Now that Halloween is behind us, I’m in holiday mode. If you’ll be doing a lot of baking, cooking or entertaining this year, there are some things you can do in the next week or two to get your kitchen ready for the holiday season.

  1. Check your spice rack. If you do a lot of baking, you’re going to need nutmeg, ground cloves, cinnamon and more. Roasting a turkey calls for poultry seasonings. Pull out all your recipes now and see what spices you’ll be needing and then make sure you have plenty of them in the kitchen. And, don't forget the vanilla. Get a big bottle. 
  2. Inspect your bakeware and cookware. While you’re pulling out your recipes to check to make sure you have all your spices, also make sure you have enough cookie sheets, roasting pans and casserole dishes to make everything.
  3. Start saving reusable containers. Sending home leftovers with guests is made easier (and more eco-friendly) when you have plenty of clean, empty jars and plastic containers that they can take home and not have to return.
  4. Make room in the freezer. Clean out the freezer so you have enough room to store make-ahead cookies and leftovers from holiday dinners.  
  5. sharpening a knifeGet your knives sharpened. They’re probably due and carving the turkey and chopping onions will be easier with sharp knives.
  6. Start stocking your pantry. Right after Halloween ends, there are usually sales on flour, sugar, canned pumpkin, chocolate chips, and other holiday baking staples. Buy what goes on sale each week and put them away for when you’ll need them.
  7. Inspect your dishes, serving pieces and glassware. If every Thanksgiving you think to yourself, “Darn, I forgot to buy a second gravy boat again,” as you’re setting the table, this step is for you. If you host gatherings during the holidays, now is the time to replace any essential pieces that have broken over the years, to add the few pieces you’ve been meaning to add, or to discover that something has gone missing.
  8. Make sure your small, plug-in appliances are in working order. If your slow cooker, electric skillet, electric mixer, coffee maker, or blender or other small appliance only gets used during the holidays, make sure they’re in working order before you need them. 
  9. Stock up on cleaning supplies. If you’ve ever run out of dishwashing liquid on Thanksgiving while your sisters-in-law are hand-washing your grandmother’s china after dinner, you will probably never forget to stock up on dish soap and powder again. But, it’s good to make sure you have enough of all you need – dish soap and powder, counter disinfectants, rags and perhaps a roll or two of paper towels made from recycled paper.
  10. Clean thoroughly. Wipe down the baseboards, the ceiling fan blades, the cabinets and more. Do a thorough cleaning of all the things you don’t clean on a weekly basis just to get the kitchen looking good for the high season of cooking.

Do you have any other suggestions for getting your kitchen prepared for the upcoming festivities?

Related on MNN:

Inset photo of knife being sharpened: Oleksandr Briagin/Shutterstock

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.