It's always fun to pack up for a camping trip or other adventure. Sister-Bug in particular loves to choose her outfits. But halfway through any trip of more than two nights, the kids clothes are helter-skelter and – especially if we are camping – already dirty. Papa-Bug has made hay of the suitcase looking for pajamas, I re-stacked that hay when I dug for clean shorts… And then we realize we used all the long sleeve t-shirts without realizing it.
Enter the trusty, much used, gallon ziplock bag.
One or two bags hold pajamas. One holds undies and socks. Usually I pack full outfits into the others – top, bottom (maybe pants and shorts). For littles I can fit two outfits in each bag.
Socks, underwear, and swimsuits are ready to go.
Depending on the trip and the kid, I can mix it up. Shirts in a bag, pants in a bag. Whatever works for the situation.
There are benefits to this system.
- We can pull out a bag and have the open outfit on top, making it easy to change from shorts to pants. I can put the pajama bags on top of the suitcase before it gets dark so they are easy to grab.
- The clothes stay clean and dry, even on the craziest camping trip. If the tent floods, their socks and pajamas aren't wet. This makes for happier kids. Damp clothes are awful.
- The parent digging can see what is in each bag, without having to rifle through every item. Pull out a bag, put it back (or toss it to the side), the bag's internal organization maintains and things are always easier to find.
- As the bags empty I save them for the next trip and also in case of disaster! A super muddy shirt or potty-accident pants can get popped in a ziplock bag and not spread their yuck to the rest of the clothes.
- When we get home, it's easy to see what we didn't use. Also it is all still clean – untouched by the rest of the dirty laundry. It's a breeze to put it away.
Sister-Bug's clothes, about to jump in a suitcase.
I make sure to reuse the bags as many times as I can. I keep a handful of clean bags in each of the kids' suitcases so I don't use them up in the kitchen and have to buy new every time we travel. I thought about something more durable – fabric bags or similar – but I love the sealing, water-proof, see through nature of the ziplock.
One suitcase. Easy to see, easy to find. Now on to Baby-Bug's packing!
I might have over thought this whole system, but it really has saved me a world of time in the maintaining of clothes while we are adventuring – which makes my adventure much better. And it's simplified unpacking as well. I'm all about things that simplify the chore list.
What tricks to you use to make traveling with kids easier?