Happy May Day! Can you believe that May is here already? I know that the first official day of summer is not until late June, but May has always symbolized the beginning of summer for me. I think that is because I grew up in the south where school always got out before Memorial Day for Summer Break. The weather here still hasn’t made up its mind on spring or winter. We had temps in the 30’s Monday morning and then the high tomorrow is 86 degrees. Either way, we are headed to Florida in the morning for the big cheer competition where it is certain to be H.O.T. I don’t know if I am ready to be back in the heat of Florida. I know that it hasn’t even been a year since we lived there, but I very much enjoy not having those crazy hot days. Since we will be cheering and visiting my favorite characters over the next few days, this will be my last post until next Tuesday.
Today I want to talk about organization for packing since that is what I am going to be doing today. We have traveled a lot over the last few years, and I think I have gotten packing down to a science. They key is to be organized. Don’t wait until mere hours before you leave to start the process. Don’t be a procrastinator. Also, don’t just throw things into a suitcase. You are bound to forget something that way. You have to think it through and plan it out ahead of time. Here are my top 3 tips to keep you on track and put-together when packing for a trip.
1. Packing List
The one thing that helps me most of all is a list. Whenever we are going on a trip whether it is just a few hours down the road in the car or states away on a plane, I start making a packing list several days before we leave. I keep this running list on my phone so that whenever I think of something that we need to bring, I have the list easily accessible to me wherever I am. Nothing is too inconsequential to put on the list, including underwear. I even have my list divided into family member. Then I list every single thing (and how many) that family member needs to bring. This also makes it easier for when my kids are helping pack. I just cut and paste their part of the list into a text message for them, and then they can easily bring me all of the items on the list so that I can add them to the suitcase. Having a list really does make packing easier, quicker, and more organized.
2. Zip Lock Bags
My second tip for organized packing, especially with kids, is to use gallon zip lock bags to organize each outfit for each day of the trip. This is something that I started doing for my kids the very first time that we ever went to Disney World when they were really little, and I still do it now that they are older no matter where we go. First, I will plan out what outfit each of us will wear each day. Then I start making piles for each day of the trip. I put everything we need to get dressed for that day in the pile (pants, top, underwear, socks, etc.). When my kids were younger, this even included the bow for their hair that day. Then I use gallon zip lock bags to keep all of those things together in the suitcase. I label each bag with my daughter’s name and the day of the week she will be wearing it. Each child will have a zip lock bag for each day of the trip. This is a little time consuming on the front end, but it saves so much time during the trip. All they have to do is pull out the bag for that day, take it to the bathroom, and get dressed. This method also ensures that we don’t forget any essential items. I also pack another zip lock bag with their pajamas for the trip and another one for extras (extra underwear, socks, or even an extra outfit) for those emergency situations. If the trip involves swimming, there will be a separate bag each for bathing suits, bathing suit cover-ups, and flip flops. This not only keeps you organized, it also really helps to save space in the suitcase. I just line up the bags in rows in the suitcase.
3. Travel-Sized Toiletries
My third tip is to use travel-sized toiletries and keep a supply of them at your house. You should never take full sized bottles of things like toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, shaving cream, contact solution, etc. That is just a waste of space. I keep a plastic box in the bottom of my linen closet that I have tons of travel-sized items in so that we can replenish our travel bags at any time. This keeps me from having to make that emergency trip to the store at the last minute to buy stuff. Each of my girls and I have a small travel cosmetic bag that pretty much is only used for travel and stores all of their travel essentials. In each bag we keep a travel toothbrush and other travel sized toiletries. All I have to do is tell them to bring me their travel bags and everything is already packed. I just double-check that they aren’t low on anything and replenish it from the box as needed. Again, this just makes packing faster and easier. Now, if you don’t want to spend the money to buy travel-sized shampoos or your favorite brand doesn’t come in travel size, you can always get the travel-sized containers and fill them up with your faves. That is totally a personal preference. Just don’t pack full sized bottles. Here is a bonus tip that I read on a blog somewhere years ago that I still use now. I have a special scented body wash that I only use when traveling. It is one from Bath and Body Works that I love, but it isn’t the one that I use everyday. The reason I do this is because that smell now reminds me of family vacations and trips. It is like a treat every time I open the bottle while we are away. It just floods me with memories each time, and I love it. It is forever a scent that I will associate with great memories!
Those are my top 3 tips that will help you to pack quickly and easily all while still being very organized. I am now off to get my family packed and ready to leave tomorrow. I will see you all back here next week. Pray that I survive my first major cheer competition and the heat of Florida! I have no clue what we are in store for. One thing is for sure, we will be making more great family memories.
Anchored and Organized,