Growing Kids

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

tips for packing...

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who replied to my email, the overwhelming response has inspired me to finally start my blog.  I hope you had as much fun as I did, and if you missed it, don’t worry, there will be plenty more to come!

The Top 5 "Mom packing tips" were:
  • Baby powder actually removes sand, from everywhere…genius, Melissa's Mom knows the deal.
  • Sheryl suggested the 1-3 outlet converter…there really never seems to be enough plugs.
  • When renting, pack sheets in laundry baskets, they can double as hampers when you get there - thanks Nancy
  • Don’t forget your patience, we can all thank Diane for that reminder!
  • Hands down, the best answer goes to Nicole with, never let your husband pack for himself.

For those of you who didn’t see the email, here were the questions…
 Now for the results…
22.7% of all votes said high heels, a dressy outfit and jewelry were a waste of space.  I have to agree with this to an extent, but at the same time, it’s always important to be fashionably prepared for any circumstance!  What I usually do is pack at least 2 outfits that easily convert from beachy daytime outfits, to something I can wear for a night out.
It’s a simple switch, from flip flops to heels – or even dressy sandals, put on some jewelry, and trade in the beach bag for an evening clutch.  The shoes are the only addition to your luggage, and just like that, you are ready for a fancy date!  Here are two examples I just pulled out of my closet, if you need help doing this on your own, just stop by the store and ask!

Can you find the similarities here?

As a side note, I use a zippered clutch during the day to hold my credit cards, money, chapstick, gum, cell phone and camera inside my beach bag.  Not only does it keep the small things organized, it protects them from getting sandy, and it’s perfect to grab for a quick run to the snack stand or the unavoidable surf shop shopping spree. 

Extra shoes also seemed to be a popular item that gets packed and never used.  A good rule of thumb is, if you cant wear a pair of shoes with at least 2 outfits, leave them home!  (The same goes for pants, shorts and skirts)

I really got a chuckle out of the need for packing waterproof mascara and the contents of the medicine cabinet.  I always do this, and never need any of it – but like most of you said, the one time you forget the Tylenol…you know what will happen.  Especially if you are in another country, it was an adventure and a half to find Benadryl when I was in Aruba!!

I was surprised to see the number of people who bring their camera and don’t use it.  One thing I never regret is taking too many pictures.  It’s the only way to really document and share your travel, and I would feel terrible if I didn’t tell everyone to bring your camera and use it people!!  You will thank me later! 
Look at some of the opportunities I would have missed...

Bryce Canyon

Big Sur

Side of the road in Utah

Crescent City, CA

Since moving to Los Angeles 20-months ago, I have traveled 21 times.  I have discovered there is nothing more annoying than being somewhere and needing something I left behind.  I hope this doesn’t jynx future trips, but I have become a pro at remembering everything I need!

It seems we all agree that a packing list is a MUST, and that electronic chargers are the culprits when it comes to what is most often forgotten!  Having wasted valuable shopping money on my fair share of different chargers, I must say the only way I have solved this was by writing, “& charger” next to every electronic item on my packing list.

Toiletries are also difficult to remember.  Some of the most forgotten items were, sunblock, Q-tips, hair products, toothpaste/toothbrush, and earplugs.  I have learned, the best time to pack my toiletries, is right after I take my last shower before leaving for my trip.  I leave my bathroom bag open and put everything in there as I use it.  Keeping a toiletries bag fully stocked and ready to go is a great tip from Ann Marie and the trial size aisle at CVS comes in handy for the plastic Q-Tip container, a small tube of toothpaste, and face wash, all which can just stay in your bathroom bag for next time.  

Rain coats and laundry bags are a must and two of the most forgotten items!  The best thing to pack are kitchen garbage bags, they can double as an emergency raincoat if need be, that's a tip straight from my Mom, Janis - and she has plenty more where that came from!

As you can see, it's been working for me since 1985.  I'm certain the raincoat didn't last the day with all of that mud, and that's why the garbage bag came out!

If you happen to forget a laundry bag, all you need to do is unpack all of your items into the closet or dresser and use your suitcase for the dirty items.

Zip-Lock bags are great for packing items that can leak and it never hurts to throw a few extras in there.  A few of our customers have also said they have used different sized zip-locks and placed one full children’s outfit into each bag.  Or even the dry cleaners plastic that you would otherwise have thrown out (special thank you to Hope’s Mom!)

Another suggestion was the “jelly-roll” where you roll up your child’s shorts, shirt, socks and underwear together and secure it with a rubber band (thanks Patty!) - I’ll even go as far as suggesting using hair elastics, you can never have enough of those!

That brings me to the topic of rolling your clothes vs. folding them. I was surprised to see how many people do actually roll their clothes, but the jury is still out over here…I’ll have to give it a try and let you know what I thought!

Kids favorites, such as stuffed animals, blankies, pacifiers, etc. are one thing that can not be replaced when you are far away from home, so make sure you add that to your list.  A great suggestion from a few Mom’s was, to let kids help pack their own ROLLING suitcases, so you don’t forget their favorite items.  When their bags roll, you have a better chance of getting them to carry it.   

The Melissa and Doug Trunki, as I’m sure you know, makes traveling fun because the kids can ride on their suitcase, and it doubles as a ride-on toy when you reach your destination.  

It also is available at Growing Kids for $39.99
(mention this blog and you can have $5 OFF!)

There were a few items listed as unnecessary by some and necessities by others, 
here they are along with my two cents:

First aid kit – those little mini kits are perfect for traveling and only a few dollars…worth it being put on your checklist.  I also never leave home without a sewing kit, you never know!

Extra socks and underwear – pack them in your sneakers to save room (Thanks Gloria!)

Hair dryer – chances are the hotel has one, and if you’re camping or on a tropical vacation you don’t need one, leave it home!  Just make sure you bring one good hair product that allows you to air dry…as well as a hat, some bobby pins, and headbands, just in case it doesn’t dry how you expected.

Wipes – especially after the kids are out of diapers this is easy to forget, but lets be realistic, you aren't going to make it through a good vacation without needing some kind of wipe at any age!

Jackets or sweaters – I always pack a very thin sweater that matches most of my outfits and doesn’t take up much room in my luggage…but for the heavier items, when in doubt, leave it home…hoodies make great souvenirs!

So there it is, my first blog entry.  I hope there is a little something that you can take away from the information I've gathered and most importantly I hope you smiled your way through this like I have.  Please feel free to leave comments below and let me know what you think!  


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