What I love most about the holidays is the Crisp weather and all the food. Yummy turkey, homemade tamales, and posole.
Holidays feel so special with the family gatherings, the music, the lights. It’s all so magical.
However, the days leading up to the season can be pretty chaotic. From list planning to decorations and food preparations, it can feel exhausting just thinking about it.
I find that breaking things down into small manageable tasks helps me move forward rather than thinking about the big picture.
Starting with the center stage for the holiday – our kitchen. Here’s how to organize your fridge for the Holidays.
1. Clean Out and Sanitize Your Fridge
Goes without saying but in order to organize your fridge for the holidays, you will need to clean it out and disinfect it. Gather your cleaning supplies and put on some gloves because it’s about to get messy! Shelf by shelf, remove the contents and clean the glass and sides of the refrigerator. I suggest an environmentally friendly cleaner since we are cleaning what holds everything you eat.
For a powerful DIY cleaner, just mix together in a spray bottle:
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 1 cup hot water
- add 2 drops of your favorite essential oil.
2. Plan your meals around what you have in your refrigerator
One to two weeks leading up to your family gathering, you will need to plan accordingly to use up as much as your ingredients as possible, to make space in your refrigerator. As you have all your contents out, write a list of possible meals you could make out of the ingredients you have on hand. Then write out your shopping list for items you’re missing.
Planning your meals, for the holidays especially, will not only minimize food waste. But, it will also make space for the ingredients you will need for your holiday gathering. So take out a notepad, let’s write out a list.
3. Organize Your Fridge
Now that we have a clean and sparkly fridge, it’s time to put it all back together. Use containers like these ones to group and contain things inside your refrigerator. You can purchase them from Amazon! Having clear containers helps you see exactly what is inside while giving everything a home.
For example, all of the kid’s snacks in one, handmade sandwiches, condiments, fruit, and a few soda cans to keep cool in another, eggs are tucked away safely and if you keep more than a dozen on hand-these are stackable.
These bins also come in handy for meal planning and keeping your ingredients together, it allows you to simply take out the bin and get going.
4. Get rid of cardboard boxes
Boxes from the store take up a lot of space. Don’t you hate it when you reach for a yogurt in the box and realize its empty, but the last person that took one didn’t toss the box?! By getting rid of the boxes from the get-go you take the guesswork out of grocery shopping and save your sanity!
Use bins like the ones above to keep snacks on hand for the meal prep day. It will come in handy when your precious nieces and nephews tug at your skirt to say “Auntie, I’m hungry”. Simply pull out the bin and let them choose their favorite.
5. Create Zones
For a great visual on setting up zones in your refrigerator visit this illustration by Greatist.
Creating zones will allow you to see what you have on hand and rotate things out to create space for the next phase. To recap here are the phases:
phase one: Plan your meals around the first week to keep a streamlined refrigerator and make space for the ingredients for your holiday gathering.
Phase two: Enjoy your family gathering with all the items you stocked up on.
Phase three: Now you have space for your leftover turkey, desserts, etc. Time to pull out recipes for the leftover turkey and fixings. In our family, we call it “recalentado” and we gather again the next morning or afternoon for more family hugs and laughter.
6. Share the goodness
Have some foil, Tupperware, and sandwich bags to send your loved ones home with leftovers. Having same size Tupperware allows you to maximize your refrigerator because it’s stackable. No stuffed refrigerator, here.
Don’t forget to utilize your plastic grocery bags when you send your loved ones home with fixings! Check out my Blog on 5 Creative Ways to Reuse Your Grocery Bags!
What are you looking forward to the most this holiday season? What kind of food does your family traditionally have? Are there any tips you have found that simplify the holidays for you? Please share!