Quick Tips to Get a Kitchen Back-to-School ReadyIt’s hard to believe another summer is already coming to an end—but now that fall is quickly approaching, parents are working to get ready for back-to-school and everything that accompanies this hectic time. The best way to feel prepared for back-to-school? Parents should try to start by getting their homes ready, and the rest will fall in place more easily. When parents have an organized, uncluttered home it makes everything else that much simpler. When preparing for back-to-school time, it’s no surprise the kitchen takes center stage. For most families, the kitchen is the hub of activity in their home, whether it’s during snack and meal time, or at homework time, and the kitchen also tends to collect the most clutter from all that paperwork, discarded lunch boxes, and the other gear that goes along with having school-age children. Here are the top tips for getting a kitchen in tip top shape for back-to-school season: 1. Clean Those Kitchen Cabinets Keeping an organized kitchen is important, so start from the below at the cabinets. Begin clearing out old food, containers without lids and other stray items. Choose under-the-counter organizers that will make everything accessible, as well as various containers and storage items for lunches and meals. For cabinets, it often works best to choose storage that pulls out to help better see what’s under there. 2. Clean and De-clutter Kitchen Countertops Kitchen countertops have a tendency to become the catch-all for everything kids bring home, and it makes it difficult to stay on top of paperwork, mail, or homework. Start by clearing everything off kitchen countertops and giving them a thorough scrubbing, to get out any dirt that’s hiding in corners. For homeowners with granite countertops, be sure to use only safe cleaners and disinfectants, and back-to-school may be a good time to reseal. Once kitchen countertops are clean, begin creating an organization system, with separate areas or containers for homework, forms that need to be signed, papers that have already been signed, and miscellaneous items. Parents may also want to designate an area of the countertops as the lunch area, which will signify where kids can pick up their lunches before leaving in the morning, and where they should drop them off in the evening. This will help parents keep track of food that may be left over to be re-used again, and help them know if someone is running out the door without a lunch. 3. Pack the Pantry When the school year begins, it means everyone gets busier, including parents. Before the first day of school, tackle the pantry. Empty out the old, unused food items that may no longer be good, and organize what’s left. It’s also a good time to visit the grocery store and stock up on the basics like rice, beans, pasta, sauces and canned vegetables. This makes it a bit easier to whip up a quick meal when everyone’s running in opposite directions during the busy school week. 4. Organize Activities with a Calendar The kitchen is the perfect place to keep and maintain a family calendar. Putting it in a very visible location in the kitchen will make it accessible when everyone needs it, and help prevent confusion and miscommunication. Try scheduling everyone’s events on the same calendar, but color coordinating them if necessary, so it will be easy to see if anything overlaps. 5. Feed Snack Attacks Again, the school year is hectic, so preparing a home for it is all about convenience. Make an accessible area where non-perishable snacks are kept, whether it’s in a basket on the kitchen countertop, or in a drawer. Only stock it with healthy items like granola bars or trail mix, so there’s no debate, and it will make it easy for everyone in the family to grab something quickly, if there’s no time before breakfast or in-between the school day and activities. With a little focus on the kitchen, it’s much simpler to prepare for the school year and help things go a bit more smoothly than they might if the kitchen is in disarray from the lazy days of summer.