SOURCE: Ashley Furniture HomeStore

December 16, 2013 09:05 ET

Prep Your Kitchen for the Holiday Rush in 10 Easy Steps

Keep Your Kitchen Running Smoothly This Holiday Season With Tips From Ashley Furniture HomeStore

ARCADIA, WI--(Marketwired - Dec 16, 2013) - The kitchen is the heart and soul of your home -- especially during the bustling holiday season! If you have guests coming to town or you're planning to cook up a festive holiday feast, a little kitchen organization can go a long way in helping you enjoy the season and avoid the stress.

"Preparing your home for a holiday celebration or visiting guests takes a little time and forethought," says Brenda Dillon, VP of Merchandising. "But with just a few simple preparations, you can have a beautiful and organized kitchen in no time."

Ashley Furniture HomeStore offers 10 easy steps for a holiday-friendly kitchen:

1. Expand your kitchen table. If you have an expandable table with a leaf, now's the time to use it! Even if extra guests won't be dining in the kitchen, it can double as a temporary holding area for baked goods and other items.
2. Be creative with seating. It's great to have kitchen helpers and visitors. But if there just aren't enough chairs around your kitchen table, create a few new spots to sit by placing extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen.
3. Add extra counter space. If counter space is at a premium, consider placing a stylish baker's rack in the kitchen. Not only will it create a much-needed surface for baked goods, utensils, etc., it's also a great place to add festive trinkets, for a touch of holiday spirit.
4. Declutter. Don't wait until guests arrive to begin kitchen organization projects. Make room for extra plates, cups, utensils, etc. by cleaning out junk drawers, cabinets and countertops. 
5. Keep items handy, but out of the kitchen. No place to put everything? Take advantage of dining room storage pieces, whether it's a formal buffet, server or hutch. If you're in a pinch, a desk, bookcase or entertainment center will do. No storage is off limits when it comes to creating extra space!
6. Create a coffee/tea station. Give guests easy access to a hot beverage without having to brave the crowded kitchen. It's a smart move that can really cut down on unnecessary foot traffic. Move your coffee station into the living room (on an accent table) or dining room (on a buffet, server or dining room table) so you have plenty of room to work when trying to fix meals. Another idea is to provide a small coffee maker in each guest room; be sure to include creamer, sweetener, stirrers and cups.
7. Clean out the fridge. Inspect your refrigerator and get rid of any items that have passed their expiration dates to make extra room for all of your holiday food!
8. Prep food ahead of time. If you have any dishes or baked items that can be created well ahead of your guests' arrival, it can really cut down on the last minute holiday rush. That goes for holiday dishes, as well as daily dinners for visiting guests! Crock pot meals like pot roast, gumbo, baked beans, chicken and dumplings, clam chowder, chili, etc. can be your best friends. You can also freeze meals well in advance and reheat as needed.
9. Do some childproofing. If young children are coming to visit, be sure that your kitchen (and the rest of your home) is safe. Ask parents ahead of time what needs to be done. You could even ask them to bring hardware along, like baby gates and cabinet locks. To be extra safe move potentially-dangerous cleaners and medicines from lower to higher cabinets.
10. Add a festive flair. Whether it's a fresh wreath, a lovely holiday centerpiece, or a scarlet poinsettia, be sure to make room for holiday-inspired items in your kitchen and throughout your home.

For other helpful lifestyle tips and home makeover ideas, or to browse the hottest new furniture collections, visit AshleyFurnitureHomeStore.com.

About Ashley Furniture HomeStore
Ashley Furniture HomeStore, the #1 furniture retailer in the United States, delivers furniture and mattresses to customers at over 480 independently owned and operated locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Japan. Ashley Furniture HomeStore is an exclusive provider of furniture from Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., the largest furniture manufacturer in the United States. "Like" Ashley Furniture HomeStore on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, or see their design-focused boards on Pinterest.

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