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Tips to Prep Your Kitchen for a Party

From preparing the meal to serving drinks and cleaning up afterwards, a lot goes on in the kitchen. Add our tips for getting your kitchen ready to your party-planning checklist, because getting it clean, stocked and organized makes executing any size party easier.

The holidays are the season of parties. Whether you're planning to host a holiday party for 50 or an intimate dinner for ten, your kitchen plays a big role.

Clean Ahead of Time!

It may sound like a waste of time to clean your kitchen before a party when you know you'll have to do it again afterwards. However, a clean place to prepare food and drinks is easier to work in and more sanitary for everyone. In addition to wiping surfaces, mopping floors and washing dishes, complete these extra tasks to get your kitchen party-ready.

Clean out your refrigerator to make room for fresh holiday ingredients. Then, wipe off the shelves and place baking soda inside to stop flavor transfer between foods and keep them tasting fresher, longer. This is especially important if you plan to store pre-made party food for a few days.

Get countertops, cutting boards and oven tops ready for chopping and cooking with natural, food safe baking soda. Sprinkle it onto a clean damp sponge, wipe clean, rinse thoroughly and let dry.

Use antibacterial wipes or disinfectant spray and a spray to wipe spots that hold germs, but are often overlooked with routine cleaning. These include appliance handles, cabinet pulls and doorknobs

Organize Yourself!

Before you start preparing food for your holiday party make a list of what you need from basic ingredients to special occasion cooking tools.

Use your list to assess the kitchen a few days before the party. Pull everything out including non-perishable ingredients, serving platters and cooking tools. Take a quick shopping trip to fill in the gaps.

Perform a trial run of your tasks for the party. Test appliances (like mixers or blenders, especially those you don't use during the rest of the year), make sure serving dishes fit in the refrigerator and practice any cooking techniques you're not familiar with.

Make the most of your dishwasher. Sprinkle a handful of baking soda in the bottom to absorb food odors that linger before its full for the next run.

Create Work Zones in the Kitchen

To help holiday party prep run smoothly, create zones throughout your kitchen for different tasks. Designating separate areas helps prevent confusion when multiple people are in the kitchen.Consider setting up these zones for your party:

baking area
spot for chopping vegetables
place to sit dishes ready for serving
drop-off for dirty dishes
trash can and/or recycling area (Sprinkle baking soda in the garbage between layers to keep the kitchen fresh.)
area guests can gather comfortably, but out of the way

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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