Last summer, as we were getting ready to go on our three-week road trip, I came across the Ziploc bag packing system and thought… hey, that is really smart!
So I decided to try it.
And it rocked!
We have since used this system every time we go anywhere, and it works so well that part of me wants to put all of my kids clothes into baggies for “real life”!
The way the system works is pretty self-evident from the picture, but let me flesh it out for those of you (like me) that appreciate all the nitty gritty details.
- As we are getting ready to go on our trips, I lay out all the kids clothes on the dining table. The table trick is one I learned from my mom. In 1982. Before there was an Internet.
- For each day that we’ll be away, I make little stacks that contain one complete outfit, including underwear, tzitzit and socks. If it’s a Shabbat outfit, I throw in a belt and/or Shabbat shoes. Since my two year-old just potty trained, she got two complete outfits per day – just in case (and some extra diapers for nighttime).
- I then pack up every day into a separate ziploc bag for each kid. Winter clothes tend to require the extra-large bags, but summer outfits can still mostly fit into gallon-size bags. I label each bag with the child’s name and the day.
- As I’m zipping the bag shut, I carefully press out all the air, so that the bag will lay as flat as possible in the suitcase.
- I usually make up a separate bag for PJs (one bag per child – unless it’s a short trip, and then all PJs go into the same bag). I also tend to pack a “Just In Case” bag, which is one complete extra outfit. If we’re going anywhere for longer than 4 or 5 days, I usually plan to do laundry while we’re away.
- If we are driving to our destination and will be spending one or more nights on the road, I pack the bags for those day in a separate small carry-on. That way, when we get to our hotel (invariably at 1 o’clock in the morning), we just grab the small bag and leave the rest of the luggage in the trunk.
So, what are the benefits of this amazing system?
1.There is no need to unpack at your destination. Even if you do decide for some reason to unpack into a dresser, all you have to do is toss in the bags and you’re done.
2. It eliminates the whole, “Mom, I can’t find my underwear!” crisis in the morning. If they’ve found the right bag, they’ve found the undies.
3. It makes for a much neater hotel room / guest room since your kids aren’t tossing all their clothes around to find the missing underwear.
4. It’s fun telling my 5 year old, “Go find Tuesday,” and then go watching him sift through the bags for the one that has a T on it.
5. Last but not least, it makes it very easy to ensure that you’re not forgetting anything. Each outfit, in its entirety, is stuffed into a bag, so odds are you won’t miss packing a key component.
Since we love Mother Earth, we do reuse our plastic baggies. If I’m being organized (big IF), I store the baggies in the suitcase so they’re ready to go for next time.
Now I suppose that if your child wears exclusively dry-clean only and/or must-be-ironed-to-look-presentable clothing, you won’t be too keen on the idea of keeping their clothing in a ziploc bag for a week.
But for the rest of us wash-and-wear types, this system is golden. If you’re not already using it, try it on your next trip and let me know how much you love it!