Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that involves so much preparation it’s kind of ridiculous. It’s all worth it, though, to eat our favorite dishes, spend quality time with family and indulge in a few lazy hours in front of the television. What’s even better is not having to scramble the day before trying to cook, bake and clean for a crowd. While it may seem soon to be getting prep work started, a little forward thinking will pay off in the end.
- Start cleaning and preparing your home early, so you’re not rushed to do it. This is also a good time to do some of those cleaning tasks we don’t often include in our regular cleaning schedule. This includes things like rotating mattresses, washing shower curtains, touching up paint, wiping down kitchen cabinets (inside AND out!), etc. For more tasks like this to get your house in tip-top Thanksgiving shape, check out this cleaning calendar from home design blog Chris Loves Julia. Although they started their fall cleaning calendar mid-October, there’s still plenty of time to knock some of these tasks out.
- Stock up. Start stocking your refrigerator, pantry and freezer. If you see something you’re going to need a lot of (sugar, butter, flour, etc) on sale between now and Thanksgiving, go ahead and buy it so you’ll be ready to start cooking and baking without running out to the store several more times. Of course, just be sure that whatever ingredients you stock up on will keep, either in your pantry, fridge or freezer, until Thanksgiving.
- Clean out your refrigerator (before you fill it back up again). Give your refrigerator some love before the holidays by cleaning it out and deep cleaning it. Toss anything that’s expired, and sort through your condiments to weed out the ones you don’t use or the ones that you’ve been keeping for way too long. Scrub the fridge inside and out, and bam! You’re ready to fill it with ingredients for all of your Thanksgiving cooking and baking.
- Make some things ahead of time. Cook or bake anything ahead of time that you can like casseroles, pie crusts or other dishes that can be prepared in advance and frozen until Thanksgiving. Then on the big day you can just pop them in the oven and they’re ready to go. Be sure to also clean out your freezer before you do this.
- Go ahead and locate any stored items you’ll need. We’re talking extra tables, chairs or that big turkey roaster you tuck away for the rest of the year. If you’re planning to use specific china, table settings, decorations or cooking supplies, now would be the time to find those things so you’re not running around looking for them the week of Thanksgiving. And if you can’t find something, you’ll still have plenty of time to get a new one or borrow it.
- Delegate! This might be the most important thing on this list. If you’re hosting a crowd for Thanksgiving, you’re likely going to be doing a lot of work leading up to the holiday. Ask a few people to contribute side dishes, desserts or drinks. Ask them soon so that they’ll have plenty of time to decide what to make and get it done. Make it easier on yourself by asking for help from those who are attending.