Over the summer as I was packing for our family vacation, I thought about how my packing has improved over the years since we moved far away from our families.
I thought the ideas here may be helpful to some of you!
We drive a long distance every year to visit family and friends and usually stay a night or two at a hotel on the way there and back. After arriving at the hotel, I used to stand at the back of our van and point out to my husband which suitcases and bags needed to come into the room and which ones needed to stay. It was such a pain (literally for my hubby!) to lug all of that luggage into the room and back to the van the next morning. And, it was a huge job for me to re-pack the van every time we stopped.
Finally, a great idea dawned on me. And this summer that idea was improved upon by a suggestion from my friend.
When we visit our family, we generally stay with some for a few nights, then with others for a few more. Sometimes, we visit another location for a few more nights. Inevitably, we don’t wind up staying in the same place for more than a few nights.
So, instead of packing a suitcase or bag for each of my four children, my husband and myself, I now pack the entire family’s clothes together according to how many nights we are staying. I also pack one toiletry bag for the whole family.
Here is how I do it:
- Count the total number of days you will be gone. Put the clothes for the entire family on a table (or the floor). You should see our living room when I’m packing for summer vacation!
- Decide how many outfits you will need for your first destination. Separate that amount of clothes for each person into one pile. That will give you an indication of how large of a bag or container (more on that in a minute!) you will need.
- Continue separating the clothes until all clothes are distributed for each destination.
I used to put all of the clothes in a large suitcase or bag until my friend gave me the best packing suggestion ever – use a tote! They are sturdy, water/mess proof, stack well and are excellent laundry baskets for dirty clothes, and unused clean clothes.
Now, I just pack the family’s clothes for each destination in a tote. You can adjust the size of the tote, just like you would a suitcase or bag.
We recently took a weekend vacation where we stayed at different places for two nights and three days. I packed one tote for each location. The toiletry bag comes with us everywhere.
Now when we stop at a hotel, I just tell my husband which tote to bring in. When we stay for a few nights at a time, we still only need one tote. It’s amazing how many clothes can fit (especially when packing summer clothes)!
I put the clean clothes in a dresser (if there is one) and we fill the tote with the dirty clothes as we wear them. It’s great when we arrive home to take the tote to the laundry room. No sorting through bags/suitcases for dirty and clean clothes all mixed together!
This is what the van looked like for a weekend away for six people (including food for snacks and lunches, a computer, cameras and two air mattresses):