We've done a lot of traveling this summer... far more than usual! I've gotten pretty good at packing. In fact, I will dare to say I've got it down to a science. I've always been a list maker. I have lists for my lists. I love to be organized and I have to be because my memory is non-existant. So, here are my tips for packing... I use this more when packing for my children, but I think I'll use it for my trip to Vegas next week, too.
I start by making cards or pieces of paper with days and any activities that will be happening on a certain day that might need special clothing. For instance, when we went to the water park this week, I labeled the cards with what we would be doing on a specific day (water park day gets a bathing suit, cover up, and extra outfit for when we get out of the water).
My children are all going to my parents' house tomorrow for the WHOLE WEEK!!!! I'm secretly jumping up and down (which I know that no good mama is supposed to admit to... but it's been a long summer with very little down time for mama). I'm sure I'll miss them, but I sure am looking forward to a bit of a break. They will be going to VBS with my parents, so there's not really a certain thing they will need for each day. I wrote each day on an index card. If there are special instructions for a certain day, I include them, too.... like Friday night there's a waterslide... so the kids need a swimsuit and a t-shirt/shorts to wear over it. All that goes on the card.
There's also a card with "pajamas" and "panties" and "swimsuits." Sometimes the girls pick all their extras out for me and they bring them to this pile. Since I pretty much unpacked, washed the clothes with Jason's help and packed them up again, I already had a stack of pajamas and panties downstairs.
I like for my kids to match. Some people turn up their noses at this, but that's what I do. :)
They actually don't match as much anymore... because I have Lucy and she has a mind of her own (darn independence) and she doesn't like to wear what I pick out... and I like to pass down clothes... so Julianne pretty much had an entire closet full of clothes without me buying anything new.
ANYWAY... I have their matching outfits in a stack under certain days... once they are all accounted for under a certain day, I turn the card over face down. You'd be surprised how much effort it takes to find the same outfit in 3 different rooms (did I mention my kids put their own clothes away... even Julianne??? So... sometimes their clothes are a bit... hard to find). Once I turn over the cards that are finished, I can see what I still need to locate. Lucy needs a random set of playclothes for Thursday and Adelaide still needs a Matilda Jane outfit for Friday... for example). Once everything is done, I load it all up in the bag under days so that all of their stuff is together. I pack by day... not child. All three of their outfits will be together. All of their pajamas will be together.
There is also a list of things that need to be packed on the day we leave (like toothbrushes, loveys, pillows and blankets that they love).