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6.21.2012

Organizing for the Summertime

Summertime is here! I don't know about you, but for most of us this means that our kids will be home ALL day, for about 2 months. (whew!) Since most of the activity in our homes happens in the kitchen, I thought I'd lend a few helpful tips for keeping your kitchen organized and functional this Summer, while more of the family is home during the day.

 I don't know about your kids, but when mine are bored, or can't seem to find anything much to do... they keep themselves busy with snacking. So having some simple, easy-to-grab, healthy snacks within reach, is always a great way to make sure your refrigerator and pantry stay nice and organized.
And you know how much I love me a organized pantry. ha!

Using baggies or small baskets with labels to categorize individual portions for snacks, will also help cut back on overeating, as well as keep you aware of what products need to be replaced, once they run out.


A cool product I found recently were these stick up cups. These kid friendly cups come in lots of different colors, and are made with a magnet attached to one side, so once your child is done with his/her drink, they simply stick the cup onto the fridge until next time! This would cut back on extra dishes at the end of the day, and it also helps to keep counters free of clutter.
I'm thinking that I would store the cups right-side up, instead of upside down... but hey, whatever floats your boat. ha!


Whenever there is a change in my normal routine, I tend to forget things easily. Having small children and/or teenagers home all day can sometimes lead to a lot more commotion and scheduling conflicts. Finding an area in your home where you can mount some sort of calender or reminder list, with everyone's agenda on it, is the perfect way to keep things in order.

If you don't have space in your kitchen for a mini home office, then try using the empty space at the end of a set of cabinets, to mount reminders and lists of important events for the week.
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If you're really tight on space, then combine the best of both worlds! Organize and store kid-friendly snacks on a few shelves in your kitchen cupboard, while also utilizing the empty space on the back of that same cupboard, by turning it into a simple note/calender center.
I LOVE this photo and idea, because I think that ANYONE can implement it!

Since the routine of waking up and getting ready for school isn't something kids have to do in the summertime, try motivating them to 'get going for the day' by posting job or chore charts. Small children are usually just excited to please Mom or Dad by checking their given chores off their lists... but teenagers on the other hand take a little more coaxing. By using job magnets with different dollar amounts on them, your house can stay clean, while your teenagers earn money!
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Keep in mind that chores for smaller children are a lot easier to complete on their own, if you create kid-friendly storage solutions. Dedicate a drawer, low cupboard or basket in your kitchen for their dishes, so that they don't have to ask siblings or adults for help.


Our kids' dishes aren't in any sort of super cute cabinet or anything... just a basket we found at a thrift store :) It does the job great, and makes it REALLY easy for them to help put things away when emptying the dishwasher.

This tip is also useful when deciding on where to store games or art supplies to keep kids entertained, while you're busy in the kitchen. If you keep these sorts of items low and within reach, kids are more likely to use them, and stay out of the way while you're busy cooking or cleaning!
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Lastly, the dreaded question at the end of each day... "Mom, what's for dinner?" can basically be eliminated, by creating a menu board for all to see. You can purchase a pin board/chalkboard, or get creative and make one of your own! 
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What do ya think? Do you get a little stressed out when the kids are home all day, because it means a brand new schedule, more mess and a lot more... "I'm bored's" from your kiddos?
Do you already implement a few of these ideas in your home... even when it's NOT Summertime or have any ideas of creative ways to keep yourself organized and on track while the kids are out of school!? I'd love to hear them! My kids are still at the age where they have to be entertained solely by ME during the day, so finding ANY downtime to get my blogging/work in, or projects completed always is more of a challenge during this time of the year.

34 comments:

  1. Mine are almost 5, 3, and 7 months so it's also all me all the time! Today I managed to squeeze in some "special time" with my middle one while running errands and then he asked to go to "Old Macdonalds play place" as a special lunch treat. How could I say no?

    Oh, organizing, right. I do most of those things, and try to schedule on and off weeks for appointments, so this week was "on" with swim lesson each morning, hair cuts, errands, etc. and next week is "off" and we'll just play each day by ear.

    Jessica
    stayathomeista.com

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  2. these are some EXCELLENT ideas!! I definitely need to implement the weekly menu board and chore chart! oh and the magnetic cups = genius! it seems the dishwasher is constantly running these days!!
    thanks for the helpful hints!

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  3. I like those cups but I think I'd store them right side up also. Since I just know my kids wouldn't rinse their cups out and juice would drip all over. :)

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  4. OMG you are so awesome...Thank you for your never ending tips....I just bought my house last year and its almost a year and it still looks like I am not all the way settled in but since I started following your blog you ( thank you to my sissy Jess) have inspired me to get off my behind and start creating and decorating. Keep up the awesome work. Btw, I started blogging about my business and am amazed on how you have so much to blog about. Still am new to this blogosphere...LoL!!

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  5. This is awesome - we have a chore chart but I like the idea of making magnets with the rewards for each chore - thanks for sharing~!

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  6. I literally love all these picturesss and want to make my house look that awesome!

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  7. Such great kitchen ideas. I really love those magnetic cups. I think I need to get some for my daughter. Just found your blog. Lots of great ideas. Mine is just getting started. Check it out http://afreshstartonabudget.blogspot.com/

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  8. Those are some great ideas, especially the meal planning ones. I have to admit I totally don't have it together in the summertime. Let's just say that cereal for dinner is not uncommon.

    There is no way I could keep my snacks handy like that. My six kids would eat those in a day. Not joking. I've considered installing a lock on my pantry. I'm going broke feeding these people!

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  9. I love your ideas... I just organized and cleaned up our small pantry today. I am a teacher so getting to be off with my kids is very exciting. We have a pool membership, so that is always something to do, and the ages in my house are varied (6,11, 15) so I am usually playing with the "baby". I am encouraged this summer to try to have my kids do more than I would normally feel really comfortable with...art projects, cooking, and letting them pick fun new places to visit. Soon I am going to post my pantry as well as our large pantry that now is part-office. I am really trying to get as organized as you and make a menu board. That is the toughest thing for me: deciding what to make for dinner. I think loose structure in the summer is important: maybe one day is "cooking day", one day is "go to a new place" day, and one is "art day". That way you feel like you are spending quality time with your kids but it isn't all day entertainment you are providing. As a teacher, I can say there are millions of ideas out there to have fun while still learning, why even a deck of cards can provide tons of games and learning. If you look on Pinterest, you can find some great ideas. (of course) I am adding your blog to my Meaningful Blogs list. I love it!! :)

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  10. Last summer, I found this schedule on Pinterest, and my kids & I have had a great time with it!
    http://www.somewhatsimple.com/summer-boredom-busters/
    We made a list of ideas for each day, and they get to choose which one we will do. The discussion about what to do next is part of the fun!

    I have found that just knowing what is coming up, and knowing that they will have my undivided attention for some part of every day helps them entertain themselves when I need to get other things done.

    Good luck this summer!!

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  11. The cups are upside down so dust and other stuff can't get into them. :)

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  12. I like the way you organized your kitchen in that manner... Individually categorizing the snack is something special, you have a good kitchen organization. That's great!

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  13. I love this post!You are amazing! I have only one daughter but I know that even for one child all your suggestions are great.

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  14. Those fridge cups look really great but I wonder if the kids would stick them up on the fridge with stuff in them or if they'd hang them upside down and drips would fall all over the floor.

    We use a similar system. We have small cup markers that I got at Crate & Barrel. Each of the five kids has a color and they have to mark their cup at the beginning of every day and use the cup all day long. It's saved my sanity ... and kept us from running out of glasses.

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  15. I don't even have kids yet and I do most of these things! The snacks, menu board, and calender are very important in keeping out house running year round!

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  16. The stick up cups are great! However they state that they are dishwasher safe, and they are, but the glue for the magnets and magnet cover eventually breaks down. We loved ours for the first year it was a wonderful thing to have since we have 5 children and that means ALOT of cups used during the summer. I still have the magnets but have not found a strong enough glue to put the magnets back on besides all the little covers our lost.

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  17. Just thought I would drop in and say "hi!" I check your blog every.single.day. I get super excited when there is a new post because your writings are always SO PRACTICAL and HELPFUL! I occasionally check some blogs that discuss options for complete backyards makeovers complete with a diamond producing unicorn or which Horchow sofa they might buy, but I am more like you in I have to work with what I have (or might find at a thrift store) and wanting that $500 sofa!

    Thank you so much for your honest and insightful blogging. You ROCK!

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  18. I've tried various versions of the bagged/packaged grab and go snack basket. Unfortunately, it didn't work for our family, as come dinner time, my boys would be too full from snacks to eat dinner. So now I place a fruit platter on the kitchen table, along with some crackers or pretzels and take it away about an hour or so before I serve dinner. I also fill up 3 kid-size water bottles in the AM, place them on the table as well and the boys sip from them throughout the day. It eliminates all of the cups I was picking up at the end of the day and gets in their water without nagging.
    Oh, I love the idea of the craft/art drawer at the bottom of the cabinets! I have one of those, and never thought to do an easy access art place for my 3 yr old. Perfect! Thanks!!!

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  19. we definitely have the snacking problem! we have a rule that my 5 yr old can only have 4 snacks a day while he's home. of course, if he gets home from camp at 4, he will still make sure he eats all 4 of his snacks!

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  20. If I go into summer organized and with a plan of action I do much better than without. For years now I have made up daily schedules for my kids and me. They know what to look forward to, what needs to get done before the fun. It's doesn't always work out as smoothly as I'd like but it has been working. Teachers have to have lesson plans and I just think of it as our lesson plans. :) I posted our schedules on my blog. And I try hard to realize I can't do it all which is why my blog suffers. Oh well...Good luck to you!

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  21. These are all great ideas! So inspiring. I will be sitting down later to go them one by one and hopefully, implement some of them!

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  22. Love all of these ideas! We are completely remodeling our kitchen so I am very anxious to get back in there and organize some snack bins. I really love those cups! Maybe my kids wouldn't use 200 each summer day!

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  23. Great collection of helpful ideas! :)

    I knew it was time to put our kid dishes in a lower level kitchen storage when they began climbing the cupboards in efforts to be more independent. (and yes, also a good clue that they are additionally ready to *put away*)

    Cheers!
    ~H

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  24. These tips are fab, thank you so much! Will be following many of them!

    I find planning activities for at least a week in advance is our way of surviving the holidays i.e. monday - play doh and painting, tuesday - play date with friends, wednesday - picnic in the park etc. etc. I write it on the calender for the kids and me to see so they have something to look forward and I know we're going to survive that week at least!

    x x

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  25. These are EXCELLENT ideas and pics.. I feel so guilty right now, my house is so un- kid friendly and my daughter is already 5. Well, thanks for posting, can't wait to try out several of these things.. She's gonna love it!

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  26. P.S. Any chance you could add a Pinterest button to your blog posts?

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  27. Hi! I just joined your site, the newest member. I invite you to my space/blog over at *simple sequins*, where you find family inspiration joined with my latest project and thrift shop finds (DI and Savers) hahaha. Your family is adorable. I saw your wall gallery on I'm so Vintage and had to see more cuz I am really loving turquoise and yellow lately. :D

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  28. We home school, so summer time isn't that different other than we have a break from studies. We still follow morning routines as usual and we have mandatory rest/quiet time after lunch for at least an hour (on beds reading or napping). We're moving back to the States next weekend, so our activities this summer revolve around the big transition. Tracie at Beneath My Heart just posted a great station rotation that she does with her boys.

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  29. Your suggestions are great. I'm going to try the menu board and some organizing. Thanks!

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  30. These all look great - I need to go clean my drawers ..BIG TIME!!!

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  31. I really like the chores wall that you made. It's fantastic, definitely using that picture in the future when i have kids :) Thanks for that fantastic idea!

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    Replies
    1. Whenever I visit my brother’s family during the summer, I am always amazed on the activities that happen in their place. However, my sister-in-law is always great with the kids that she asks them to help her organize space in their house. She made it enjoyable for the kids that she would even buy colorful storage bins and containers for them to use. It is also a good time for her to find things that they do not use anymore and set these away to make way for the other items at home.

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