One of the things that gets my anxiety up on a trip is organizing the family. When we aren't at home things get crazy and I can never seem to find what I need, especially in the car. Over the years, I have found some things that work and they are going to come in really handy for our upcoming trip. Maybe these things can help your family as well.
1. Put a plan of action together and take time packing the car. How I do this is- when I make my packing list, I write what I will pack that group of items in and the general location it will be in the car.
2. When packing items that will be used in the car, pack in a back that is either really simple to open or that does not close at all. If you have to open and close while getting items out, items may end up being just laid on top.
3. Having several different items to pack food and drink in really helps me. I have a large cooler and tote in the back for extra food and drinks. In the front with me, I have either a large lunch box or insulated picnic basket (depending on what types of snacks I pack and how many), as well as snacks that do not need to be cold in a brown bag inside my tote. This keeps there from being so much around our feet and helps keep it a bit more organized. I refill the next day or for the trip home.
4. I keep a Large Utility Tote from Thirty-One in the very back, where it is very handy. This will usually stay in the car just about the whole trip. In this, I keep a couple of balls and some bubbles for playing at the park, swimming gear (I usually stick my beach bag down in it), an extra change of clothes for the kids, fishing poles, and bug spray/ sun screen/ other necessities. If we are going to have a picnic that day, I just throw our lunches in that and it is all handy.
5. Backpacks. The kids are responsible for their backpacks. Before a trip, I take out their restaurant kits that have coloring books, crayons, etc, and let them put whichever toys they want in them. We use those plastic links that kids like to play with and hang them on the handle of the seat in front of them. They are responsible for putting those items away. I can also put their tablets in these and they can just carry their backpacks in at night.
6. Kids Activities. I actually have two things I use for this. Between them, I put a box (more on this box later) and in it are books, toys, puzzles, that they can decide to play with as they want. It also has their sunglasses, travel pillows, and blankets in it. It has a lid, as well, which I have found very handy. With me, I have a tote that has surprises, magnetic boards, and activities that I pass out along the way. Sometimes they can put these in their box when they are finished and sometimes I take them back for the return trip.
7. Center Console. This is the tricky part because it is front and center. Of course, you need the map there, but I have also found keeping chargers, toll money, extra sunglasses, and other items you will need on the drive really helps. I also keep coffee cups front and center and water bottles handy. I usually keep a little cup, bag, or basket right up front with ibuprofen, caffeine pills (the dose that is the same as a cup of coffee), sinus pills, and an inhaler. This is so that when a problem comes, there is no time wasted getting the appropriate medicine in one of the adults.
8. When packing clothing for the trip, be very mindful of how you pack. I tend to pack the whole family together. As the kids get older, I'll probably make them responsible for their own. What I do is pack our "everyday" clothes in our duffel, and jackets, warm clothes, extra outfits, and other things we may need in a tote and leave that in the car until it is needed. If you are taking a serious road trip, with lots of driving each day and packing up each morning, consider a different approach. Consider bins, smaller duffels, or totes- one for the whole family per day and then a separate one for toiletries, cosmetics, shoes, etc.
9. The biggest thing is making sure to stay on top of putting things back where they belong. This is the hardest thing or me to get across to my whole family. Don't get to it later- do it when you finish. No matter if it is a toy, electronics, medication- put it away when you are done. Trash, throw it away (make sure there is somewhere handy to throw trash and empty when you stop.
(I received a product to review. All opinions are my own)
10. Thirty-One- As I have mentioned more than once how much I love Thirty-One. I got this bin to review and absolutely love it. I have tried using it several different times, including to organize the items I have to surprise them with along the way, but it just works best between them. It is super sturdy, with an awesome top that snaps on. One of my favorite things about it is the loop at the back so it can be seatbelted in (awesome huh?) The Flip-Top Organizing bin has to be one of my favorite items from Thirty-One. you can use to keep your car organized all the time, or like I do- I keep the kids' travel stuff organized in it when we are not traveling. There are so many way s to use it, even adding in drawer organizers or cups for art supplies. The uses are as endless as the ways it can be organized! After our trip, I'll share more about how I like it!