Does this little word strike fear into your heart? Do you dread the packing before your vacation? Does the idea of packing all the items your children will need for a big vacation make you want to quit before you even begin? I used to feel these overwhelming feelings before I would go to pack for family vacations. Packing for Little people can be overwhelming because they travel with A LOT of stuff. And then once you have all that stuff packed, it feels impossible to corral and keep track of all of it during your trip.
But I’ve created a strategy that will help you pack your kids clothing and keep their clothes organized so that when you are on vacation you spend less time rummaging through their suitcases and spend more time doing the awesome stuff that you have planned and been looking forward to as a family. It’s so easy that even their Father can get them dressed every morning. So maybe you can go drink some coffee by yourself in peace, hopefully looking at an ocean (that’s the dream right?).
The Secret to Organized and Efficient Packing for Your Kids
Secret 1: Select a Full Completed Outfit For Every Day You Will be Gone +1
My strategy for packing for my Littles is that I select a full outfit for everyday that we will be on vacation plus one extra because you know…kids. There is no way my kids are going 7 days straight without completely destroying at least one of their outfits, just saying. Select a complete outfit for every day. By that I mean combine every single item they will be wearing for that day and night together in a folded pile. So for my son, I will fold underwear, socks, shorts, and a tee shirt. Then I will add whatever P.J.’s he will be wearing for that night all together in a neat pile. For my daughter, I would pack her underwear, shorts, tee shirt, and hair accessory (because if I don’t pick one out for her she will go pick one out for herself, girlfriend likes to accessorize). I like to set all the piles I’ve created on the floor so that I can visually see what they will be wearing for the seven days. Some things you might want to consider are:
- Are you taking any professional or formal family photos? If you are, you might want to try to coordinate your children’s outfits as well as your own. You also might want to have a totally separate outfit just for that occasion, because again children really like to mess up their outfits (or maybe it’s just mine).
- Weather. Where are you going? Do the outfits you packed go with that climate? Is there a lot of fluctuation? We are from Colorado, and the weather here really enjoys to fluctuate ALL THE TIME. There are days where the morning will begin around 35 degrees and then by 3 in the afternoon it’s up to 75 degrees. Bringing a few jackets for the kids is not a bad idea if the place you are going has large temperature swings.
- Look at the outfits you’ve chosen and select 2-3 pairs of shoes that will go with those outfits. Shoes take up a lot of room in suitcases, so I tend to land more on the minimal side of packing them.
Secret 2: Put Each Outfit In It’s Own Bag And Label It
Ok. Now that you have approved your Littles outfit selection, go get some zip lock gallon sized bags (or any type of bag that you can label). Grab a sharpie and label the outside of your bag with the name of the child it belongs to, and I like to add the day I want them to wear the outfit. This step might be a little on the OCD side (there is a sick part of me that actually enjoys packing when I organize it this way). However, I have found that this helps my husband know EXACTLY what to put the kids in (you know since I’ll be out on the veranda, drinking that coffee we talked about).
Make sure that when you are putting the kids clothes inside the zip lock bags you try and force as much air out as possible. If you don’t, when you try to put them in the suitcase, they might not fit well. In fact, I got my Littlest to come sit on the bag while I zipped it up. She thought it was hilarious and loved getting to “help” Mama. I can usually get both my son and daughters clothes plus their shoes, and bathroom accessories all in one suitcase with this method.
Another great perk to using this system is that if there by some miracle is an outfit that your child does not use, you can keep it in the bag. This will do two things. First it will let you know that it’s clean and you don’t have to wash it when you get home (#winning). Secondly, it will keep it safe from the other stinky dirty clothes that’s in their suitcase.
Secret 3: Pack the Extras
Now that you have all the staple outfits packed for your kids, add a bag that has all the extras they will need such as:
I simply label this bag Extras. Depending on how you like to pack toiletries, you could also add a toiletry bag. I personally like to put all the kids toiletries with mine so that they are all in one place.
Here is two Littles worth of clothing packed in one carry-on sized suitcase for a weeks vacation. This is a beautiful sight that any Mama can appreciate.
Now that all your kids’ outfits are pre-selected, labeled, and packed neatly in their bags, you will be able to start enjoying that awesome vacation you’ve been dreaming about. Try it out and let me know how it works for you.
How do you pack for your Littles? What tips and tricks do you use? Leave me a comment!