10 Easy Steps for Prepping Your Kitchen for the Holidays

It’s soon to be THAT time of year, prepping your house for the onslaught of holiday entertaining is something of a necessity! It’s officially holiday party time where you have holiday potlucks, gingerbread house building parties, and extravagant dinner parties. It’s also a time that can get pretty stressful if you’ve decided to host a festive get-together for friends, family or both! Here are ten easy steps to help avoid the stress and making sure your kitchen is in top shape before the holidays hit.

1. Purge Old Food

Set an afternoon aside to clear out all old food items in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. You will not only be getting rid of expired and unwanted items you’ve forgotten about, but you’ll also be creating more room for all those holiday culinary creations. Make more room in a crowded freezer by taking things out of their bulky boxed packaging and storing food in resealable plastic bags. Discard foods that show signs of freezer burn, and place food items that you’ll need up front and center. While your at it, take a quick moment to give your fridge shelves a good wipe down. The quick clean will make your fridge feel fresh thru out the holidays.

2. Check Your Spices and Oils

Check the “best by” dates on all the spices and oils you plan on using. When in doubt, throw out all spices or oils over a year old as well as any that don’t have an obvious aroma when opened. Did you know that spices and oils can go rancid or lose their flavor and scent entirely?  Some spices that you might need this holiday season are poultry seasoning, thyme, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract, and sage. Making sure you have those in stock before the holidays is a good item to put on your to-do list.

3. Clean Your Appliances

Cleaning your appliances is one of those chores that is easy to put off. A simple cleaning tool for any of your household appliances is ammonia. Inexpensive ammonia, baking soda, or plain white vinegar can help to loosen and dissolve those tough messes when dealing with your appliances. Never mix ammonia with other strong cleaning agents, such as bleach or commercial oven cleaners. If you have a gas oven, make sure the pilot light is out and the gas has been turned off before you start cleaning. Also make sure you check each appliance you plan to use – microwave oven, stovetop, oven, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, crockpots, food processor, mixer and blender. Nothing better than the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie! A clean oven insures that is all you smell…

4. Wash Dishes, Flatware, Glasses, and Linens

A few days before the bustle of preparations, pull out any special dishes, glassware, flatware and serving pieces and give them a good wash. It’s one preparation that can be done easily ahead of time before the kitchen gets super busy with the hustle and bustle of food prep.

5. Check For Restocking

Save yourself some time and be sure you have the supplies you need food and supply-wise. You may think your pantry is well-stocked but double-check just in case. Do any of your guests have food allergies?  Are they vegetarian, vegan, etc.? Take these into account and prepare accordingly. No one wants to be spending their time on a holiday hunting down a can of French’s fried onions.

6. Start Meal Planning

Prep what you can ahead of time. Most casseroles and potato dishes can be put in a baking pan ahead of time, and vegetables can be chopped and stored, too. Cookie dough is another easy one to prep and freeze. Having a schedule will keep things organized and allow your guests to know when and how to help. Bake one thing for your freezer once a week starting now for your busy time later.

10 Easy Steps for Prepping Your Kitchen for the Holidays

7. Sharpen Knives

Start the season off right with sharp knives. To use a sharpening steel, hold the steel in your left hand and the knife in your right hand, with the cutting edge toward you. Lay the blade on top of the steel and raise the back of the knife 20 degrees. Place the heel of the blade at the tip of the steel and using light pressure draw the edge across the steel in a sweeping, curved motion. When in doubt take them to a professional to be sharpened. No one wants to have to hack away at their honey-baked ham!

8. De-Clutter Your Pantry

You want to start off your holiday plans with spending time organizing your pantry, cabinets, and fridge. Just like cleaning your fridge in step 1, throw away any expired or rancid food. If you find there are things you just don’t use, it’s the perfect time of year to give to a food drive. Another great way to organize is to pour your flour, sugar, chocolate chips, etc. into canisters or old jelly jars and label them. This gives a cute and organized look to your kitchen.

9. Child-Proof Your Kitchen

First make sure any young children can’t get a hold of any potentially harmful objects, such as matches, lighters, sharp utensils and household cleaners, by storing them in upper cabinets or by using child-safety latches. When cooking, unplug appliances not in use and wind up all cords and try to use the back burners of the stove as much as possible. Make sure all electrical outlets are covered when not in use.

10. Keep Kitchen Decorations Minimal

Here at Kitchens Unlimited we love our holiday decorations. But, decorations can often get in the way if you do a lot of cooking or baking. If you want to spruce up your kitchen for the holidays, add some fern garland to your windowsill or hang mistletoe from an arch. Keep decorations off the counters and away from the pantry. Another great and fun way to decorate this holiday is to show off what you made! Display the pies and cookies on a cute glass cake plate.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen?

All that time in your kitchen make you realize a remodel is on your wish list? It’s never too early to start planing. Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients all over the San Francisco East Bay since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood!


We take designing a beautiful kitchen for our clients very seriously, focusing on creating a kitchen space that is both functional & beautiful. We love to provide insight and education to our clients while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in.  Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel?  Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.


10 Steps You Need To Follow When Choosing An Interior Designer

10 Steps You Need To Follow When Choosing An Interior Designer

10 Steps You Need To Follow When Choosing An Interior Designer

Hiring an interior designer to help bring your vision to life is one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, bathroom or an addition to your home.  Finding the right designer for you – what to look for, what to ask, how to keep connected – can be a big process in itself, so here are ten steps to help you on your way to designing your dream home!

Step One – Determine Your Style

Before you begin interviewing interior designers, you need to know what you are looking to accomplish. Know what your style is so that you can hire the right person for the job. If you are not quite sure what your style is, check out some websites and put together some ideas to get a clear vision for your home.


Step Two – Set Your Budget

It is important to know your budget before you start to remodel. Expect for larger projects to carry a larger price tag. Know the scope of your project and how much you’re willing to spend upfront. The amount should be discussed upfront with the designer. Some designers may take on jobs only of a certain size and this will help you eliminate candidates right away.


Step Three – Find Candidates

By asking friends for recommendations or utilizing professional organizations, you can find designers that fit your criteria. Many designers have a signature style and tend to work on projects that appeal to them. A good designer, however, should be able to adapt to your tastes even if their personal style is completely different. To find the right designer that matches your style, take a look at their portfolios to see what they’ve created. A well-connected designer is essential when looking for specific products such as flooring or countertops because of their connected suppliers who can reduce the costs. If you are in the San Francisco East Bay (Alamo, Walnut Creek, Brentwood, Clayton) Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California is an excellent resource for you to connect with.


Step Four – Meet With the Designers

It’s not easy ensuring you found the right designer on paper, so once you’ve narrowed down some potential choices, meet them face to face. Most designers don’t charge for these sessions but ask about a free consultation just in case. During this time, ask about their experience, certifications, services, costs, and any specifics that you can think of.


Step Five – Discuss Fees

Once you’ve selected the right designer for you, make sure you discuss budget limits for your project. Interior designers have three fee structures: a flat fee, an hourly fee, or a “cost-plus,” in which they buy furnishing and services at cost and add a mark-up agreed to with the client. Many designers use a combination of these three to develop an initial plan and then cost-plus to execute it. Ask for an estimate and a clear schedule for payment. Find out in the beginning what you may be billed for. In addition to the design itself, you may be billed for travel time, site visits, shopping, phone conversations, and more. If you’re on a tight budget, arrange a few hours with a designer for consultation to help you source furnishing and decorative accents.


Step Six – Confirm Indemnity Insurance

Interior designers should have indemnity insurance. Designers must interpret the tastes of every individual client and successfully construct their vision and with that can be an opportunity for error. Professional indemnity for design professionals covers legal costs and expenses if interior designer is alleged to have provided inadequate advice, services or designs that causes the client to lose money. This assures that the business is financially strong enough to withstand a worst-case scenario.


Step Seven – Sign a Contract

Once you’ve decided who to work with, sign a contract that specifies responsibilities, a timeline, budgetary limits and important aspects of your project. This letter of agreement or contract will serve to resolve any disputes or liability issues.


Step Eight – Communicate & Keep Track

Clear communication about budget and expectations can save a lot of headache. Put together a plan of attack – select materials and pieces with the help of your designer. You must be able to communicate what you want for your home, if you are not happy with a designer’s choices, let them know! Clients and designers must know who has the responsibility to choose and purchase items. Who is buying, when you are meeting and when and how often updates are needed should be clear before you start. The designer should have a system in place to manage the project budget.


Step Nine – Adapt & Keep an Open Mind

Depending on your existing work schedule, you’ll have to adapt your lifestyle and schedule in case you need to be home for certain parts of the project. Your designer might recommend a piece of furniture or art piece that you won’t like at first – let the idea sink in. Interior designers want the best for your home and that doesn’t always go well with a tight budget. Chances are that you’ll appreciate suggestions in the long run if it works with your space and your checkbook.


Step Ten – Enjoy the Fruits of Labor

Ask your interior designer if tune-up visits in the future are an option, whether they involve simply swapping out a few accessories, reupholstering furniture or choosing new paint colors. Your final project should reflect your interests and function within your lifestyle. If you follow these steps, you will have a smooth time in finding the right designer to transform your space.


Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen or Bath?

Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood! Designing a beautiful kitchen is not that hard, the hard part is designing a kitchen that is functional & beautiful. We love to help our clients by providing insight and education while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in.  Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel? Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.



  1. https://www.homedit.com/how-to-choose-an-interior-design-company/
  2. https://freshome.com/2014/12/08/10-things-interior-decorators-dont-want-you-to-know/
  3. https://dengarden.com/interior-design/Selecting-and-Interior-Designer
  4. https://homeconscious.com/ten-things-when-choosing-an-interior-designer/
  5. https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/3293842/list/how-to-work-with-an-interior-designer
  6. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/21/AR2010012105421.html?noredirect=on
  7. https://www.sunset.com/home/decorating/home-decorators

DIY Magnetic Board

Hey ya’ll- Ashley here! So my inspiration for this magnetic board came from a Melissa and Doug magnetic doll for Laney last week. She showed immediate interest, but found it hard to dress the doll with the little stand it came with and the no flat surfaces we seemed to have for her disposal. (Insert light bulb above head). I will make her a magnetic board that we can attach to the wall in her play area. Big enough for this doll and any other magnets she may acquire. Thus a project was about to start!

First things first, I had nothing to make said magnetic wall board. So we all jumped in the car and headed to our second favorite place- Home Depot! There are two ways to make any surface magnetic; you can apply a magnetic paint- usually black and a very bold statement to a surface or you can purchase a piece of magnetic zinc coated metal, in any size desirable. I chose the latter.

So we went in with this list:

  • 24×46″ 26ga. zinc sheet metal
  • white window/base board molding (to frame sheet metal)
  • rosettes (to make window molding look like a frame and a little more dressed up)
  • paint to paint the window molding

We found all of our material and paint, which gave us a grand total of $51.87!!

I already had some leftover paint at home that I used to paint the frame- but most stores have samples you can buy for really cheap and even mark down paint that wasn’t used.

Once we got home, I cleared all of Laney’s toys so hubby could hang the sheet metal. He did this using Loctite construction adhesive (that bad boy isn’t going anywhere!). While the metal dried and adhered to the wall, hubby cut the molding to fit around the metal square size using a miter jig. The molding was 2″ thick so we just overlapped half of it to the metal and the rest the wall. The right and left panels are 34 1/2″ in length. The bottom and the top panels are 20″ in length. This will leave just enough of a gap in each corner- your rosettes go there!












While the metal was drying and adhering to the wall, I painted the molding using chalk paint because it adheres to any material with little to no prep work required.









MagneticBoard3Now that the metal had adhered to the wall and all the molding pieces were dry (I left the rosettes the primed white they came as for a pop of color), we glued the molding first and the rosettes second. We used duct tape to keep everything in place while it dried. (The Loctite adhesive we used required a 24 hour cure time-this will vary depending on what product you go with, or if you use adhesive at all). We only let it cure for about 12 hours and it was solid.

This is how our magnetic wall board turned out!!





Overall this was a fairly easy shopping spree as all needed materials are readily kept in stock. The only tool that you may not have lying around wood be the jig- but those are fairly inexpensive tool and cool to have in the garage! The actual set up time was done while Laney was sleeping so the adhering process and drying time of the paint was not compromised.

She absolutely loves playing on her board and am so happy we decided to make this for her- not only can she used it for her dolls, she can practice her numbers, letters and colors as well as use the board to hang her art!


I have an eye for seeing the problems others might miss. If you have some trouble areas in your kitchen or bath contact us and we will help you locate and find the perfect solutions.