Kitchen Improvements

Easy Tips to Prepare for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Is Your Kitchen Ready for the Holidays?

Now that daylight savings time has ended, it’s time to get ready for Thanksgiving – Yes already! And by the way, did you remember to change your smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector batteries?

It’s one of those holidays that sneaks up on us because we’re focused on the fun part (the planning and decorating) but we forget about the most important place – the kitchen! Is yours ready? Here are some things you might not be thinking about, that will help lower your stress at Thanksgiving:

Just how old ARE your kitchen appliances?

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon on Thanksgiving and you realize that despite the fact that you put the turkey in an hour ago, it is NOT cooking. Yikes! A broken oven is not the way to remember the holiday. Major appliance breakdowns may seem random, but in reality they have a known “life span.” Check the list below to see if your appliances fall into the range of “elderly.” If they do, now is the time to consider replacing them:

  • Gas range: 15 years
  • Range hood: 14 years
  • Refrigerator: 13 years
  • Electric ranges: 13 years
  • Garbage disposals: 12 years
  • Freezers: 11 years

About that oven:

If your stove is nearing the end of its life span but you can’t afford a replacement this year, remember NOT to run the oven cleaning cycle. This stresses the appliance and can cause a breakdown. In addition, oven temperature accuracy is a big deal when you’re cooking multiple items for a crowd. Purchase an oven thermometer so you’re not guessing.

Your ‘fridge will be busy too

Make sure it’s ready for extra duty. Clean refrigerator condenser coils (these are typically in the back) and clean the gaskets around the doors to ensure energy efficiency. Make sure all of the old “science experiments” (old food that you’ve forgotten) are thrown out to maximize storage space.

Been thinking of upgrading the storage capacity of your kitchen cabinets?

If you’ve been thinking of adding pull-out shelves, drawer organizers, or other ways to increase cabinet storage – now is the time

Think about repairs too.

Do you have shelves that are wobbly? Do you need to install new shelf paper? What about those drawers? Do they slide in and out easily or do you need to repair that one that’s fallen off the track?

Or maybe you just have too much stuff.

Now is also a great time to go through those cabinets and get rid of anything that you:

  • Never use
  • Got as a gift that you hate
  • Don’t know what it’s for
  • Have multiples of for no reason

Remember that those less fortunate are also planning to be together for the holiday. Consider sending those items to a thrift shop. And if it’s garbage, release the item (and the guilt) by disposing of it properly.

Is the kitchen safe?

This is a great time to inspect to make sure your kitchen is safe for guests. Are there chords running across the floor? Do you have rugs or flooring that’s loose? If you’re expecting to have children as guests, is the kitchen childproof?

Where’s everyone going to sit?

When a new army of people come over to visit, seating is always at a premium. You’ll be less stressed out if you know in advance that you have enough space for everyone to sit down for dinner. Before you borrow bulky items, think: what can you re-purpose? Do tables or chairs need repair?

Bonus tip:

Make it an elegant affair. Recently on Food network it was suggested that one way to make your celebration extra fun and special is to send out formal Thanksgiving dinner invitations…in the US mail. During the segment, Alton Brown jokingly added that you will then likely have to follow up with an email to make sure your guests got their invitation.

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