Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Packing with a Larger Family

My family just returned from a weekend trip to Camp.  We attended a local camp's Family Camp, a weekend they set aside for families to enjoy camp life together.  It was fun.  The kids had a good time.  Mommy and Daddy had a good time.  We got very wet.  And today is that day - put it all away day!  (Trying to have some enthusiasm here.)
I'm really not sure which is worse, Packing Day or Put it Away Day.  Okay, Put it Away Day is worse.  At least on Packing Day, the kids are motivated to help.  We've learned a few things that help make packing easier for a larger family.
I typed up a packing list for the kids, another checklist (they love their checklists). This allowed them to check off the items they need and tells them how many of each thing.  Once they have checked off all the items, they bring the stack to me for verification.  They are then free to pack their items.
You may be able to see in the picture in this post the tubs we use for kids clothes.   We have discovered that using one of these tubs to put their clothes in (or two depending on how long of a trip it is) helps in the packing in the vehicle because they stack nicely.  They also help with storing in the hotel/condo/cabin.  If you take items out to put in drawers during a longer stay, then the empty tubs stack nicely.  If you keep the clothes in them then you can stack them nicely in a corner or closet out of the way.  It helps cut down on the visual clutter.  They also double as dirty laundry hampers/baskets.  And they don't need to be "stored" when not on vacation.
Take an assortment of plastic bags, both trash bags and zippy bags.  You will need them for something - dirty laundry, dividing snacks while driving, covering car seats that have been peed in and cannot be washed yet, gathering trash in vehicles, etc.
Having one central shower caddy helps.  I put (or had a minion put) all the towels in a laundry basket and all the shower stuff in a caddy and all the toothbrushes in a large schoolbox (have to use the hundreds of those things hanging around for something).  This was helpful because I didn't have to worry about soap spilling in a bag as usual and the basket was great for dirty towels and laundry at the end of the trip.
But, after all this, I've yet to really make packing easy and fun (for me).  It is easier each time, but there is still a lot I have to learn.  I'd love to hear from you.  Even if your family isn't "larger" than average, please comment.  Do you have tips and trick to make packing easier or more fun?

I'm posting this in the Welcome Home Link-Up.  Check out other blogs from moms embracing life as homemakers!

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