Thanksgiving 2016 – Your Practical Guide!

Practical Thanksgiving Guide
The Thanksgiving 2016 countdown is on. We have less than three weeks to plan and execute a fabulous Thanksgiving family event. If reading those words made your Halloween candy headache come back, we can help! Thanksgiving is about time together and a traditional meal – not about weeks of stress or trying to out perfect Martha Stewart.

Early November

  • Now is the time to finalize your Thanksgiving guest list. Take care of the calls, emails, and texts to finalize who is coming to your house for the big turkey meal. Let your family know who will be joining you for Thanksgiving and let them know you will need everyone’s help in getting your home ready.
  • It is time to clear away any dining room clutter. The entire family can help. As a part of playtime, children can return toys and arts and crafts to their bedrooms. You and your spouse can put away items which don’t belong in the dining room. Resist hiding the clutter in a bedroom or closet to be dealt with later. If your dining room (kitchen, pantry, entryway) is buried, and clearing it out seems like an impossible task, a professional organizer can help.
  • Will you have out of town guests? Will family members be spending the night? Ensure you have clean bed linens already on the guest beds and clean towels for overnight guests. Borrow an Aero bed from family or friends to accommodate guests if you don’t have a spare bedroom.
  • Will you have enough seating space for your guests? Ask friends/family to borrow extra folding chairs/tables before buying your own. Will you need a high chair or booster seat? Borrow from a friend if possible. Borrowing instead of buying these seldom used items means you don’t need to store bulky items all year. This strategy will help keep additional clutter out of your home. When borrowing these items, make clear plans as to when you will be returning them.
  • Consider how many table cloths and napkins you will need. If your table linens need ironing, take care of that now. Alternately, take the tablecloths and napkins to the dry cleaners and have them pressed. There is no shame in outsourcing time consuming work.
  • Once your dining room is clutter free you may choose to decorate your home for Thanksgiving/Fall. Purge as you decorate. Donate or toss any decorations which are broken, dated or don’t meet your decorating style. Remember, a little decoration goes a long way! Your home will feel festive as soon as the turkey begins to roast and lovely smells permeate your home.

Mid November Tasks

  • By this point you will be planning your menu. Considering your guests’ special dietary needs and restrictions and whether your event is a potluck, write out a list of what each guest will bring and what you need to provide. This is a great time to purchase hard to find and non-perishable food items.
  • To make space for everything that is coming into your home, this is a great time to clean out your pantry and refrigerator. As you go through your pantry, set aside food items you will need for your Thanksgiving meal. In addition to your shopping list, create a DO NOT BUY list – of ingredients you already own. Spices are a great example of this, they are costly and we may forget we already own what we need and buy them again.
  • While clearing out your pantry you will toss expired and unpopular items and free up space. The same goes for your refrigerator. Clear out and wipe down the fridge shelves and drawers in preparation for the influx of ingredients and Thanksgiving dishes.

Third week of November

  • Take out any serving dishes and platters you will be using. If you are using silver cutlery, take it out and polish it. This is a good time to finalize seating arrangements. As it gets closer to the big day, you can begin to set the table.

Thanksgiving Day and Beyond

  • Your guests will need to store their coats, handbags and shoes while in your home. Clear space in your coat closet, entryway or mud room. For tips on organizing your entryway or mudroom, check out our blog called “The Key to an Organized Entryway.”
  • Enjoy your event! For a Thanksgiving Day cooking timeline try Cooks Illustrated. This Thanksgiving guide from Epicurious is also very thorough.
  • Once the big day is over, return any borrowed items. Put away dishes, silver, and platters. If you come across linens, serving pieces or decorations which you no longer care for or which are not functional, consider donating them. Have table linens cleaned and pressed and ready for your next event. Launder guest sheets and towels and prepare guest bedroom for your next round of visitors. Wrapping up these post-holiday tasks will give you a leg up on the next big holiday!