Tip: Packing for Kids

I had a breakthrough yesterday, as I was packing my daughters bag for a short getaway we are taking. A few things have always bothered me about packing her bag: I spend so much time carefully rolling her clothes (my Mom taught me to roll rather than fold when packing a suitcase) only to have her tear apart all my carefully laid plans as she searches the bag for a certain item, I unknowingly placed on the bottom. Secondly, withing a couple days we have no idea what is clean and what is dirty, the bag is simply chaotic.
This year I decided to pack her stuff in one of our many sport duffle bags. I think we all have a few of these laying around the house. If you don't, they are an inexpensive alternative to luggage. Plus they are a great depth for this technique.
I create my packing lists for vacations weeks in advance, its a nerd habit I have. So once I start gathering items they get checked off my list. I usually roll a few outfits together and then leave some individual pieces rolled up for her to pick and choose. But here is the secret to packing the sport duffle bag: Keep it visible!
It's all in how you fill 'her up. Every item is rolled and visible to the eye when you open the bag. No digging required. There are outfit options, tops, pants, all easy for the eye to see. No need to destroy the bag on impact. I put undies, undershirts and socks in the side pocket, swim stuff on the other side pocket. These duffle bags come with tons of zippers and pockets to fill. I let Kia fill the rest with little toys and accessories she wants to bring along. There is also room for shoes in the long side pocket, but I usually put our shoes in another bag.

Some ideas I have for maintaining the bag: Once an outfit is soiled, reroll and place in a shopping bag and put back in the bag. Or create a divider using a large plastic bag (er, hotel dry cleaning bag anyone?), separating clean and dirty with maybe a bag covering the entire dirty area. This works for us because we live out of the suitcase, we are rarely in a place long enough to unpack, so we are constantly digging through our bags.

Hopefully this is a helpful tip for others out there who travel with children.

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