CLEANING/ORGANIZING AREA: KITCHEN Kitchen Closets: Empty them! Pull everything out. Use trash bags, boxes, etc to sort and redistribute your items. Remember - places would love donations of kitchen items. If you have not used something in a few months, chances are you just will not use it so donate it. Kill the clutter! Kitchen Cabinets: Tackle one by one if the job seems overwhelming. Start above counters, on one side of the room and work in one direction & when done, tackle cabinets below the counter. Save the under-sink area for last, for me it was the hardest. Check any open boxes for bugs. Don't forget to wipe down empty shelves, re-line (if necessary). If you store medicines in the cabinets, check expiration dates. Verify prescription items with your pharmacist. Throw out medicines that "didn't work", expired or tasted so horrible you won't use them, etc. Don't forget to empty drawers, clean inside, then replace items. Get rid of duplicate items (utensils) if you can. Get Rid Of: Old, currently unused cleaners Cans & Bottles of food over 6 months old unless there is a later expiration date Old cracker/cookie boxes probably stale Pans & pots that you don't use, have duplicates of, are in horrible shape, etc Extra serving dishes (store them elsewhere unless you have lots of room) until needed. Donate if you have not used them in the past six months Clean all appliances inside and out (refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker--use vinegar once through, followed by several rounds of water-- stove vent, etc.) Sink: Use a toothbrush to get rid of gritty dirt at faucet. Clean drains, disposal, etc Use favorite cleaner to make "shine". Pantry: Use same method as for the cabinets. don't forget to wipe down while empty. Try to combine duplicate boxes of things to throw out that which you haven't and probably won't use. When this is done, you will probably want to dust any appropriate items, vacuum from ceiling to floor, including vents/ a/c ducts, clean any windows, and sweep & wash the kitchen floor (I always do that last!) As far as I'm concerned this is probably one of the hardest rooms in the house. If you have tile on your counters or table, this is a good time to spray them down and clean and reseal the grout. Be ruthless! Go through every drawer, cabinet, counter. Did you take time to do all that work and sell yourself short? Did your Mama tell you a job worth doing is worth doing well??? Well go ahead and "git": make that kitchen shine. Go through the spices and the cookbooks again. I know there are things you still really need to do. HOLIDAY PREP Make one batch of Holiday Goodies. Make one extra meal for freezer again labeled HOLIDAY MEAL. Buy two canned food items from menus (get 2 of each item, one to use and one to donate to food drive). Buy 1/8th of TO BUY gifts. Save all receipts, note return policy before buying. Ask for gift boxes. Wrap and label packages. If needing to ship, get some shipping boxes now and store packages in them. Work at least 1 hour a day on homemade gifts. Checkpoint Week! Evaluate Your Progress: If unable to find an item for a person on list contact them or their family for ideas. If a homemade gift is not going well, set it aside for after Christmas and decide on another gift. Buy pumpkin for Halloween. Review costume plans with children.