Say it isn’t so! With summer winding down and the kids heading back to the classroom, the dog days of summer have shifted to the mad dash of the back to-school rush. Sure, there’s the chore of getting school supplies and new clothes, but what about getting your kitchen ready for the morning sprints and after-school pantry raids?
This month, Granite and TREND Transformations is here to spell out the ABCs of back-to-school pantry organization. With just a few tweaks, you’ll be earning an ‘A+’ for your perfect pantry while keeping it healthy, too! Here are some pantry organization ideas – which can apply to your fridge and freezer as well – to help you get started:
Take inventory of your pantry
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time (i.e., before school starts) to take a full inventory of your pantry to start your pantry organization. Here’s what you’ll want to do:
- Start by removing everything (yes – everything) from your pantry.
- Check each item for an expiration date. You’ll be surprised at what you find. You can even have a contest among your family to see who comes closest to guessing the oldest expiration date.
- Toss anything that is past its prime.
- For your pantry organization, reorganization of each shelf is essential. Make sure to leave room for new groceries that you’ll be restocking. (For your fridge, leave a shelf or drawer free for perishable lunch staples like cheese, yogurts, and deli meats.)
Create a snack station
Designating a snack station during your pantry organization is a great way to keep healthy snacks in one place. The kids can help themselves and you will have peace of mind knowing they are noshing on snacks that are healthy and accessible. Here are some ideas for creating a functional snack station in your pantry (or fridge):
- Clear a pantry shelf (or fridge shelf or bin) that is low enough for kids to reach.
- Stock your snack station with items like granola bars, dried fruit and packages of nuts, as examples. For your fridge, stock shelves or bins with low-fat string cheese, yogurts, and cut-up veggies.
- Pre-portion treats in zip-top bags for a grab-and-go system. This works well for monitoring sugary treats or snacks. It’s also a great way to treat your child to an indulgence while keeping the portions controlled.
- Use clear plastic bins without lids for small snacks. This is a great way to keep them in one place while maintaining an inventory on them throughout the month.
- Keep a bowl of fresh fruit – like apples and bananas – on the counter for a quick and healthy grab-and-go snack.
Stock your staples
Now that you have the kids’ area in place, it’s time to get to the pantry organization where you stock with staples you’ll need when it comes time to prepare quick and easy dinners on busy school nights. Here are some benefits of stocking your pantry with your favorite go-to staples:
- Healthier: Skip the fast-food drive-thru and opt for healthy and tasty meals made at home.
- More economical: Cooking at home saves money.
- Encourages family time: Brings families together around the dinner table.
Buy other essentials
In addition to groceries, don’t forget to stock up on non-food items you rely on. You don’t know how much you need them until you run out. Be sure to designate a storage area for them in your pantry or another convenient place. Add these items to your list and try stocking up on them when they’re on sale:
- Recycled paper baggies
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
- Storage containers
Keep in mind, you may need to replace other items for your kids such as:
- Lunch bags
These items should be easily accessible and preferably stored in their own space, either in your pantry or close by.
This may not be for everyone, but let’s ask the question anyway: “Have you ever looked for something that you know you bought, just to have it lost in the back of the pantry abyss?” You most likely found it during your inventory and there’s a good chance it was expired. Installing new shelving or drawers is a convenient way to help your pantry organization process by keeping everything in sight, where and when you need it. Granite and TREND Transformations offers a wide range of cabinet options to spoil you with the conveniences you’ve been craving for. Here are some examples of pantry organization with new shelving:
- Multiple shelving: Multiple shelving works great for smaller two-door panty cabinets, recessed, reach-in, or walk-in pantries. This modular shelving system is layered, one after the other, maximizing space and doubling or tripling the usable space you already have.
- Shallow shelving: Shallow shelving is perfect for keeping everything at your fingertips for easy access.
- Roll-out drawers and shelves: If your pantry is set deep, roll-out drawers and shelves will be your best friends. They make it a breeze to locate what you’re looking for and eliminates the problem of items disappearing in the back of your pantry.
- Racks and baskets: Racks and baskets are the perfect add-ons to help keep smaller items organized.
We at Granite and TREND Transformations wish you and your family a fun and safe school year.