Seven Ways to Prepare Your Home for Thanksgiving
1. Plan and prepare your menu
Plan your menu as early as now so that you have a few weeks to watch for sales and deals at your grocery store. Non-perishable items are great to stock up on, and take this time to score specialty items or those hard to find ingredients. Better to have all those ingredients in stock and unused versus spending stressful hours looking for them at the last minute.
If you can, prepare make-ahead dishes you can freeze ahead of time. A few dishes like pie crusts, homemade stock, and even sauces and gravy can be prepared ahead of time and placed in the freezer. Check out these make-ahead tips from Kitchn for more culinary ideas.
2. Get your tools ready
Thanksgiving is a busy time in a kitchen, and inefficient tools will serve to slow down your work as well as cause potential injury. Sharpen your knives as early as now, either by doing it yourself or taking them into a shop to have them professionally serviced. Apart from knives, make sure to have your major appliances checked and serviced as well to make sure they're running in tiptop shape. The months of November and December are when dishwashers, ovens, stoves, washers and dryers, heating units and generators are heavily used, and the holidays will be an extremely challenging time to have a repairman available to come over, so getting everything ready ahead of time will go a long way towards your peace of mind.
3. Clean your kitchen
As mentioned before, the kitchen will be your busiest spot come Thanksgiving, so a cluttered kitchen can become a major source of stress and hassle during preparations. Declutter and reorganize your kitchen and clean out your countertops to make your preparations more seamless.
While you're at it, make sure to clean out your oven and fridge. Cleaning out your freezer will make extra space for your make-ahead meals, and of course your fridge should have enough space for leftovers. Cleaning out your oven ensures your carefully prepared meals won't be ruined with the extra flavors of a scummy oven.
4. Mind your sink
Bones and vegetable peelings can often get stuck in the disposal, causing a backup. Sink drains and garbage disposals can also get clogged with animal fat and grease, and starchy foods like rice and pasta tend to swell in the drain. Schedule a plumber ahead of time and have them snake the line a few days before Thanksgiving to make sure the drains are moving well. Make sure to respect your sink as well, and avoid treating the disposal like a garbage can. Use a large bowl or a small bin for peelings and other compost materials. For oil or grease, drain into a container with a lid and freeze until solid, then dump the solid oil into the garbage.
5. Deodorize your chairs
Upholstery and fabrics tend to retain funky smells, and you wouldn't want to make your guests uncomfortable with a trace of stink in the seats. You can use baking soda as a quick deodorizer. Sprinkle a generous amount onto the fabric and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour, then vacuum off. The baking soda will help to release odors and even break up light stains in the fabric. You can even add a the benefits of essential oils to the baking soda by placing in a covered container and adding a few drops of oils then shaking to mix before sprinkling. Here are a few other ways to clean with baking soda.
6. Clean the bathroom
The bathroom will probably receive the most foot traffic in your home apart from the dining room and kitchen, and it will be the one place that can get the most dirty and stinky. A dirty bathroom is highly unpleasant for anyone, so make sure to scrub and wipe down the toilet and sink and re-stock the toilet paper and soaps before the big day. You can use air freshener, an ultrasonic diffuser, or a scented candle to create a pleasant atmosphere as well on Thanksgiving day itself.
7. Prepare for overnighters
If you have out of town guests coming over, it may be necessary to prepare the guest bedroom(s) for an overnight stay. Get rid of mustiness by airing out the room a few days ahead. Rotate the mattress and change the sheets and curtains as well, to give the room a fresher feel.
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