Packing Tips for Procrastinators

 In Packing, Travel Essentials and Gear, Travel Tips

I am a last-minute packer. I admit it. I procrastinate chatting online, playing with my kids, and anything else I can possibly find to keep myself busy so that I end up packing at the eleventh hour. I’m throwing notes up on the front door at midnight so we can grab random items as we run out the door to the airport in the morning. I have no lists I work off of; I just wing it. Yes, this is a fabulous way to go about packing I know.

Why in the world would you take packing tips from me? Well I can’t be the only one out there that has issues with packing. There is a method to my madness, although many might not be able to see it if they walked into my house the afternoon before a trip. A few key “ingredients” go into pulling off this type of packing, and somehow, magically, it always works.

Laundry: Ever since having kids I feel like I am constantly doing laundry. I’m sorting it, washing it or folding it. Before a trip I try to get as many loads done as possible the day before I really need to start packing. This way I just have to look through all of my piles, grab clothes for everyone, and throw them in the suitcase.

Toiletries: We have traveled so much in the past year that I pretty much have our toiletries bag packed at all times. I just grab it out of the closet and substitute any weather related items we may need (i.e. sunscreen, anti-itch cream, etc.). I’ve bought 2nd tooth brushes and kids toothpaste so I don’t have to worry about grabbing our every day ones before we leave the house. After a miscommunication that left my husband without deodorant in Japan, I now have both of ours permanently packed. I’ve got kids and adult nail clippers, shampoo and everything else we could possibly need. The only thing I may add in is a new bar of soap.

Kids Toys: I am still in charge of all of my kids clothing, but my toddler can pack his own toys. Dek has his very own backpack that he can load up to the brim as long as he can carry it. The night before we leave my husband or I take Dek into his room and tell him to pick 5 toys. Usually they are tiny cars, which work just fine, but if he goes for something larger (like his train set) we can talk about leaving it at home.

Electrical Cords: I have finally gotten wise to the fact that if we have all of our  cords in one case maybe, just maybe, we won’t forget them cross the globe. I found a decent sized toiletries bag that fits all of the phone and Kindle chargers, laptop charger, and even a computer mouse. It has revolutionized the way we pack up as we leave on a trip, as well as when we have to gather everything to come home.

Notes to self: I will be putting sticky notes on our front door with things like “turn heat down,” and “don’t forget make-up bag” until I am in the grave. It is the only way I can be sure we don’t miss any last-minute items as we run out the door.

My system is not perfect, but somehow it does work for us. Magically I have forgotten a lot less than you would think. One day I will make a checklist for the whole family to work through before our travels. Maybe then I won’t be the only insane person packing us up; I may even get to sit down and eat dinner.

Want more packing tips? Check out our awesome Packing page.

Photo credit: Flickr/ljcybergal

 

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Showing 10 comments
  • Jessica

    I am right there with you-queen of packing procrastination. But this week, I have actually begun to pack a whole week early. Go me!

  • I love the idea of keeping a bag of toiletries packed and at the ready. Same with the chargers. That’s a great tip!

  • Julia

    I also leave my toiletries basically packed at all times (the bag just lives in my suitcase). But I go ever further – other things that live in my suitcase are my passport and yellow vaccination card, all of my bazillion electrical converters, my hoboroll (I swear I am not shilling for the company but google it, it’s a dream packing tool), my luggage scale, and piles upon piles of old ziploc bags and zip makeup bags for packing small things. All objects that I only use when traveling, so why not let them just live in my suitcase?

  • Alyson

    A wash bag for all the chargers and wires is a great idea. I use zip lock bags for everything, I like to be able to see what is in each bag, but on a long trip, as we are about to embark on, they are going to deteriorate. I’m going wash bag shopping, they will be semi waterproof, too! I have a small travel wash bag that I bought at a Tupperware party ( I had to buy something!) it came with travel sized bottles and containers, not only is it fabulous, leak proof and durable, I always have it full and ready to go.

  • Tonya

    The only thing I hate more than packing, is to unpack!

    We also have a toiletries bag ready to go- I even have spare make-up! If only I had a spare straightener. That’s the one item I’m likely to forget in the morning as I’m rushing out the door. My kids also have their own toiletries bag and they’re ready to go at a moments notice.

  • I’m glad to hear I’m not the only person who has left a charger in a hotel room. We already have toiletry bags that are packed. We just do a quick double check before leaving. Love the idea of a charger bag too. We’ve had packing spreadsheet for years. Now I cut off the column for each kid and hand it to them and they pack themselves.

  • Amy @ The Q Family

    I am the same way. Funny enough when I was younger and no kids, I used to pack way in advance and sometimes even weeks! I like your post-it note idea. We also have a travel toiletries bag that I can grab and go any time.

  • Mom

    And..if you forget a charger, ask at the front desk of any hotel. They usually have all the ones your friends left behind. A list on the computer is the only way to go! We’ve come a long way from when your Grandmother would use yellow legal size paper to make packing lists for four kids, 3 cats and a dog for our ventures up into NH each year.

  • jill

    Great tips! We always pack last minute and inevitably forget to pack various things. Electronic chargers are the hardest ones to remember!

  • Maria Newman

    i always wait the last minute, for everything! Although I’m a professional mover and packing people’s items and moving their homes is my job, packing my stuff is an issue. Each time I have to pace for a vacation or a longer move, it’s a disaster and I can’t organize anything properly. These are nice and helpful tips and I think they will work quite good for my winter vacation packing. Thanks for sharing! Greets, Maria.

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