Thank you to Kaitlin Krull, today’s guest blogger from modernize.com.
Picture this: you’ve just arrived home from school, your kids have settled down at the table to start their homework or gone upstairs to play, and you have finally sat down for five minutes’ peace. All of a sudden someone wants you to come and make them a snack. Break time over. If this scenario sounds familiar to you (and happens day after day after day), then never fear. We at Modernize have come up with a solution to your snack time problems. Here are some practically foolproof tips to help you organize your pantry in such a way that your children will be able to help themselves.
Before you designate any kid space in your pantry and start divvying out snacks, it’s important to get your pantry organized. Your storage space will work best if you’re working with open shelves, so make sure you’ve arranged like items together so you know where everything is. Clear jars, storage bins, and Tupperwares help you (never mind the kids!) see where everything is and where everything should be. This will save you time whenever you need to find something, restock, or direct the kids to the pantry. Don’t forget to sort through your cans, jars, and baking supplies and get rid of any out of date items and donate anything you won’t likely use before it goes out of date.
MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE
The next step in pantry organization is accessibility. There’s no point designating a kids’ section of the pantry if it is out of reach or in a dangerous spot, so reserve the lower shelves for their cereals, snacks, and baking supplies so they can have easy access. Make sure to keep your own special treats, alcohol, sharps, and glass well out of reach or locked away, just in case any accidents were to happen. If you absolutely need to have children’s items higher up, make sure your pantry is stocked with a sturdy step-stool and that everyone knows how to use it safely.
Once you’ve cleared your pantry of the old, it’s time to organize for the new. Labelling your food items will help you, yes, but it is absolutely essential if your end goal is for your children to help themselves as and when they need something. For younger but still independent kids, picture labels are a fantastic, if slightly time consuming, resource. Print, laminate if you so desire, and stick labels where you want things to go, and you just might find things where they ought to be. Chalkboard tags are another great and attractive way to label your dry goods for easy identification—plus, they can be reused and swapped out easily.
GRAB AND GO
If you have a few extra minutes after your weekly grocery shop or after the kids have gone to bed, this step really will save you time over the course of the week. A wicker basket, plastic storage bag, or other receptacle filled with portioned out snacks for kids to take whenever they get hungry makes a huge difference when it comes to independence in the kitchen. Take your organization one step further after you’ve portioned out your snacks by labelling the bags with your kids’ names and you can help save them from overeating and fighting over the last bag of Goldfish. Enlist the help of your older children for this job if time is short. Once they get the hang of it, it can be part of their weekly chores.
Once you’ve organized and stocked your pantry with kid friendly foods, knowledge is the key to success when it comes to self-sufficiency. Have your kids help during the pantry setup so they know where everything lives and how and where to put it away after use. Involve the whole family in the weekly shop, putting away groceries, and during pantry restocking and cleaning times. If you follow all these steps and everyone is well informed, you and your kids will be on your way to an independent, snack grabbing family.
What is your favourite take-away from today’s post? Tell us in the comments!