12 Things to Declutter From Your Kitchen Before the Holidays

'Tis the season to clear the clutter!

The holidays are filled with traditions, and many of them center around the kitchen. There's the once-a-year baking and candy-making marathon, the special meal preparations for an endless array of relatives and friends, not to mention the usual day-to-day meals and cleaning and treats for surprise drop-in visitors.

While we may love every minute, all the activity can become stressful if your kitchen is cluttered with so much stuff you can't find what you need or even have room to roll out a pie crust. Now is the time to prep your kitchen so you are ready for the holidays.

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These 12 spots in your kitchen are the key things to declutter before the holidays.

1. Countertops

Does anyone have enough counter space during the holidays (or any time of year, to be honest)? You can have more if you declutter the countertops now. Move all non-essential items to their proper storage spot or purge them through donation, trash, or recycling. Schoolwork, junk mail, small appliances that aren't used every day, and those boxes of cereal should disappear.

2. The Pantry

It's time to take stock of what's in your pantry. Decluttering may not seem worth it because it involves taking everything out, checking expiration dates, and putting it all back in an orderly way, but it will definitely be a time saver later.

Check canned goods for expiration dates and discard any bulging cans. Pasta, dry mixes, and snack items should be checked for expiration dates and insect activity. If you have foods that are still fresh and you just don't use them, consider a donation to a food bank. They are always in need, even when it isn't a holiday season.

This is a perfect time to transfer boxed items into transparent containers so you can see at a glance what you have on hand.

Pro Tip: As you're taking inventory, keep a list app open on your phone to make a list of any pantry items and supplies you need before the rush is on. That way, you'll be sure to have that can of pumpkin puree or jar of sprinkles when you need it.

3. Spices and Baking Staples

Pay special attention to the spice rack when you're decluttering before the holidays. Most spices don't "go bad" but they do lose their potency over time, especially ground ones. Toss the expired items and load up on fresh flavors. Flour and powdered, granulated, and brown sugars should be checked to make sure there hasn't been an invasion of insects and that you have plenty on hand.

4. Food Storage Supplies

We all have that drawer or cabinet that's jammed with containers with no lid or a bunch of lids that fit nothing. Go through your stash of food storage containers and toss the ones that are stained and discolored or don't have a lid. And now's the time to make sure you have plenty of food wrap, foil, storage bags, and take-home containers for leftovers?

5. Refrigerator and Freezer

Cleaning out the refrigerator should be simple because you do it weekly, right? If not, toss spoiled food and check any condiments for expiration dates. It's a good time to decide if you really need to store some of that stuff like bottled water in the fridge.

Take a mystery tour through the freezer and plan daily meals around what you find, or toss unusable items. That'll make room for holiday purchases and leftovers.

6. Dishes and Glassware

If you like to use special holiday dishes and glasses, you need to make room for them in the cabinets. Getting rid of some items (novelty glasses, chipped dishes), or putting your everyday dishes in storage for a short time will make the space you need.

7. Summer Plastics

Plastic cups and plates are ideal for outdoor summertime entertaining—but probably not your holiday dinner. Find a different spot to stash the melamine and plastic dishes that you don't need over the winter months.

8. Grilling Tools

Unless you are a year-round griller, move the grilling tools out of the kitchen into storage. If there are tools like a fish-grilling basket you've never used taking up space, donate or sell it. Toss any broken items.

9. Cookware and Small Appliances

Do a reality check with your cookware and bakeware. When was the last time you used that tagine or the Elmo-shaped cake pan? The same goes for small appliances—especially those specialty appliances that can only perform one cooking task. Donate the rice cooker and add a multi-functional appliance to your holiday wish list.

10. Dishcloths

Go through that drawer full of dishcloths and discard the ones with huge stains and holes. The same applies to your singed oven mitts.

11. Tablecloths, Placemats, and Napkins

They may just be kitchen-adjacent, but it's time to go through your table linens. Dispose of stained and worn items or turn them into cleaning rags. Donate linens that just don't fit your style any longer. If you're a paper goods-only household, take inventory of what you have on hand.

12. Cleaning Supplies

Declutter under the sink and in the cleaning closet and recycle empty containers or combine partially used products (don't mix and match!). Stock up on dishwashing supplies, dusters, and trash bags before the guests arrive.

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