Five Tips for Organizing a Kid-Friendly Pantry
This time of year is summed up in three words: back to school, and that's true even if it looks different this year due the coronavirus pandemic. Parents will still find themselves purchasing school supplies at the local store and getting ready for their new normal weeknight dinner routine. With all of this stocking up, and the fact that your entire family is spending more time at home than ever before, the kitchen and pantry are among the first spots in the house to become messy. Stay organized and efficient with these five tips and you'll be prepared for any snack attack.
Decant to Remove Mess
Air-tight containers deserve a spot on your shelf. Decant granola, crackers, nuts, and dried fruit into these stylish see-through containers for a sleeker, more organized display. We like Rubbermaid's Sleek Brilliance line (from $7.99, bedbathandbeyond.com). Instead of buying individually packaged goods, buy in bulk, and then divide snacks up in smaller containers. This is a good way to keep portions under control and an easy way to instruct the kids on healthy eating habits.
Use Height to Your Advantage
There are two good reasons why you might want to keep the sweets high up. First, as Amy Pottinger of Caviar and Crayons says, "No one wants to walk into their kitchen to find sugar and flour all over the floor!" And isn't that the truth? Keep all of the sweeter goods and baking staples—sugar, candies, cookies, etc.—stored on the highest shelf. The second reason is to free up storage space for healthy snack options at eye level. And here's another tip for parents: Dedicate a shelf or separate drawer to shatterproof cups and dishes, all kept within easy reach, so they can grab their own snacks each afternoon.
Designate "Grab and Go" Snacks
Implement something called the "anytime shelf." These are the healthier snacking options that are permissible between breakfast, lunch, and dinner—in other words, they are treats the kids can eat anytime. Storing them at eye-level allows the kids to help themselves whenever they feel hungry. For Annie Shea Thompson of DIY Décor Mom, it's all about instilling healthy habits: "For my family, a well-designed, kid-friendly pantry is all about fostering independence with my kids and involving them in cooking early-on," she says. "I set-up snack-baskets with mom-approved options (applesauce, pretzels, dried fruits, raisins, etc.) in easy-to-reach locations so the kids can help themselves at snack time."
Help Kids Learn with Labels
While you teach the importance of healthy eating habits, help them develop another skill: reading. Label the shelves—a set of chalkboard stickers and an erasable chalk marker ($11.99, amazon.com) will do the job—and use it as a teaching moment for younger kids who are still learning how to read and introduce new foods to older ones. Dedicate a lower shelf to corralling lunch boxes and packs. If you happen to love the art of organization as much as we do, a matching set of canisters, bins, and other storage vessels will streamline the look of your pantry.
One last tip (and something often missing in a pantry): Write a list of allergies displayed in the cupboard available for the babysitter, a family member, or anyone else who helps to manage the household. You can also include emergency phone numbers and a plan of action in case of an allergic reaction.