9 Classic Real Simple Tips (That We Love Repeating)

Listen, we’ve been helping readers organize and prep for the holidays for a long time. These are the tricks that we tell our own friends and family in real life—and couldn’t resist reprinting for you.

1

Clear the Refrigerator.

tabletop-dinner-party
Photo by David Meredith

Put vinegar, soy sauce, and unopened condiments and jellies in the pantry. (They will be fine.) Apples and potatoes can sit in a cool, dry place, like the basement or the car trunk.

2

Tape Up Recipes.

Stick them at eye level on cabinets. They will be easy to see as you cook, and it keeps counters clear.

3

Use the Microwave.

It’s like an insulated cooler. Keep dishes warm for up to 30 minutes inside. (Don’t turn it on.)



4

Hire a Teenager.

Don’t coerce your nephew to eat at the little kids’ table; pay him $20. Everyone is happy.

5

Sit at the Head of the Table.

You can slip away to the kitchen more easily.

6

Buy Eight Bottles of Wine.

For 12 adults, plan on four bottles each of red and white wine.



7

And Don’t Open Any Yourself.

It’s a great task for a guest milling around in the kitchen. Ask her to pour you a glass.

8

Resist the Urge to Clean Up Mid-Event.

Clearing plates is OK; turning on a faucet is not. When the host walks away from the mess, everyone else relaxes, too.

9

Relocate for Dessert.

Move to the living room! Guests can stretch their legs and switch up conversation partners.