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Hey friends, with the end of the school year approaching many of you will be thinking about summer vacation and getting away with the family for some sun and fun. Whoot! And while vacations are awesome, packing for them maybe isn’t so much. Whether you are flying or driving, getting ready for vacation can be a lot of work and stress. The good news is there are steps you can take to make the whole organized packing process a little bit easier on yourself. I want to share with you my easy organized system for how I go about getting the kids stuff packed up for vacation without losing my sanity.
#1 Have a Central Packing Zone
You need one space that is clear of clutter and ready to gather items to be packed in one place. I use my spare bed. When I didn’t have a spare bed I used a clear space of floor in my bedroom. A central packing zone is essential so that you can be gathering items at least a week or two prior to your trip as you think of them.
Also as you do laundry you can pull clean items of clothing to be packed and you have somewhere to put them away from the kids. You know if you put them back into the kid’s rooms, you’ll end up doing laundry the night before you leave which we are trying to avoid here. Determine how many outfits each child needs for the trip. In these pictures I am packing for my two boys for a two week vacation. Since we will have access to laundry facilities, I told them each to bring me five outfits consisting of shorts and shirts plus one pair of sweat pants each. As everything gets laid out on the bed I can line everything up, review their choices and make swap outs as necessary.
#2 Use a Checklist
A checklist is essential, well at least it is for me because my brain capacity seems to shrink the older I get. I created a Family Travel Checklist many years ago that I still use. It’s one list for the whole family which really works well.
#3 Use Packing Cubes
The number one thing I use when packing an organized suitcase are packing cubes. They make such a world of difference and I highly recommend them to everyone. My two boys will often share a suitcase and without packing cubes I can only imagine how crazy mixed up and disorganized everything would be.
My number one complaint in the past about whatever packing cubes I was using at the moment was that they weren’t clear. It made absolutely no sense to me at all that the majority of the packing cubes on the market were ones you couldn’t see through. You had to open up each one just to remember what was in each. So dumb! And then, FINALLY, a company got it right. EZPacking to the rescue! They are a mother son team based in San Diego, CA. Monica had the idea to design EzPacking in 2014 after her frustration with the packing process. EzPacking is made by a mom for other moms!
(pictured above are two large cubes, two small cubes, two extra small cubes, shoe bags, a laundry bag, and a duffle bag)
Not only are the EZPacking Cubes clear but they are durable as well. They are made of clear plastic covering and nylon backing which holds up much longer than mesh cubes. I’ve also had no trouble with the zippers at all and I love that these cubes not only come in a variety of different sizes but colors as well. And let me tell you, if you are packing multiple kids into one suitcase, assigning a different color to each kid makes life so much easier because they can be easily identified. Seriously so awesome!
For a family, I would recommend buying a Complete Bundle, which comes with 13 pieces and is sold at a discounted price. You can even have them send it to you half one color, half another, which makes sharing a suitcase that much easier. You may need all of them or just a few depending on the length of trip you’ll be taking and how many kids you are packing for.
I used the large size cube to pack each of my boys five outfits. I like to pack by outfit as it makes it easier for the kids to grab in the mornings. All five pairs of shorts, five shirts and one pair of sweats fit into one large size cube each.
I then used the small cube to hold their socks and underwear and the extra small cube was perfect for their toiletries. Their is also a medium size cube in the starter set which I didn’t end up using here.
The EZPacking company also sells separately, laundry bags, shoe bags and compact duffel bags (you never know when you are going to need an extra bag!) to make travel really easy and convenient.
This video below will give you more ideas.
If you want an organized suitcase be sure to check out the EZPacking company!
#4 Give each child their own carry-on
I think it’s important to foster independence with each child by allowing them to each have their own carry-on bag to be responsible for. Each packed with a variety of activities and snacks to keep them busy. A favorite bag to use in our house, for my boys especially, are these small over the shoulder MEC sling packs. The bags aren’t too big so over packing is avoided and they don’t get too heavy for the kids to carry. I also like the water bottle holders on the side. Mine are many years old but you can find similar ones on the MEC website.
I took these pictures back in 2012 of my boys and their packs. Ahh my boys are so small here. Now my older boy is way taller than me!
Each pack is big enough for a book, electronics, notebooks, crayons, etc. A cell phone/snack pocket sits on the front.
I hope you find these packing with kids tips to be helpful. To see how I use packing cubes to maximize space in a carry-on bag, check out this post HERE.
Also you can find all my travel blog posts HERE.