The new school year can be an exciting, yet stressful time of year. We often focus on getting school supplies and new clothes, while working to establish a good morning routine. Since mornings are often rushed with packing lunches and snacks, and time may be limited for cooking weeknight dinners, it’s important to get the the kitchen organized. Here are some tips for setting yourself up for a stress-free back-to-school season.
Organize the pantry
Before you add more to an overstuffed pantry, it’s a good idea to purge expired items and foods you won’t eat. Start with a clean slate by emptying all the shelves and wiping them down. Install ShelfGenie’s Glide-Out shelving to build categories and zones for every type of item in your pantry so items won’t be hidden or lost anymore. The kids will be able to grab their own snacks on-the-go and you’ll be able to quickly assess what you have and what you need. An organized pantry is a game-changer for the new school year.
Set up a command center
Establish an area in your kitchen to keep papers, mail, a calendar, school and other essential information. This will help you keep track of important dates, homework, and other tasks. Keep a running list of grocery items and supplies in this area so you can replenish as needed. Before the first day of school, make a big list of all the food and non-food items you will need such as bags, plastic wrap and foil, and napkins.
Organize plastic storage containers
Although they serve a good purpose, plastic storage containers in the kitchen can be difficult to store if you don’t have a system. Start by gathering up what you have, then toss any items that are damaged or missing lids. ShelfGenie’s Glide-Out shelving can help you keep these items accessible. Nest items together for easy access when packing lunches or storing leftovers.
Prep lunch food and snacks
Whether your kids bring their own lunch to school or you bring yours to work, prepping ahead will make everything easier. Designate bins in the refrigerator for pre-cut vegetables, fruit, yogurt, and any other grab-and-go snacks. Store leftovers or lunch items in plastic containers that are easy to pack. Do the same in the pantry with non-perishable items that can be quickly packed. Pre-portion snacks in baggies so lunch-packing will be a breeze.
Keep the space tidy
Because the kitchen is a high-traffic area, it can get messy quickly. Take a few minutes everyday to put things away, load the dishwasher, and wipe down the counters. Have the kids keep bookbags and other items in a designated area so the countertops and table don’t get cluttered. Try to simplify life in the kitchen as much as possible.
As the summer comes to a close, make time to get organized. When the first day rolls around, you’ll be glad you did!