck organizing your kitchen and once you're organized, you know who to call to meet your cleaning needs!