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A Professional Organizer's Response to Packing Your Beach Bag

An inside look at what a mom could do differently to better organize her beach bag and day with children.

Today Kristin Mastromarino a professional organizer from Livable Solutions has joined me in response to yesterday's column where I shared my anxiety with her about packing for summer outings and organizing my days with the kids out of school. I shared that I was lucky to get through the day's tasks, never mind pack,  and prepare for dinner, laundry, etc.  I asked her if she could share some tips on packing summer bags  to make it easier because inevitably I would forget something.  Here is her response.

 

Packing for a day at the beach with a large family can feel like you are packing for a 2 week vacation! To help guide you I put together this checklist and some scheduling tips to jog your memory and help you customize a plan that works for you:

 

Quick Packing List:

1.Wallet with cash (sometimes that is all that beach side stands will take)

  1. Books and magazines for the kids and adults
  2. Disposable wipes (or damp paper towels in a zippered plastic bag)
  3. First aid kit
  4. Toys, playing cards, sand games for the kids
  5. Change of clothes for each kid
  6. Swimsuits
  7. Beach towels (1 for each person)
  8. Beach cover ups
  9. Baseball hat or wide-brimmed hat
  10. Sandals
  11. Lip balm with sunscreen
  12. Aloe vera gel
  13. Sunscreen
  14. Insect repellent
  15. Large beach bag
  16. Cooler with water, beverages, and fruits to stay hydrated
  17. Floatees for young children
  18. Folding beach chairs
  19. Beach umbrella
  20. Family-sized blanket
  21. Hair bands and brush or comb
  22. Swim cap
  23. goggles
  24. tennis racquet
  25. water bottles

 

In addition to packing for the day you may want to try some of these tips to better prepare yourself the day before and the day of:

 

Day Before:

1.Create a menu for the next day and prep any food you will need for snacks,  lunch or dinner.

  1. Have each kid pack their lunch for the next day.
  2. Pack your beach bags and other beach items in the car the night before
  3. Communicate to your kids what the wake-up and departure times are for the next day so everyone is up and ready on time.
  4. Freeze some water bottles to serve as both ice and cool beverages in your cooler the next day.
  5. Make sure all beach laundry is clean and ready to be packed.  Have one of your children complete this task.

 

Day of Beach Trip:

1.Have a child water the plants before you leave.

  1. Have a child set the table for dinner so you are all ready when you come home.
  2. Pack the cooler and load it in the car.
  3. Apply sunscreen before you get in the car to give it time to soak in and better protect you.

 

Long Term Tips:

To make remembering what to pack in your bags easier each time, designate specific bags for the beach/pool.  Create a list based on what necessities are must haves every time you head to the beach or the pool and type it up.
Laminate the list  and attach it to your bag so you can quickly check off items.  You can use a dry erase marker on the list to cross items off as you pack them.

 

While this may not cover everything on your list for your family, hopefully it will help you remember all of the basics.  Send us a list of your must have items for the beach or any tips you have to make packing a little bit easier.

 

Kristin is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing (www.livablesolutions.com) and the Organized Lifestyle online retail store (www.theorganizedlifestylestore.com).  Send her your questions to kristin@livablesolutions.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kathy Boufford June 23, 2011 at 09:35 PM
This list is great, but as a serial beach goer (with children) I'd like to add a few suggestions to make things even easier: 1. Take a large flat bed sheet instead of a beach blanket. It takes up less space, weighs much less, and is easier to shake out and clean. 2. Get a big canvas bag and keep it stocked with the beach essentials to use all summer: lotions, flip-flops, towels, sheet, hats, books/magazines, small toys and anything else that you don't need on a daily basis or is perishable. This way, you only have to think about everything once and throw a few additional items in the bag for any summer outing. 3. If you go a lot, it's worth investing in a sturdy wagon with big rubber wheels. It'll save your back. 4. If you have small children, bring baby powder (it allows sand to be rubbed right off before getting in the car) 5. Bring a SMALL mesh bag for each child to bring home shells, rocks sea glass and parts of dead crabs. The sand will go through and the stuff will dry before the end of the day and it limits the stuff kids can bring home all better than a big, messy pail. 6. Forget the plants and pick-up some dinner on the way home!! Who has the energy to cook after a day at the beach?!!! Besides, you'll need the time to clean and organize everything for the next beach day. :)
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