Each year I check in with the North Pole for tips on organizing my home for the holidays. Think about it, if anyone knows about organization it has to be Santa’s elves, right? Millions of gifts to prep and sort out each year, making sure everything is in tip-top shape, and keeping everything on a super tight schedule, they have to be the masters of organizing, storing, and preparation.

Since they know how hectic the holidays can be, the elves are always happy to share some of their best kept secrets with us in the hopes that they will help you have a merrier holiday season. But, they did have one request. They asked that in return, you share some of your secrets with them. They will be watching the comments section of the blog so be sure and post your own tips there!

How to Get Your Kitchen Ready for the Holidays FAST:

1. Make your list, then check it twice! – Santa really has this process figured out. It’s time to take a look at what you have and where it “lives”. Do an inventory list of all the items in your cabinets, drawers and pantry. Determine what you actually use and what you don’t, then look at their placement. Do the locations make functional sense or do you have your pots and pans in the cabinet farthest from the stove? Take note of the items you use the most and be sure they are stored efficiently so that you can quickly get to them.

2. Naughty and Nice Boxes – Ok, show of hands…who still has a set of those old, white Tupperware salt and pepper shakers? Remember, the elves know everything so you can’t hide them and since you likely don’t actually use them, it’s time to let them go. Label two boxes with “Keep” (nice) and “Let Go” (naughty). Then, go through your inventory list and start making some space. Anything in the kitchen that you never or rarely use needs to go into the naughty box. Give it to someone who will actually use it, sell it in a garage sale, or simply toss it out (trust me, it’s liberating). For those sentimental items that you just can’t let go of (seriously, let go of the shakers), get an extra box for storage. Wrap them well and box them up, then put them in the garage. Hang onto them until your children are older, then hand them off to junk up their homes!

3. Hang your pots and pans by the chimney stove with care – It’s time to have a place for everything and everything in its place! Take all of the items in your “nice” box and find it a new, improved home. Place things within easy reach of where they will be used most. And, anything that isn’t a kitchen item, needs to get out of the kitchen! Designate space efficiently and you’ll be amazed by the functionality of your “new” kitchen!

4. There’s always room for stocking stuffers – You will absolutely purchase or receive new kitchen items in the future. If you’re really good, Santa may even leave you that new stand mixer or Keurig Coffee Brewer (Both are, without a doubt, fixtures in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen. Trust me.) under the tree! When this happens, you don’t want to have to redo all of your hard work in order to find it a home. Leave some space in your cabinets, pantry and on the countertop to welcome these new gadgets and make them feel at home.

5. Be good all year round, not just at Christmas – Now, comes the hardest part – keeping your kitchen in order. If your home is like mine, everyone in the house is on a mission to sabotage your hard work. This time, we won’t let them win! Bribery and instant gratification work for the kids, so why not us? Last slice of cheesecake sitting lonely in the fridge? Brownies taunting you from the dish on the counter? – Do a quick run-through of the kitchen and make sure everything is in it’s place and put all the clutter where it belongs. Then, reward yourself with that slice of cheesecake or brownie. It’s perfectly ok to hide it while you tidy up so no one else gets it.

An organized kitchen will definitely make your holidays easier and more rewarding. Knowing where everything is when you have 15 people waiting at the table is a Christmas or Hanukkah Miracle itself! I hope these tips help you out this holiday season and that you get something really special for all that hard work.

Happy Holidays!