The holiday season is over, and a new school year starts up. You’re probably busy having school supplies ready while shaking off the lazy summer vibe. But one thing you should include in your back-to-school prep list is your kitchen. It’s the centre stage of your rushed school mornings and packed lunches, after all. These tips can help you organise the kitchen and get back on a daily school routine with a little less stress and mess.
Create More Bench Space
Before you can organise the kitchen, the clutter has to go first. Inspect the corners and back for hidden (and forgotten) things then toss anything that’s past its prime. Next, look for ways to have more counter space. You will need it for breakfast time, fast-paced prep and quick dinners. Consider redoing these spots:
- Mount your utensil jars to the wall. Clamp glass jars to a wooden board or use hooks to hang empty tin cans for your spatulas, whisks and spoons.
- Install a magnetic knife rack. Knife blocks on worktops look beautiful but take up space. Use up your spare wall space instead to make knives easier to access.
- Install metal pull-out cabinet drawers. Remove your blender, food chopper and other small appliances from your countertop. Then transfer them to a kitchen cabinet with a pull-out drawer installed.
- Utilise extra sink space. Switch your benchtop dish dryer with an over-sink or suspended rack. Look for rack options with built-in organisers for soap, towel and scrubbers.
Organise the Kitchen Pantry
Lots of shelving and labelled food containers are perfect starters for a smooth-sailing school year. When organising your pantry, however, think about your food supply. What is your kids’ after-school snack routine? What do you usually serve for dinner? This way, you can arrange your staples according to categories and frequency of use. Here are some reorganising suggestions:
- Create a snack and lunch quarter. Use the bottom-most pantry shelves for pre-portioned nuts, dried fruit or crackers. These will allow your kids to help themselves to easy-grab snacks or assist you when packing their lunch.
- Put a lazy Susan at the corner. This smart organiser is best for small condiment bottles, spice jars and other ingredients that can spill. Two-tiered ones are best. And with it flushed to the side, it won’t take up much space.
- Use see-through containers. Wire or rattan baskets and clear plastic bins make it easy for the kids to see their snack options. Checking supplies for your grocery runs is a snap, too. Choose those with side handles so you can pull out or carry them with ease.
While you are at it, make a list of pantry staples that you do use and need. Create your weekly or bi-weekly family meal plan and do some grocery shopping before classes are in full swing.
Spruce Up the Cabinets and Drawers
Don’t let busy school mornings turn your kitchen cabinets and drawers into a disaster. Chaotic storage spaces make things harder to find and even lead to accidents. When you organise the kitchen, the key is to have a place for everything. These tips should come in handy:
- Make use of utensil trays. Have one for your cutlery and another for small tools like grater and apple corer. Creating drawer sections make utensils quick to find and store after use.
- Use over-the-door organisers. Installing hooks or racks to forgotten spaces is the way to go for limited kitchen spaces. This idea is perfect for organising cleaning supplies under the sink, too.
- Store cookware in retractable racks. To save space, arrange your frypans and lids sideways in a neat file. You can use store-bought racks or install a DIY one. This trick works for your bakeware and cutting boards as well.
- Have a dedicated food container bin. Use this area for lunch boxes, resealable or silicone bags, twist ties, paper napkins and brown paper bags. This way, you can easily access them for packing school lunches or putting away leftovers.
- Organise all water bottles. You can purchase a new water bottle organiser or repurpose an old wine rack. Some even use a pocketed shoe rack that you can hang and hide behind cabinet doors. This smart trick lets you reach for the right bottle without knocking the others over.
Install a Sliding Prep Station
If your kitchen is short on counter space, you can use spare drawers instead to build a mini prep area. Install a butcher block with a hole in the middle onto an empty drawer. Then convert the drawer below it as the trash bin.
After prepping a sandwich or salad, dump the trimmings into the hole, give the board a good wipe, then push the drawers back in. You can do this for hollow kitchen islands, too, by building a DIY wooden cart with wheels.
Have an Area for Reminders
This spot can be your command area of sorts where you can pin notes, kids’ artwork, school activities, weekly menu and your shopping list. You can make use of clipboards, a corkboard or whiteboard to put all reminders on display. Have everyone check this area to keep tabs of the tasks for the day.
One thing you can add here is a school lunch cheat sheet for your kids. Print out a table with columns for mains, snacks, fruit or veggie and drinks. Then have them pack one of each for their lunch bag. Hey, parents don’t have to do all the work! Make your back-to-school routine a team effort, and use it as an opportunity for young ones to learn easy household chores.