For our Meal Planning M Challenge, we don’t want to overlook the challenge of creating school lunches day and and day out for the school year, so we’re republishing one of my favorite Organizing/DIY projects: making a “lunchbox creation station.” I love this organizing idea for two big reasons: it’s easy for the kids to find things for their lunches, putting a lot of the responsibility to them AND it’s easy for me to see what we have available and what I need to stock up on. That’s a win-win!
As our kids head back to school, I am in preparation mode to get our family organized & back on track for the new year. One area that I am always working on organizing is streamlining our lunchbox routines. I am excited to share with you my DIY lunchbox creation station that you can create in a corner of your home to streamline your lunch routines. You won’t believe how easy this is to create and you will love my idea for revamping this into something you can use in the summer months too!
For this craft you will need:
- 3-6 Sterlite Medium Modular Drawer
- Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint (often home improvement sections)
- Avery Removable Wall & Window Signage Sheets (in office supplies)
- 16 count chalk (in office supplies)
- Large circle hole punch or a jar or glass that you can use for tracing your circles (I had this in my craft supplies at home)
We are going to start this craft by creating our cute Chalkboard labels first. You may recall that we made these easy chalkboard labels before when making my super cute Chalkboard Conversation Bubble Cookie Jars. We are going to do the same thing that we did in that craft for this one, but we are cutting them into circles instead of the conversation bubble!
First, pull out your Avery Sheets. For this craft, we are going to use the Wall Application Side for spraying with chalkboard spray paint. This is the side that has the sticky side that is removable and adjustable… perfect for people who can never get anything on their projects perfectly straight.
In a well-ventilated area covered with newspaper or cardboard, place your Avery sheet. Shake the can vigorously for two minutes. Hold can 10-14 inches away from your project and begin spraying. Spray a thin coat in a sweeping motion beginning off the surface and continuing off the other side. Follow this pattern horizontally and then vertically. Wait fifteen minutes or so and then apply another coat. They should be dry and ready to cut in about an hour.
Cut these out into circles. One sheet should give you six generous size labels that you can write your labels on. While those are drying, you can begin assembling your drawers.
Your needs for your lunchboxes may be different than my own. I wanted to show you what I did in my drawers, though, to inspire your own categories for your lunchbox creation station. I used six drawers because that is what would fit on my pantry floor and would cover all of our lunchbox needs. I have a drawer for snacks, fruit, drinks, chips, water, and a drawer of fun (more about that below). Think of the problem areas in your kitchen and create a drawer to accommodate!
Here is an interior view of my drawers and here are some ideas for items you could keep on hand for your kids:
Snacks- Granola bars, low-fat puddings, natural fruit leathers, nuts, goldfish crackers, rice cakes, wheat crackers, sunflower seeds, homemade cereal mix, fruit snacks.
Fruit- Natural applesauce, yogurt covered raisins, raisins, dried fruit, apples, bananas, oranges.
Drinks- Juice Boxes and organic milk boxes.
Chips- Sweet Potato Chips, Veggie Chips, Pita Chips, Pretzels (I package my chips in tiny Glad containers and have used these a few years now with great success. This drawer also contains my new favorite sandwich cubes that I found at the The Container Store).
H20- This is where I have all of our water bottles so that the kids can grab one in the morning and before extracurricular activities.
Fun- This is where I keep my cookie cutters, homemade play dough, and craft supplies for our kitchen.
Next to the drawers, I nestled a basket for extra snacks to be placed in the drawers as needed and the lunchboxes. Place your designated labels on your drawers and stand back and behold your AWESOMENESS.
With this simple system in place, the kids are now in charge of creating their own favorite lunch combination, selecting one item from each of the lunchbox drawers. My kids have already been scheming and dreaming about their daily lunches and are excited to finally be in charge of their own lunch destiny.
When the summer months roll around, I plan to erase the labels and fill them with all of our summer necessities like pool snacks, water bottles, drinks, sunblock and insect repellent, and other items that tend to accumulate on counters and on top of my fridge. I think this is a great organizing solution for all year round!
Designate one day a week (my day is on Sunday) to creating your snack packs and making items that can be tucked into lunchboxes.
Another tip to keep your lunches organized and accessible is to designate one refrigerator drawer towards lunches. Items like freshly cut fruits and veggies, sandwiches, and Asian lunchbox noodles can all be waiting for the morning in this drawer. I even tuck commonly forgotten items in the drawer like napkins and spoons to trigger my tired brain to kick in on busy school mornings.
Don’t forget about yourself in all of the hustle bustle of school preparation! I love this DIY Salad Bar to help keep me on track with healthy eating during the school year!
What do items do you love to keep on hand for your child’s lunchbox? I would love to hear your ideas!
I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.