Lunch Packing Drawer – Time Saving Tip

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 15, 2011

I have a new drawer in my kitchen.

Well, okay. It’s not a new drawer. But I’ve revamped all the drawers in the kitchen so that I can have a “lunch packing drawer.” It’s now right next to the silverware drawer, right in the middle of my kitchen…for easiest access.

In my lunch drawer…

  • Reusable containers
  • Snack plastic baggies
  • Premade snack packs (see pretzel bags and trail mix bags)
  • Prepackaged snacks for the lunchbox
  • Lunchbox Love notes
  • Washable lunch napkins (under the lunchbox notes)
  • Reusable juice or water boxes

So now I won’t have to open 3 different drawers and 2 cabinets to get the lunches packed. And on Sunday nights, I can reload the drawer with prepackaged goodies and water boxes, etc.

What time saving tips do you have to share that will make packing a lunch a snap?!

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenni August 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Great idea! I have a box in my pantry similar to this. I had never thought of using a drawer. :)

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tamara cosby August 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I am the mean mom that makes my kids pack their lunch the night before school. They make what they like, peanut butter and jelly, etc.

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Erin August 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Nothing mean about that Tamara!

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Heather Bigler August 2, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I concur, I have my teens make their own lunch. I was tired of the complaints, and they are learning life skills.

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oona August 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I homeschool, but have a tub in the pantry & the fridge that hold healthy snacks I have pre-packed into individual servings. Big time saver!

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Lauren August 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I’m always trying to think about what we can have for lunch other than sandwiches – my kids still think lettuce is poison, so salads are not too popular. If I can double dinner and have some lunch options it is a big help.

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Melissa August 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I love those ziploc divided containers! I used them all last year to pack my daughter’s lunches. I found some purple ones at Krogers this year that we are excited to use. I have a whole section of sandwich cutters and cookie cutters that I use to make shaped sandwiches.

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Jennifer Haines August 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Great idea! I like the reusable lunch napkins idea. I’m just now starting to use cloth napkins for family meals instead of paper and I hadn’t thought about using them in my kids’ lunches. I also am always trying to think of different lunches. My kids and hubby like leftovers so I try to plan dinners for the next day’s lunches. Spaghetti, chicken legs, and tacos are big hits and often cheaper than sandwiches made with lunch meat. I use tortillas a lot and sometimes do quick quesadillas in the morning for lunch. Lunch at my kids’ school is $3.75 so the only day I’ll let them buy is sometimes on Friday, which is pizza day.

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Emily August 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I have a 2nd grade boy who really doesn’t need to be teased because of love notes – instead, to show him how much I heart him, we use kid’s jokes. All his friends loved it over the summer @ daycamp. Also, we’ve made empanadas together for his lunch, and got this cute idea for sandwich on a stick here (http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/sandwich-on-a-stick-687359/) which looked like a supercute idea.

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Jamie August 15, 2011 at 5:34 pm

On Sunday I make enough sandwiches for one or two weeks (with 4 kids, it’s quite the job) and throw them in the freezer. I have one bin in the fridge to hold their snacks, fruits, and drinks.

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Carrie August 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Jamie, How well do they like them after they were frozen? Or is it just PB&J?

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amanda August 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm

what kind of sandwiches? i have 4 kids also and this would make a difference.

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Jennifer August 15, 2011 at 6:50 pm

This is a great idea. I love the thought of having everything in one spot. And my 8-year-old who I haven’t yet trained to make his own lunch everyday might really like the one-stop shopping.

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Miranda August 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm

When I do my meal planning the kids do something similiar for their lunches. They write up a week’s worth of meals at once.

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Robin Jones August 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm

This is awesomeness! I have one starting all day kindergarten and a five month old. I need all the help I can get being organized. Now, to implement this in the next week and a half before school starts.

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susanne August 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I love your daily email!!!

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LisaE August 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I am so glad my girls are older so they pack their own lunches but I remember what a chore it is to pack lunches every day…yuck.

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Kelly Albright August 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

I buy the bulk boxes of individual serving size Horizon organic 1% milk. So much easier than cleaning cups and thermos bottles every night, and I have had too many instances of milk in the lunchbox where something wasn’t sealed up right! Hate the cleanup!

Also, I start planning out lunches when I make my dinner menu for the week. That way we don’t have conflicting lunches/dinners and the kids don’t get bored.

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Amanda August 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

Problem with lunch? Packing lunches that all my children like to eat!

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Amanda August 16, 2011 at 9:20 am

I attempted to tweet your message, but it was too long! I had to edit it to make it short enough! still used all the correct hashtags and such.

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Amanda August 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

I’m already a facebook fan.

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Amy @ AboutOne August 16, 2011 at 10:33 am

Yes, yes, yes! Love this idea! I only have 1 lunch to make for now, but next year I will have 2 and this tip will definitely help scale down the time it takes to make them!

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Peggy Clyde August 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm

What happened to the cars sandwich you had on your site? I went to look at it again today and I couldn’t find it. Thanks.

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Amy Sasser August 17, 2011 at 6:49 pm

LOVE this idea!! I cleared out a drawer just to do this today. :) Only problem is, I can’t leave any kind of snacks in the drawer or they’ll “disappear” before I can put them into lunches. SO, I have to hide them and pack lunches when the kiddos aren’t looking. LOL!

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Lynn September 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Love the idea of getting the trail mix and snacks ready for the week all at once. I find myself rushing to get those things done before heading out the door. I am going to try this!! I am a sahm with 3 kids and we like to go places. This should help me pack the diaper bag much easier and faster!!

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Leigh Anne September 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I gotta know how you keep your little one out of this drawer?! My almost 2 yr old dug in our snack drawer every 5 minutes until I finally moved everything back to the pantry lol

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Helen October 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm

My son has the same lunchbox!
I try to put all the fridge stuff together, the left crisper is for lunch stuff, the right one for dinner stuff. I still have the meat and cheese in a different drawer, and the dry pantry stuff in it’s own drawer, the little bitty containers in their own place…its’ not too bad, but it could be better ! We spend a lot of time making two lunches each night. And a lot of money on portable food and containers! Hoping to get some good ideas here! Thanks for the website.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 5, 2011 at 9:33 am

Sounds pretty organized to me Helen! Good for you!

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interior design December 25, 2011 at 7:55 am

Great idea! I will use and try. :))

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Cheryl April 15, 2012 at 11:27 pm

1: I prefer using tupperware as opposed to baggies. Reuse and saves environment.
2: Freeze juice boxes/waters if you use them. My girls do not eat until 1:00 so it works great as ice packs too.
3: Cut oranges, put in fridge. Apples/bananas for snacks. (since they eat so late)
4: I ALWAYS send a bottle of water. Fountains are nasty.
5: Carrots and other veggies work. Thermoses are awesome, change of pace from sandwiches.
6: Limiting sugar and snacks. Going for more healthy options. They don’t seem to mind.

I do have a thingy that takes crust off, but only do it on special days. One daughter does not eat a whole sanwich usually anyway…Sometimes no bread works too…

Exploring is fun…Only a few more weeks of school…THEN they will be eating all the time. lol.

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lacey September 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I just love those Ziploc containers with the 3 dividers. I have been using them for 3 years with two kids daily, and have not had to replace the original 6 that I bought. They work great, wash great and make packing lunch so much easier. I started out with the Easy Lunchboxes but they just did not hold up compared to Ziploc which is made on the US by the way.

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