Organize Your Kitchen
Double check your spice cabinet: toss any old or questionable spices and make sure you have the Thanksgiving staples such as nutmeg, cinnamon, sage, thyme, pumpkin pie spice and cloves. Most ground spices keep for up to six months, while whole spices keep for about a year. Also, purchase any dry goods now that you will need next week: pantry items such as canned goods, dry bread for stuffing, cooking oils and snacks.
If you will be serving the dinner on fine china or with silverware, go ahead and make these items available. Polish the silver, wipe down the plates and wash and iron the cloth napkins. If you plan on serving on the dining room table, it can act as a collection spot for all of your dinnerware after it has been cleaned and prepped. Additionally, it’s a good idea to sharpen your knives in preparation for next week’s cooking.
In preparation for hosting overnight guests, take into consideration their needs in regards to guest bedrooms and bathrooms. Stock the medicine cabinet with extra toothbrushes, toothpaste and lotions; place shampoo and conditioner in the shower along with a fresh bar of soap; wash all of your guest towels and give the bathroom a once over for any out-of-place items.
If this is your first Thanksgiving, and you’re attempting to do all the preparation while maintaining a full-time job, don’t fret—there are many ways to delegate the work load. You can start by asking one of your in town guests to help. You can also check-out the prepared menu options at local groceries (Whole Foods has a few different pre-set menus, ranging in price according to headcount). Just as long as you pace yourself and stay organized, you will get everything done without all the mess.