Thursday, August 11, 2016


UHeart Organizing: Lending a Lunch Making Hand for Back-To-School

Although Jen is my "go to" gal for building plans and DIY wood projects, she is also a mom that is on a mission to organize her life. And just like many of us, she had to quickly switch summer gears to prep for back-to-school. #sigh #notready

When it comes to making lunches, there is something great about knowing just what our kiddos will be munching on at school. And for some, packing lunches at home is the only option for kids with specific food allergies and needs. But I know just as well as anyone, making the time to put together lunches requires a little discipline. I can't invent a time making machine, but there are small ways to organize the main snack and lunch items to be easily accessible throughout the week for both parents and kids.  Jen is here to share her no-fuss favorite storage products for an organized lunch station in the fridge and pantry (and offer a little eye candy), and she is also sharing a few creative lunch ideas that are still simple to put together.

Hi friends!

Jen from The House of Wood here to share how I organize our kids' school lunches. If your Back-To-School season is as chaotic and fast-paced as ours, this post is for you! Anything that makes this hectic time more organized and efficient gets an A+ in my book.

We're fortunate to have a walk-in pantry with enough space for me to dedicate an entire shelf to the kids. I have a first-grader and a preschooler so the shelf is low enough that they are able to reach the items on it to make their own lunch. After I do the grocery shopping, I take a few minutes to separate some of the snack foods into individual snack-sized bags so it's easy for them to just grab and go.

I picked up several of these clear plastic pantry bins from Target. I like how they keep everything nicely corralled and organized.

Our refrigerator has a middle deli drawer which is where I keep the cold kid-friendly food and drink. The kiddos can easily open it up and help themselves. Again, I used the clear bins from Target as well as these fridge bins from Crate & Barrel.

Sometimes I let the kids pack their own lunch, but I actually really enjoy doing it too. These stainless steel lunch boxes make lunchtime so fun. I bought mine from Pottery Barn Kids, but I can no longer find them on the website. I found some similar ones on Amazon here.

Here are a couple more school lunch ideas.

I love this time of year, even if it is Crazy Town around here. How about you? Do you have any clever ideas that help calm the chaos?

Thanks so much for reading! See you next time!


Hello friends! I’m Jen Woodhouse, the author of The House of Wood blog, my creative outlet for all things DIY and design. By trade, I am a performing songwriter based in Nashville, TN - I’ve released three albums, toured the world, and licensed my music to national television shows and films - but more recently, I've added ‘DIY Blogger’ to my eclectic resume. The House of Wood is where I document my adventures in woodworking, interior design, and life as a musician, military wife, and mother of two unbearably adorable babies. When I’m not writing, recording, or touring, you’ll usually find me in the garage building furniture! I’m pretty freakin’ excited to join the iHeart Organizing team and I can’t wait to share a few organizing DIY projects with y’all!


  1. Wow, how nice to be able to organize your kids' food so nicely! I have baskets for them in the cupboard, but I don't have a drawer just for them in the refrigerator. Those lunch boxes have great compartments!

  2. My eldest has to have hot school meals, which is usually a perk of the school, but posts like this make me long to make packed lunches. The tiny goldfish biscuits in bags, the beautiful storage, I yearn for packed lunches!!

  3. Brilliant! Not only for my granddaughter, but for my aging parents. Now when I have to leave for a few hours, I know they can feed themselves something more nutritious than cookies...thanks!

  4. Such beautiful organization! So a 13 yr old is going to a brick and mortar school for the first time after homeschooling. That means lunch packing. I look at those lunches and the corresponding tins and lunch boxes and they all look like they are for little kids with little appetites! Any tips on lunches that would satisfy a teen boy appetite??

    1. We use an insulated lunch box for our oldest boy (similar: paired with reusable snack bags:

    2. We use these stainless steel lunch boxes featured in the post (they are actually Planet Box and you can buy direct from their site), and they hold a surprisingly large amount of food. Definitely enough for an adult sized appetite.

    3. You can always just make the portion size bigger or add like a sandwich or similar

  5. Wow, these meals are small. Especially the boiled egg one. My two boys are 3 and barely-5 and they eat about double of this. More if they're feeling extra hungry. And they are super skinny! (Maybe my boys have high metabolisms? If so, I'm super jealous.)

    I love seeing lunch ideas like this online to help me brainstorm for my kids, but they're always too small...

  6. It's funny to see the different types of appetites out there. My 12 year-old son eats us out of house and home... until he gets to school. Then I'm lucky to get him to eat HALF of the boiled egg lunch! He's in too much of a hurry to get outside or to talk to his friends. :-) So if you KNOW your kid will eat a lot (and that they have the time to do so), send a bunch of food. But they'll survive on less for one meal a day, and they often prefer it... So watch for the first couple of weeks at how much comes (or doesn't come) home in their lunchbox and adjust accordingly.
    Also, my son brings a snack for bus riding days, to eat on the way home. So that's always an option if they don't have the time or desire to eat much at lunch.

  7. I too use bins for my daughters lunch, makes life so much easier. My only concern is keeping the dried snacks "fresh". I find prepacking pretzels and popcorn last only a day or two max before they don't seem fresh. :(

  8. The photos are very nice but I'm surprised to see so much packaged food. It's easy to make foods look neat and organized in a fridge or pantry if most everything is in pre-packaged, factory-made individual servings that all look the same. Being truly organized when food is homemade takes a lot more skill than putting juice boxes in a row. Why are there never any photos of refrigerators full of real food? Are people really "fueling" their kids for a day at school with fruit snacks and chips? Why not teach kids some real kitchen skills and let them actually MAKE their lunch, not just put a variety of junk foods in a lunchbox? My kids have so much fun making their lunches. They have learned to chop their vegetables, bake their bread, and make healthy snacks. It is enjoyable family time and so much more beneficial that an afternoon spent going from one after-school activity to another. It takes time and effort but it is well worth it.


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