The sunshine and warm temperatures that summer brings make for an ideal picnic setting. It’s nice to enjoy the beautiful weather with a meal outside after being cooped up for months. With restrictions pretty much over after COVID-19, most of us are planning to make the most of this summer, and a picnic is a great idea, whether it’s a big family affair or just an evening for tow.

Want everything to go as smoothly as possible with a minimum of fuss? Check out these picnic organization ideas if you’re not sure what to pack.

Keep it Cool

When it comes to picnic organization, food storage and safety are top priorities. Before chilling cooked foods in the refrigerator or putting them in a cooler, make sure they are completely cool. Before serving, keep them on ice for as long as possible.

When foods are left out in warm temperatures, they spoil quickly. On days when the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, Foodsafety.gov recommends not leaving foods out for more than one hour. In cooler temperatures, you can wait up to two hours.

People do often wonder which picnic baskets are best for both maximum organization as well as safe food and beverage storage.

The traditional wooden or wicker picnic baskets look gorgeous, but they generally aren’t as good as coolers at keeping everything temperature controlled.

If you still want that traditional picnic aesthetic, consider using the wicker basket for nonperishables like bread, baked goods, plates, and other picnic gear, and keeping anything temperature sensitive in a separate cooler or thermally protected container.

Go Green

While paper plates, cups, napkins, and plastic utensils make cleanup easier, they also generate a lot of waste. Consider using real plates and utensils that you can wash at home if you’re having a small picnic. If a summer breeze blows through your picnic, these heavier pieces are less likely to blow away.

You don’t have to bring the contents of your kitchen and risk spoiling – or losing – your best cutlery and plates though. A quick trip to the thrift store should score you all kinds of plates and cutlery – who cares if they don’t match (that’s very boho chic anyway) and at home you can keep them stored in your pantry or cupboard as the ‘picnic stuff’.

Bring Extras

There’s a good chance that your ideal picnic spot lacks running water and a place to wash dishes. If you drop any utensils, plates, or containers on the ground or are concerned about contamination, have extras on hand. It’s also nice to have a few extras on hand to give to a friend or neighbor who comes over to your picnic.

Keep Germs at Bay

An outdoor picnic is a lot of fun because it allows your kids and family to enjoy the sunshine and nature. Whether they’re on a playground, collecting rocks, or exploring a creek, they’ve most likely picked up a few germs along the way. To ensure that everyone has clean hands before digging into the food, include wet wipes and hand sanitizer in your picnic basket.

To avoid food contamination, make sure you have clean plates and utensils in addition to clean hands. If you’re grilling burgers or other meats, never serve them on the same plates where raw foods were served.

Packing Foods for a Perfect Picnic

A picnic allows you to bring almost any type of food with you. However, some foods are more popular than others when it comes to bringing to an al fresco luncheon.

A make-your-own sandwich is one of the most popular picnic basket ideas. Bring a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetable toppings, and condiments so that guests can customize their sandwiches to their liking.

Creamy sides like deviled eggs, potato salad, and macaroni salad are ideal for a picnic meal and on very hot days – and we have plenty of those here in Houston – fresh fruits and vegetables are a refreshing snack.

Don’t forget about the beverages, either. When playing outside, lemonade, sweet tea, sports drinks, and water can all help you stay hydrated. Whatever you bring, make sure it’s all in sealed containers or bags to avoid spills and keep your picnic running smoothly.

Need help with any home, office or life organization project? Book a free 15-minute Zoom call here and let’s chat about how Just Organized by Taya can help you.

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