Today Kristin Mastromarino a professional organizer from Livable Solutions has joined me in response to yesterday's column where I shared my anxiety with her about packing for summer outings and organizing my days with the kids out of school. I shared that I was lucky to get through the day's tasks, never mind pack, and prepare for dinner, laundry, etc. I asked her if she could share some tips on packing summer bags to make it easier because inevitably I would forget something. Here is her response.
Packing for a day at the beach with a large family can feel like you are packing for a 2 week vacation! To help guide you I put together this checklist and some scheduling tips to jog your memory and help you customize a plan that works for you:
Quick Packing List:
1.Wallet with cash (sometimes that is all that beach side stands will take)
- Books and magazines for the kids and adults
- Disposable wipes (or damp paper towels in a zippered plastic bag)
- First aid kit
- Toys, playing cards, sand games for the kids
- Change of clothes for each kid
- Beach towels (1 for each person)
- Beach cover ups
- Baseball hat or wide-brimmed hat
- Lip balm with sunscreen
- Aloe vera gel
- Insect repellent
- Large beach bag
- Cooler with water, beverages, and fruits to stay hydrated
- Floatees for young children
- Folding beach chairs
- Beach umbrella
- Family-sized blanket
- Hair bands and brush or comb
- Swim cap
- tennis racquet
- water bottles
In addition to packing for the day you may want to try some of these tips to better prepare yourself the day before and the day of:
1.Create a menu for the next day and prep any food you will need for snacks, lunch or dinner.
- Have each kid pack their lunch for the next day.
- Pack your beach bags and other beach items in the car the night before
- Communicate to your kids what the wake-up and departure times are for the next day so everyone is up and ready on time.
- Freeze some water bottles to serve as both ice and cool beverages in your cooler the next day.
- Make sure all beach laundry is clean and ready to be packed. Have one of your children complete this task.
Day of Beach Trip:
1.Have a child water the plants before you leave.
- Have a child set the table for dinner so you are all ready when you come home.
- Pack the cooler and load it in the car.
- Apply sunscreen before you get in the car to give it time to soak in and better protect you.
Long Term Tips:
To make remembering what to pack in your bags easier each time, designate specific bags for the beach/pool. Create a list based on what necessities are must haves every time you head to the beach or the pool and type it up.Laminate the list and attach it to your bag so you can quickly check off items. You can use a dry erase marker on the list to cross items off as you pack them.
While this may not cover everything on your list for your family, hopefully it will help you remember all of the basics. Send us a list of your must have items for the beach or any tips you have to make packing a little bit easier.
Kristin is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing (www.livablesolutions.com) and the Organized Lifestyle online retail store (www.theorganizedlifestylestore.com). Send her your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.