I was so excited that my sister, Kate Castellaw, agreed to do a guest post for me! Kate is talented at many things, but most of all she is an awesome mom of two (ages 1 and 5). With that being said, she is often packing her car and taking her kids on trips to fun places…Disney World, mountains, beach, you name it. She is on the road so often that she has become an expert on packing (she makes me look like a slob). Thanks to my creative and funny sis, Kate, for writing this post…couldn’t ask for a better sis in the world!
Let me start out my post by saying that I do not have my ducks in a row…Emily got the organizational gene in the family whereas I got the creative gene. Everyone says we look & act & talk just alike, but when it comes down to it, we are opposites in many regards…she gets everything done in the morning & I get things done long after she’s been asleep at night. She’s OCD & I’m ADD. I’ve had people tell me I have the junkiest “junk” drawer they’ve ever seen & hers is color-coded & labeled with just the right size container for everything from a rubber band ball to thumbtacks. She loves The Container Store for the containers…I go there to buy wrapping paper & fun bins that I spend more time decorating with paint pens than I do organizing things in them. I’ve always wished I had just a little bit of her organizational skills! So, I was honored when she asked me to write a guest blog about how to pack for a road trip with the family…I do take pride in my packing skills & it’s one of the few things I get a little obsessive about. I like to have all the clothes ironed & perfectly folded & I pack each day’s outfit for the kids (including socks, bow, etc.) in individual Ziploc bags (this definitely helps a nana when they are dressing kids on their own). I think it’s the anticipation of a vacation that makes me find it exciting to pack for! (On the reverse end, I will go a week before unpacking from a trip, which creates all sorts of clutter and laundry.) I can’t really tell you what to pack, but I’ll just tell you how I pack it & maybe you can take a few tips. Just call me a bag lady b/c I’m all about having the right bags, as you will see…
Starting with the basics, I am a huge supporter of Ziploc bags, especially the large, x-large, & XXL ones. I LOVE these guys & use them for everything! Ziploc bags are the foundation of my packing skills & I use all sizes.
I’m better at packing my kids’ things than my own, so I’ll start there. I bought this suitcase for my daughter Caroline years ago & love it so much that I often borrow it when I travel sans kiddos. It fits over a week’s worth of clothes, shoes, stuffed animals & blankets in it & has great compartments for the smaller items (hair bows, bath products, etc.).
I let my daughter pack any of her toys in her Melissa & Doug “trunki” case…this gizmo is great…whatever her thing of the moment is, she keeps in it…right now, she has about 20 Barbie dolls & all their accessories in it…she’s allowed to pack whatever she can fit in it & I always love seeing the random “necessities” she packs when we get to our destination. She & her cousin Annie will sit for hours looking through one another’s trunki & baby Reid & baby Brooks love to sit on them & ride them when the girls aren’t looking.
For my 1 year old son, the extra large LL Bean canvas tote holds it all…I strategically pack all the baby necessities in individual large Ziploc bags & throw those in the bottom & then I pack his clothes in a separate duffle bag, which I throw on top…voila…all that little guy’s gear-from blankets, to bibs to bottles – in one large bag!
I’m guilty of over packing for myself, but aren’t we all?…I try to limit my things to 3 bags…one for clothes, one for shoes & makeup/bathroom supplies & a hanging garment bag. This bag (actually a laundry hamper) goes with me on any road trip. I think I’ve given my mom & sister one of these & think they use them as much as I do. I can easily pack ALL of my belongings for a weekend trip in this one bag. And, since it is summer time, I thought I’d mention my favorite pool/beach bag, which is the Scout Bag Original Deano Tote…you can wipe it down, it carries towels, floats & beach toys & you can throw it over your shoulder, which helps b/c I’m usually carrying my 1 year old around as well. Maybe I have a thing for bags, but all of these sure make packing fun for me…I think I’ve given my sister most of these bags as gifts over the years & she always uses them as well, so maybe I have actually helped her get her ducks in a row, at least when it comes to packing!