How To Stay Organized For Thanksgiving + Planner



Thanksgiving is a big time of the year for most homes in the United States. A time when you get to sit with family and friends, reflect on all the events of the past and be thankful for all that has been achieved so far.

With all that holiday joy comes a lot of work, and most people would agree that the lead-up to Thanksgiving can be very stressful and tiring. From hours spent cooking delicious meals to the hours spent decorating and setting up tables. 

In this article, these tips will help make your thanksgiving celebration a lot more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.

9 Days To An Organized Thanksgiving

When trying to host an organized thanksgiving, one factor must be put into consideration, and that factor is time management. Without time management, you will find yourself stressing out and getting behind.

Before you know it, the guests are due to arrive and you still have so much left to do. Here is a day-to-day plan to help you plan the most organized Thanksgiving you have ever planned. 

To start organizing your Thanksgiving like a pro, you can download this free printable planner of 9 days until Thanksgiving. You will be able to write out your 9 day plan and plan out every single one of your meals in more detail.

Day 9 – Make A Plan

The first step towards having an organized thanksgiving would be to make out a proper list of everything you would be needing for the celebrations.

It’s 9 days to Thanksgiving and there are a lot of things you need to get done before the actual day arrives. Luckily, planning does help you with figuring out what to do and exactly when to do it. 

Do all your planning on day one. This should mainly involve making a list of the things you need to achieve to make the thanksgiving celebration a successful one. Some of the things to focus on include: 


You need to have an idea of just how many guests you would be expecting at thanksgiving. A rule of thumb is to set up extra space for surprise visitors (I usually plan for 3). Having extra food and space is better than not having enough.

By having an estimated plan of how many visitors you would be expecting at thanksgiving, you can effectively have an idea of how much cooking would need to be done or space that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving.   


The menu, including all of the appetizers, sides, main dishes, desserts and drinks is the highlight of Thanksgiving. So, give it a thorough plan before the craziness of prepping begins.

With the help of the free printables, you can list the dish you are going to make and then you can plan out what ingredients you need for each dish and make a grocery list for the store.

Then plan out when to start prepping for the dish (like marinating the turkey), when you need to start cooking (turkey in the oven), and any last minute finishes to the dish (like a turkey platter garnish).

Once you have all of your dishes planned out, then you can write down what meals are delegated to someone else if you have guests coming over and bringing dishes as well. That way you will be able to see the full menu planned.

Anything else you need to remember can be written down in the reminder notes section. At this point your whole menu should be planned out and a list of things you need to get at the store made. It is a good idea to consider the quantities you are buying of ingredients so that if you have tricky recipes, you leave room for mistakes.

Bonus tip: Print out or write out the recipes so that you have them all ready and not searching on your phone for when you have to start cooking.


Asides from food, you would need supplies. This should be extra chairs, decorations, and practically everything you would need to make your thanksgiving more enjoyable. 

Nothing says holiday cheer more than a well-decorated space. So don’t be scared to budget extra for decorations. 


This would involve planning for the unknown. Dietary health issues, allergies, and practically any strange issues that might come up.

You would need a basic first aid kit, hopefully, we wouldn’t need to use it but it is often a great feeling to know you planned for that too. 

Day 8 – Budgeting

Ideally, this should be under day one, but because we don’t want you to get overwhelmed, we have shifted this to day 2.


Budgeting involves looking at your list while also looking at your account and seeing if it is possible to execute your plans. In as much as you are trying to have a wonderful thanksgiving celebration, do not break the bank.


By budgeting, you can easily decide on alternatives to things like food and decorations. This can help you decide on cheaper or more expensive and effective options (in case you do have a large budget).


Remember, thanksgiving celebrations are meant to be cheerful, you don’t want to cry afterward because you spent your whole life’s savings to make it awesome.

Day 7 – Go Shopping

With your planning and budgeting properly done, now it’s time to spend, spend, spend (wisely of course).


Get all the supplies, decorations, and food items you would require for your celebration. This would involve food ingredients.


It is always recommended that you go shopping, days before Thanksgiving. This is because things have a tendency of getting more expensive during the holidays.


Another cool thing about shopping early is that it helps you avoid mistakes. Getting everything you need could still help create time to get the things you might have forgotten.


Plus, you get to beat the rush that usually comes with the holiday period. So there are so many benefits of shopping early for thanksgiving.

Day 6 – Sort Out Your Items

With all that has been gotten in anticipation of Thanksgiving, now you have to sort out your items.


Perishable food items should be properly stored in their appropriate medium (either the fridge, a pantry, or a freezer).


Decorations should be kept separate and other supplies should be arranged accordingly. If you do forget to get some supplies, make a list of everything and quickly rush out to get them.

Day 5 – Clean and Arrange Your House Or Venue

Wherever you would be hosting the thanksgiving celebrations, it is always important that you keep it clean.


So you can either hire a cleaning crew or do it yourself, but make sure that everywhere is spotless and clean. 


The kitchen should be the most important room, this is because this is where all the cooking would be done, so start with the kitchen and slowly work your way to the dining. 


Remember to inspect everywhere to be double sure that it is indeed clean and ready for the Thanksgiving celebrations. 

Day 4 – Start Cooking

With 3 to 4 days to go, I think it’s fair to start with cooking. Start with the dishes that might take longer time to prepare. 


The turkey can be properly marinated, you can also cure the ham. Basically, everything that would require long hours or days of cooking to be fully ready should be started early. 


Your spices should be out on day 6. Depending on the recipe you would be using, most spices could take some time before being used, whatever the process is, to ensure that you start out on day 6. 

Day 3 – Set Up Decorations

It is never too early to set up decorations, as you can start setting them up 3 to 2 days before the actual celebration.


Be careful when doing this as you want to be able to easily take down the celebrations after Thanksgiving. Except you are comfortable with having thanksgiving celebrations well into the new year, I recommend using temporary supplies or decorations.


If you have got a large budget, you can go all out by hiring a decor team to help make your house or venue a truly heavenly space. But if you don’t have a large budget, I’m sure you can pretty much manage it all by yourself.


Do not be afraid to ask for help when doing this, surely you can’t be responsible for everything, get a friend or neighbor to help make the celebrations truly special.

Day 2 – Do The Main Cooking

Your meat should be properly cured by now, and your spices perfectly marinated, what’s next? Well, you can proceed to the main cooking.


This might be the most stressful day of all as cooking is never fun when you have to cook a lot. So do not be afraid to ask for help.


Ask your kids, neighbors, or friends to be your sous chefs for the day. If you can’t finish all the cooking in one day, then don’t be worried, you can simply keep it, till the next day.


Once done cooking, do ensure you store it appropriately, most likely in the fridge where they can be easily wormed and eaten fresh the next few days.


Food Items that you know won’t make it through the day should not be cooked on day 8, instead, keep them for the morning of thanksgiving, but you would need to be up pretty early to get a decent head start.

Day 1 – Set Up The Table

Now with most part of the celebration duly covered, the next thing would be to set up the dining for Thanksgiving day.


Ensure all your serving dishes are properly clean. They should be washed and dry before setting them up on the table (we don’t want to see watermarks).


You can start setting up the scented candles, lighting and practically any supply you got to make the thanksgiving day truly magical(including the first aid kit).


If you couldn’t finish cooking the day before, we suggest you continue on the 9th day, as you definitely would want to have a magical and stress-free thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day!

With everything properly handled, you should settle in and enjoy the fruits of the work being done. Happy Thanksgiving, you truly deserved the joy it brings. 


Ensure your meals are warmed and properly set up at the dining, receive and entertain your guests and make merry. 


Before doing all that, it helps to make plans for a proper cleanup after Thanksgiving. I find it is often memorable when the family helps out. If not, get a cleaning crew to help out with that. 


A successful thanksgiving celebration, properly organized to help reduce confusion and stress.


Remember to have fun as you host the most organized thanksgiving ever, it’s a season to be jolly, so always be.

Leave a Comment