simplify 101
Creative Organizing Blog

« Weekly Organizing Quick Tip: Get Organized for Homework | Main | Finish It Friday is Back! »

August 05, 2009

Back to School Idea: Lunchbox Notes

One of my favorite organizing solutions for the school year is my lunch bin, something I blogged about a few years ago. It is still going strong and making the everyday task of lunch prep a notch simpler and a notch more enjoyable.

One of the items I have tucked inside my lunch bin is a supply of lunchbox notes. I found these “lunch mail” notes when my son was starting kindergarten. I fell in love with the idea of surprising him with a little extra something in his lunchbox. I didn’t put a note in every single day, which added to the element of surprise and made note days even more special.


(Photo from the compendium inc. website)

Here are some ideas and resources for stocking up on your own lunchbox notes.

Buy pre-made lunch notes. I found these super-cute lunch notes at Starbucks this summer, on clearance. They already have messages printed on them – but there’s room to also add something of your own, if you like.


I noticed they were made by Compendium, so I checked out their site, and found they carry the lunch mail notes I originally purchased years ago, plus a variety of others like the “You’re incredible” series, and “dream big” and “I’m proud of you.” These are seriously cute. They’re such a great way to send your love to school with your child in his or her lunchbox–which can be great therapy for Mom and child alike.

Make your own notes ahead of time.If you’re up for a creative project, pull together some basic craft supplies and make a few custom-made notes before school (a.k.a. the busy season!) begins. Use up some of your cardstock and patterned paper scraps, and some of your almost-gone-but-I-can’t-throw-them-away-yet letter stickers or phrase stickers. Your kids won’t care if their notes don’t use up-to-the-minute supplies, so it’s a terrific opportunity to breathe new life into some of your older supplies. If you don’t scrapbook, you can still get in on the fun. How about finding fun words and phrases in magazines and make some ransom note inspired lunchbox notes. That sounds fun, doesn’t it?


Create notes on the fly.At the end of the day, the truly important thing here is sending a note to school with your child. This can be as simple as jotting down a quick “I love you” or “Good luck on your test today” on any piece of paper you happen to have around. So if you’re short on time or don’t want to purchase pre-made notes (or can’t choose just one style because they’re all too cute!) consider this last option. Simply corral together some small pieces of paper and some markers, and stow them with your lunch-making supplies, along with any purchased or custom-made notes. You’ll be ready to spread a dose of cheer any time the mood strikes!


Do you have any ideas to add? I’d love to hear from you! 


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Funny to me that you posted this today. I was just on last night looking for lunch box notes! My little girl is starting Kindergarten this year & I wanted to put something extra in her lunch box every now & then. There's quite a few people on Etsy creating really cute lunch notes! Check them out!


As a child, I remember getting little notes written on the napkin in my lunchbox. They were never fancy, just an "I love you" and a heart or smiley face, but they were wonderful all the same. As cute as the cards are, if you are really pressed for time? Or lack creative juices for cards from scrapbooking supplies, just a handwritten note on a napkin is more than good enough.


I don't have small children; my stepchildren are 31 and 29! But I have a memory - and one of my most important memories is, back in the day, when I'd make my Daddy lunch, I would surprise him and put a handwritten note in his lunchbag, just a napkin, sometimes, with "I love you, Daddy" written on it.
He died in 1987.
When we brought his toolbox home from work and emptied his locker,
I still have small pieces of paper with his handwriting on it, and I'd be devastated if I lost them. I have a couple of notes from him to me, some driving directions he left on the kitchen table, everyday "stuff" with no monetary value, but to me, they're priceless.


Krys--that is a lovely story about your father saving your notes!

When my daughter started kindergarten, I wrote her small notes to put in her lunch (or snack) box. I laughed the first day when she came home--she had written a response! She eventually asked me to stop giving her notes--for some reason, she persisted in the belief that she had to answer them! I was a little disappointed. :-) But I'll try again this year, when my son enters kindergarten.


I've been putting little notes of love in my son's lunch box for four years. LOVE is idea! This is a great back to school gift idea for your adult help stock their new lunch box bin! thanks for sharing!!


I LOVE these ideas - but I homeschool my children so I don't really have an opportunity to do this. But you have my wheels turning - I can do this by putting it under their pillow - or get the kids to make some of these to hide in daddy's suitcase when he travels! They would love this! Thanks!

Amy@Designing A Life I Love

I totally agree with Melanie! These notes are cute, but they would mean just as much if they were written on plain paper, with a pencil! I don't think our kids care, as long as there's some little note from Mom saying how precious and special they are...

Cute cards are LOVELY, don't get me wrong, but I'd give anything for a simple note of encouragement from my Mom -- fancy or not!

Shelley  P.

with a son entering jr. high where being "cool" is a full time job, I came up with love notes that would not embaress him but still remind him that he is precious to me. The words I Love You each have a certain number of letters.
I. =1
You. =3
So my notes simply say...
143! He and I get it and there is no awkward social weirdness for my pre-teen.


Great ideas! I love your story Krys...handwritten notes are so special, aren't they? And I love the code system, too. I have a feeling I may be on the brink of that...they for now, I have to two thumbs up on notes. (I asked my son last night.) :)



Thanks - Aby. I've been using post-its, but these are oh so much cuter! I checked out the site & ordered some. I love all the quotes and I think my boys will too!


I do this too. I also make some holiday theme notes ahead of time to add. Sometimes I include little stickers or pencils as well. I also made some holiday,birthday and monogramed cloth napkins to add to the lunchbox. They were so quick and easy to make using stamps and inks. My girls are quite "green savvy" and really loved them.


Nothing to add except telling you how much I love you and all that you share. Your how-to posts with photos always make my heart sing - love them! You are making me so excited for my son to start kindergarten yet we still have a whole 'nother year before that. You have inspired me in so many ways to start out my son's school 'career' in a way that I'll remember forever. Thank you!

Victoria, BC Canada


I love lunchbox notes! I loved getting them from my mom (even as a teen) and I love sending them to school with my kids. Last year my first child was in first grade (the first year they eat lunch at school in my county) so that was my first experience making them. I love the idea to have a stash made up and available for dropping into your kids sack as you're making lunch.

For those parents who don't want to get out the craft supplies for this project, you can find some free printables here.


Another free printable site is here.

This one has some a set that you can even edit and personalize! I'm going to be using those for sure.


I love the idea... especially the starbucks bags. I would love to get my hands on these bags, but my local Starbucks does not know what I am talking pls on which Starbucks you got them from.

btw, i bought these from a local ice cream shop in Chicago. My daughter loves the Traveling Taste Bud series because she loves the fun facts. I also like the education side of it. I wish they had cute lunch bags to go with the product. I need to get away from boring brown bags.



Hi, JennaK,

The item I purchased from Starbucks was a set of lunch box notes not lunch bags. They were made by Compendium for Starbucks...but were on clearance in late July, so they may be completely sold out at your Starbucks. Sorry about that.



Hi, JennaK
The item I purchased from Starbucks was a set of lunch box notes not lunch bags. They were made by Compendium for Starbucks...but were on clearance in late July, so they may be completely sold out at your Starbucks. Sorry about that.



My oldest (7yrs) loves that I send her a joke a day with her note...usually its a knock-knock joke or something similiar. Simple 3X5 index card....(I do cheat and have a book of jokes for kids, 'cause I am *NOT* that funny or creative!)

There are also happy napkins That are great too...

Good ideas!!

JR and Bay's Mom

Terrific links and ideas everyone! I have an idea to share that is economical, creative, and well, not so green, but does not require a big effort. All you'll need is plain or solid color paper lunch bag... My previous Boss in California made our lunches for a team building about personal touch. He then went the next step and personalized each of our paper saks with a unique way of writing our name and then a quick note of praise or a cute hand-drawn pic. He was is a Psychologist and we were his team of therapists that he supervised. We each cherished our lunch saks and the time he took to make us feel special.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Powered by Typepad