Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tips for Packing with a Family

It's travel time again. And gone are the days when you blissfully threw your clothes into a suitcase and left it in your room for your dad to get and take to the car. YOU are now the parent in charge of not only getting the luggage to the car, but packing that luggage as well. Besides just the clothes, shoes and socks, all of which your two year old may well drag out of the suitcase three minutes after you've put everything in, you also need to pack the diapers, road snacks, road toys (can anyone say portable DVD player?), port-a-crib, and the list goes on, and on, and on. So let me give you a few tips for getting on the road.

1. Clean your house early. Nobody wants to come home from being gone two weeks and walk into a house that looks like it just survived a nuclear holocaust. At the same time, cleaning your house and packing can be a little overwhelming (and impossible). So try cleaning your house earlier in the week, before the crazy packing starts. If you have the floors swept and vacuumed and the bathroom scrubbed, you can do a quick pick-up an hour or two before you walk out the door and know that everything is pretty clean. Not that your house won't have a stray toy littering the floor or a few books stacked on the stairway, but you won't return home to chaos and filth.

2. Take your clothes from the laundry basket and put them straight in the suitcase. The week before leaving, try letting some of the laundry sit until a couple days before you head out. Then do the laundry, drag those suitcases out of the closet, and put the clean clothes straight in the suitcases. Then you won't be folding clothes and putting them away one day only to drag them out the next day and refold them so they fit into your suitcase a little better. This is one of those rare cases where putting off laundry will actually save you time. :)

3. If you'll have use of a washer and dryer, only pack five outfits. Five. Yes, I know it's hard to limit yourself, especially if you have little boys with penchants for getting dirty often. But since I can do laundry every few days, I don't need to take more than five. Plus it's hard enough to make sure those five outfits get back into the suitcase for the return trip. Why add more?

So there you have it. Three tips for packing with your little ones. We'll revisit this topic again on Friday because, well, the more I think about it, the more I realize how many more packing and traveling tips I have. So until then, happy packing!

A special thanks to Melissa Jagears for filling in for the blog on Monday, when I was traveling 600 miles with two little boys. To read her post on living frugally, click here. Or you can visit her blog, where she has a ton of cool frugal tips.

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