With my twin boys starting kindergarten this year (sniff, sniff), I will now have five kids to pack school lunch for. All of a sudden this past week that seemed like… a lot. We still have a couple of weeks until school starts, but I decided to get organized now!
I’ve always had some kind of lunch station, but the thought of 25 bags of chips, 25 fruit cups, 25 granola bars, 25 string cheese, and 25 go-gurt (plus sandwich stuff) per week really got me thinking about how I could create something to make the packing process a lot faster and easier. So…the official school lunch station has been created, including some super cute printables as the finishing touch. It’s simple, but that’s my favorite way to do things!
When we first moved into our apartment in NY last year, it was the first time I had ever seen it. Brave, right? My husband had already moved here and was working at his new job, while I was still in Texas, selling our house and letting the kids finish school. We had very little time to find an apartment, and being in a small town narrowed our choices even more. My husband was a trooper, and made the rounds trying to quickly find our family a place to live while our house was being built. He did an awesome job, because this apartment actually ended up having pretty great storage, and I even have a pantry! It’s pretty small, but I’ll take it! I was able to designate a whole shelf to school lunches, and I’m so excited to have it.
I’ve had these wire bins for several years now, and I love them. They’re actually freezer bins that I found at Walmart for a couple of dollars each, and they’re a great size and really durable. They’re perfect for our school lunch station! I was able to fit three of them on the shelf, so I designated one for chips/pretzels/popcorn, one for snacks like granola bars and goldfish, and one for fruit. If I had had room for a fourth, it probably would have been for treats, but I went ahead and added some of those things to to the snack bin. It’s all about making it work for your space! I will have one more in the fridge for string cheese and Go-gurt.
We pack most of our lunch the night before–everything but the sandwich or main dish. The kids help pack their lunches, and they get to come in and choose from the bins. It totally simplifies the process, gives the kids lots of visual options, and it just goes so much faster.
It really is worth finding a place in your own kitchen for a school lunch station. Maybe it’s not a pantry, but a shelf in the cabinet, or inside a drawer. Like I said before, it’s all about taking a look at your space, and finding something will work for you!
I created these cute labels, well, because I love labels. :) It makes everything cuter AND more organized. It will also simplify the process for your kids! I know everyone has a different amount of space, and a different way or organizing, so I created a bunch of different labels just in case.
I printed mine onto white card stock, laminated them, punched a hole at the top, and tied them on with black bakers twine. If you’re using a solid container, you can also skip the hole punch, and just use double stick tape or another adhesive to attach them to the front of your bin. If you don’t mind them being more permanent, you could also print them onto a full sheet white label, cut them out, and stick them on.
Here’s to a great year of school lunches!