It’s that time of year again! Summer is ending and the kids are going back to school. But, as we settle back into our routines, there are some ways we can make our lives a little less hectic.
Read on for tips (inspired by Real Simple) on how to organize your kitchen to simplify the back-to-school process:
Empty Out the Pantry
It’s time to do a little spring cleaning! Remove everything from your pantry and cupboards and toss anything out that has expired. Reorganize each shelf and group categories of like items together. Repeat the same process to the fridge so you can make room for the kids’ lunches and snacks.
Utilize Plastic Storage Containers
Now that school is back in session, you’re undoubtedly going to be taking advantage of all your storage containers. Match lids to bottoms and store containers in one common drawer – one that is easily accessible for packing lunches or storing weeknight leftovers.
Create a Master Shopping List
Make one exhaustive list of all the non-food items you rely on, such as plastic baggies, utensils and plastic wrap. Add any replacement lunch bags, thermoses and plastic food storage containers your kids need, as well. Then, as you do your shopping, consult that list and grab any of those items whenever you find them on sale.
Separate Lunch Food from Snacks
Pre-portion treats for after-school grazing, and set aside a “Snacks Only” area in the pantry or fridge. Also, designate a drawer in the fridge that is reserved solely for school lunches. This way, when it’s time to pack lunches, there are still plenty of options left in the fridge.
Plan Dinners in Advance
Managing your time well and staying sane during the busy school week is all about planning ahead. Plan a week’s worth of dinners the day before you make your big weekly shopping trip. That way, you’ll have plenty of food to feed your family by the time Wednesday night rolls around.
Use Freezer Space
Don’t be afraid to pack the freezer with dinner options that can be served later. The next time you’re making a dish, double the recipe. This way, you’ll have plenty of leftovers that you can toss in the freezer for another meal down the road.