There is nothing more jolting than the realization you have ignored the shortcomings of one of the most important spaces in your home, on one of the most important days of the year: your kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. Whether it’s a lack of counter space as you are preparing multiple dishes, an unintuitive system for storing dishes, an inability to find kitchen utensils, or just the shortage of pantry space for extra spices and ingredients to feed a crowd, Thanksgiving can quickly become a frustrating performance in keeping calm and putting food on the table before you and your guests get cranky.
While Thanksgiving will likely be on the smaller scale for many of us this year due to COVID-19, and the celebration is only days away so it may be too late to undertake a major remodeling project, the holidays are the perfect time to take note of the current challenges in your kitchen. Knowing what issues are interfering with the function of your kitchen will make working with the Queen City Kitchen and Bath consultants a seamless experience! Let’s talk about how kitchen trends this year, what you can do before the holidays to increase the efficiency of your kitchen and your Thanksgiving celebration, and how making plans to modify and redesign your kitchen will make your kitchen a hit for the holidays in years to come.
Trends to try before the holidays this year:
The season of giving
Sure, there’s something about spring cleaning that makes us feel more motivated to deep clean and give away what no longer serves us, but what about before the holidays? When you’re breaking out and cleaning all the utensils and fancy dinnerware that maybe only get used twice a year, you may stumble upon the blender that never made it out of its box, the old thermometer that doesn’t give an accurate reading anymore, or the sippy cups from years past collecting dust in the back of your cabinet and realize how much important real estate is being taken up by things you no longer use.
Clean out your cabinets, sort, and donate! If it no longer serves your family, it hasn’t been used in over two years, and it has no sentimental value, then it may be time to give it a new home. Some of us accidentally find ourselves hoarding Tupperware or hanging on to years-old mismatched silverware or plates from old apartments, roommates, and coworkers – decide what you actually use and need, and cut down on the excess.
Just because it fits in your kitchen, stacked precariously on the top shelf (ahem, we’re looking at you, Tupperware), doesn’t mean it should stay. As we’ll discuss in the next tip, one of the best ways to cultivate a more efficient kitchen is to be able to see and access all of your food and kitchen utensils. That’s going to require more space!
All the organization hacks
If during the past few months you’ve found yourself binging shows like The Home Edit or endlessly scrolling through Pinterest, fantasizing about a picture-perfect pantry, you’re not alone. Organization is hot on many homeowner’s to-do lists and for good reason – organization brings together function and aesthetic, while solving for major issues like lack of storage and excessive clutter. Thanksgiving is all about great food, so tackling kitchen organization is a perfect November project.
There are popular aesthetic choices in organization trends right now. First up, are acrylic containers. Acrylic containers can be found almost anywhere, from Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, or at discount stores like Burlington, Marshalls and TJ Maxx, although at the latter stores you may be subject to an inventory where “what-you-see-is-what-you-get.” What makes them so great? To start, the clear acrylic containers enable you to take into account your inventory at a glance. This is so important to avoid over-purchasing or letting food expire away if it’s out of sight.
The easiest place to start is with bagged items that are currently sitting in bulky cardboard boxes or half-heartedly closed by clothes pins and plastic bags (e.g. rice, cereal, pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, etc.). Other items perfect for acrylic containers are loose snack packs, sodas, cans, and spices, many of which have containers made specifically to fit those items and prevent spillage. Before buying, you’ll want to measure your cabinets’ length, width, and height to ensure that the containers you buy are going to fit perfectly.
Shelf risers or wire racks make the most out of the space between shelves, totally transforming the amount of space you have for storage. Tiered shelving is great for similarly shaped items like cans or spices. Consider adding hooks to the inside of cabinet walls to hang things like coffee cups, oven mitts, and utensils. All of these solutions give the food, ingredients, and tools in your pantry more visibility!
If purchasing acrylic containers seems like a big investment, don’t feel as if you have to do it all at once. You’d be surprised at the number of containers you come across during your normal consumption, from empty glass sauce jars, mason jars, or even take out containers.
Remember too, that storage trends in 2020 are less about hiding everything from sight, and more about keeping your dishes and tools in convenient, intuitive spots.
And, don’t forget labeling! Labels are absolutely key to keeping your pantry organized. You don’t need a Cricut to make labels; scotch tape and a sharpie will work just fine, or ordering pre-made labels like the black sticker labels that come with a chalk marker. It really depends on your level of effort and desired aesthetic. You may be inclined to mark expiration dates on your labels to ensure that your organization system is also sustainable and track-able.
Clean all kitchen appliances and tools a week before!
There’s little more embarrassing than having worked to achieve a spotless kitchen, only to have a guest want to reheat a dish to find that the microwave hasn’t been wiped down in weeks. Make a list, and start your holiday cleaning well ahead of time! Not only will you want your kitchen clean for your guests, but having a clean and organized kitchen will make for a more enjoyable cooking experience.
Feeling like your kitchen style is outdated? Modernize it with new lighting!
The past few years have seen a major decline in the Tuscan style kitchen, with the darker browns and beiges falling out of popularity, and clean, bare minimalism on the rise. If you feel your kitchen is out of style, what’s the fastest way to brighten your kitchen?
Your kitchen on Thanksgiving should be a visual experience as much as it is one of taste and smell. Highlight your favorite accents in your kitchen, and draw attention to what you love using accentuated lighting. Add overhead pendant lights to your kitchen island, or install under-cabinet lighting to better prepare meals, read recipes, and easily find what you’re looking for. This will make your kitchen feel larger, brighter, and modern.
Must-Have Kitchen Tool Upgrades for Thanksgiving 2020
This season should be a no-nonsense day of spending time with family and friends you may not have been able to see all year. Have what you need on hand to make cooking your favorite Thanksgiving dishes swiftly and enjoyably—that may mean upgrading to the tools that will make cooking these special dishes so much easier.
Between the casseroles, pies, and turkey roast, there’s usually so much preparation work that you have to plan your grocery shopping a week ahead, and start prepping the turkey and other dishes one to two days before Thanksgiving. Cut out the stress by ensuring you have the right tools on hand, and that they’re ready to be used! In no order of importance or as an exhaustive list, we would recommend making sure that you have a full set of measuring cups, a sharp peeler for any carrots, potatoes, apples, or squash, stainless steel measuring bowls, and fresh salt and pepper grinders. Sharpen all of your knives the week before to prevent any dull or rough chopping.
Stainless steel turkey baster
For a baster that will last for years to come, stainless steel is the way to go; it won’t melt and it’s dishwasher safe!
Carving knife and fork
Investing in a carving knife and fork set will absolutely be a game changer on turkey day. A nice carving knife will make it easy to slice and serve up your turkey in clean, even cuts, while the fork stabilizes the turkey.
Maybe you don’t cook large birds but twice a year, but a solid, quality carving board is worth the investment, and the beauty of the woodwork can make it a great kitchen wall-hanging for when it’s not being used.
Change your mashed potato game for the better with a ricer this year. Forget about attempting to smash your boiled potatoes with forks or spoons into an uneven mash. Ricers give your potatoes an evenly dry and fluffy texture, are easy to clean, and you simply won’t want to make mashes any other way once you’ve used one.
Make everyone feel close, even if they’re far away.
The best way to cultivate your perfect kitchen this Thanksgiving is to have your loved ones who matter most to you around you, whether that’s in-person or via video chat this year. While the kitchen may seem like the one space in the house where access to technology seems the least important, the kitchen is a surprisingly useful space for some of our favorite technology.
Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s voice assistants are excellent kitchen companions for asking quick questions on measurement conversions, bake times, or weather but also for playing music, news, and podcasts as you cook. Amazon’s Echo 5, Google’s Nest Hub Max, or Facebook’s Portal are all tablets designed to connect you via video to whoever you want to talk to, and you can do it hands-free, right in your kitchen on Thanksgiving.
Kitchen renovation plans for 2021
If tool and appliance upgrades don’t increase the efficiency of your kitchen, it may be time to consider a new floor plan. The floor plan is an essential part of every home renovation, influencing every part of your renovation budget—especially construction costs.
Open floor plans
In an open floor plan, walls do not exist to designate separate areas of the room; this way, your living area, kitchen, and dining room may all share one space. Open floor plans tend to be more modern, where the home feels more spacious and welcoming since each room flows into the next without doors to open and close, or walls to create traffic. There are real benefits to an open floor plan – without interior walls and doors, people within the home can communicate more effectively across rooms, as well as visually interact.
Traditional/closed floor plans
In a closed floor plan, each area of the home is designated as a separate space by enclosing the room with walls and limiting the entrances and exits to particular doorways. This is traditional, since homes were typically designed to produce private, specialized areas. Privacy is key here; unlike open floor plans, the privacy that a traditional floor plan gives is starting to make a comeback. This may be in part due to the proceedings of 2020, with many working from home, kids homeschooling, and everyone in the family wanting to feel like they have the option to find a private, quiet place in the home.
Decide what you want from your kitchen.
Whether you have an open floor plan or a closed floor plan, the main thing is that your kitchen works. A kitchen doesn’t have to be massive to be functional. While open concepts and copious counter space are visually appealing, what you truly need is enough preparation space, storage, and seating for your family.
This Thanksgiving, pay attention to what works and doesn’t work in your kitchen. Are you missing out on socializing with your guests while preparing the Thanksgiving meal, or do you prefer the solitude to focus on your tasks? Did you tear apart the cabinet to find the one spice you knew you brought home last week? Are you two dishes in and realizing you’re completely out of counter space? Were you cleaning up the aftermath of Thanksgiving for hours out of your tile backsplash or struggling over a stain in your countertops? Noting your frustrations is a great way to begin visualizing what you want out of your kitchen, and the perfect place to start your conversation with Queen City Kitchen and Bath.
Fall in love with your kitchen again with the Queen City Kitchen and Bath team.
Our design experts will provide seamless consultation from start to finish for your next project. It’s never too early to get started on your kitchen remodel, especially the ones you have in tow for next year’s holiday events! Contact Queen City Kitchen and Bath today to discuss your kitchen project.