June 26, 2007

E-Z Vacation Packing

Family vacations…… (sigh)……I love them and I hate them. It’s great to get away and make memories, but the work required to get 6 people and all their stuff out the door without forgetting favorite blankies and the ever important undergarments would make a drill sergeant go all weak at the knees.

So one day I stopped and thought, “Why the heck am I doing all the work?” I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I was willing to delegate to the kiddos. Which actually means, what am I willing to let them do all by themselves and let the chips fall where they may if the job isn’t done right? Or to break it down even more…..what will I let slip from my control-freak fingers and not stress over?

The answer was packing!

I made a packing list for each of us in the form of a word document. Then found pictures for each item on the list from google images and pasted them into the document so even the non-readers would be able to read it. Then I handed each kid their list and sent them to work.






They loved the idea! I think the pictures made it all the more fun and who knew they would think it was a big game to pack their own things? The non-readers got a little reading lesson in the deal as well as number practice. (ie…. 4 underwear, 3 shirts, etc.)

I let the big kids find it and pack it all away, never to be checked by me. I figured we’d rack it up to Lesson-Learned if they forgot something. For the little kiddos, I had them lay it all out on their beds for me to check, and then let them stuff it all into their own little bags with all its zippered nooks and crannies.

It took all my willpower not to worry about wrinkles, forgotten items, and matching clothing, But it shaved hours off my vacation workload and I was just plain happy with that kind of trade-off.

Now, I even let them do the list for Chris and I and then we stuff our bags ourselves. The time saved gets put into a team effort of tidying the house before we leave, because there’s nothing worse than coming home from vacation to an already thrashed house.

So there it is, another brilliant idea that you’ve probably already been doing for years.

Go check out more great tips at Works For Me Wednesday.

15 comments:

EE said...

I'm so impressed! Thanks for the terrific idea!!

Christy said...

I really like the idea. I have had a packing list that I print out for each trip for a long time, since our honeymoon. My dd has her own list. She is only 16 months so she can't do her own packing yet, but someday I will use this tip to delegate.

justabeachkat said...

Now this is a GREAT idea! I end up packing mine and then having to do my hubby's too. I'm gonna pass this idea on to my daughter-in-law. The grandkids will really get into this, I think.

Thanks!

Hugs!
Kat

Halfmoon Girl said...

Great idea- I make up lists for them sometimes- but this sounds more organized and fun for all!

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Great idea! I'll be packing us up for a trip soon, and I can use all the suggestions I can get!

happychyck said...

I love this idea! I don't mind packing at all, and usually find that the fastest way to pack for the kids is the keep them busy and out of my way. However, I should really try to involve them more and delegate when possible. We're going on vacation in a week, so I think I'll try this out!

nsremom said...

That was brilliant. Use it to pack and come to my house.

ConservaChick said...

I like this idea Gayle. Last week we went camping and DD#2 packed 3 tank tops, 7 pairs of underwear and that's it... Even pictures wouldn't help that girl. ~Karlie

Llama Momma said...

I love this!! We're going camping next month and I'm gonna try it. Could be interesting, but you're right -- it would save a ton of time!!

mistihollrah said...

I use this method for my kids. I have different packing checklist for different types of packing. For example: soccer tournament, vacation, weekends at grandmas, dance competition weekends & sleepovers. I have them in my family organizer, they are also laminated so they can be used over & over again.

That doesn't mean that I don't pack for my family sometimes!

Rachelle said...

Great idea! My two littles are two young, but it might work for the older two. With three family vacations planned for the summer, I might have to take your suggestion. :-)

Halfmoon Girl said...

I just want to know how you felt after you read that AWESOME post written by your husband!

Gayle said...

I was a mushy gusy mess of goo! And there was a whole lotta lovin' going on!

Gayle

Cindy said...

I just did this (only with my PATHETIC own drawings-- didn't think of Google!) and the girls loved it. They insisted each word or picture have a box by it that they could then check. I love having a friend as brilliant as you are. Wish you would make a Google Image packing list to come to visit Hoosier land!

BJ @ www.homeschoolblogger.com/40winkzzz said...

It IS a brilliant idea, and I HAVE been doing it for years! But I never thought to download pics when I had non-readers-- I just drew 'em in by hand the old-fashioned way.

I have general packing lists (in different versions according to what sort of trip), clothing packing lists for each person, & food packing lists. I also have vacation menus. Oh, did I say I *have* lists & menus? I meant HAD. Brilliant idea #2: Make sure to back up documents on your computer, or at least save hard copies. After a decade of anally tweaking my lists, I get to start from scratch this year. :-(

I have a funny story about vacation packing and teeange boys. I think I'll post it on my own blog instead of telling it here. It'll go right along with my last post about how many times my 11-y/o changed his clothing (or didn't!) at church camp...

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