How to Pack for a Family Vacation

Packing for a vacation can be a challenge, especially if you're packing for young children. Read my tips for easily getting your family packed for a trip.

Welcome to my 14 Days of Organization series where I’m sharing tips, tools, and strategies to help you organize your home, your family, and your personal life!

Yesterday I offered some helpful tips for prepping your house before a trip. Today I’m talking about ways to simplify the process when you pack for a family vacation. Packing for yourself can be enough of a hassle, but it’s a whole new world when you’re packing for kids as well.

*I originally published this post when my kids were much younger. I’ve added some new tips, but I’m focusing on packing with young children because it does require a different mindset. I’d also like to encourage all you mamas of little ones that this process gets a lot easier as they get older so hang in there!

I’m a classic over-packer. I hate the feeling of not having something I need on a trip so I tend to overcompensate a little bit. Fortunately, I’ve tamed it down since having kids so we can actually fit it all in one car.

I’m a big believer in learning from prior experiences so I’ve started taking some extra steps to ease the stress. Packing us up in an orderly way will help to keep things running smoothly during the packing process, as well as the trip itself.

Use a “Don’t Forget” List

As I’m packing for my family, I keep a running list of things I definitely don’t want to leave behind. Travel bed anyone?! As I pack things, I cross them off, but I also do a double check during our final walkthrough.

Pack Ziploc Bags

Having plastic bags on hand can save your butt when you have wet or messy items. Wet swim suits, sandy shoes, or extra dirty clothes from an accident can all be packed in a Ziploc bag for the trip home.

I also use gallon-sized bags to keep things organized. Having a separate baggy for snacks or sunscreen makes it easy to toss in a backpack or beach bag. All the bottle or sippy cup parts can go in another bag. By keeping things separate, they’re less likely to get lost.

Pack basics instead of outfits

By packing mix-and-match basics, you ensure that you have multiple options. For kids, I recommend having a top and a bottom for each day of travel, plus one extra. While you probably won’t wear all the clothes, at least you won’t run out.

Bring special Activities

Grab a few cheap activities and/or books as a special treat for times when the kiddos are bored. Exploring new places is fun, but sometimes kids need a break. Having a few new (but inexpensive) things to do will keep boredom at bay.

This is also really helpful in case of unexpected delays at the airport or to keep kiddos quiet on the plane.

One last tip: remember that unless you’re going to be in the middle of nowhere, you can probably buy anything you forget (except for a favorite lovey – don’t forget that!)

What do you do to make packing easier?

Check out all 14 Days of Organization topics here!

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One Room Challenge Week 7 – Girl’s Bedroom Reveal

One Room Challenge girl's bedroom redesign.

It’s finally time for the One Room Challenge reveal! I’m so excited to share my daughter’s updated bedroom with you. It has been such fun to get her input and see her excitement when ideas come to life. Working on a girl’s bedroom design was different than other room updates I’ve done. In our kitchen or den, it’s more about my style and making our home work for our family. In my daughter’s room, it’s important that her personality shines through.

The Closet

In my first post about my daughter’s bedroom, I shared that making the most of the large closet was a big priority. The old closet was underused and disorganized. Using an EasyClosets closet system, we were able to create a ton of storage.

I’m still adding a few last minute touches to this room, but overall my daughter is thrilled with her new room. This room redesign has been extra special because I got to see her reaction as it was transformed. The only problem now is that my son wants his room updated 🙂

Be sure to check out the other room reveals from the guest participants! A big thank you to Linda at Calling It Home for hosting another round of the One Room Challenge. It’s always an adventure!

Source List

Paint Color – Clear Aqua by Behr

Curtains – Wayfair.com

Comforter – Wayfair.com

Sheets – Target

Throw Blanket – Target

Sparkle Throw Pillow – Target

Bookcase – Ikea

Striped Canvas Bin – Target

Aqua Storage Boxes – Ikea

You can find posts from all seven weeks of the One Room Challenge here:

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five | Week Six |

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One Room Challenge Week 6 – EasyClosets Installation

One Room Challenge girl's bedroom redesign.

It’s week 6 of the One Room Challenge from Linda at Calling It Home. Normally this would be the week where I share the big reveal, but Linda decided that due to numerous natural disasters affecting participants’ plans, the challenge would be extended by one week.

So next week I’ll be showing pictures of my daughter’s bedroom update. This week is all about our EasyClosets installation.

Storage is one of my top priorities in this girl's bedroom redesign.

Closet Design plan

In my week four post, I shared the before pictures of my daughter’s under-utilized bedroom closet. We were debating between some DIY closet system options, as well as professional installation.

After some deliberation, my husband and I decided that EasyClosets.com would be the best route. I read about several other blogger’s experiences with installation and decided it was doable for us.

In week four, I showed my initial closet plans that I created using the EasyClosets design tool. Once we decided to go with an EasyClosets system, I tweaked the design a bit and added some extra shelves for shoes.

Storage is one of my top priorities in this girl's bedroom redesign.

It was really exciting (and just a little overwhelming) when the shipment arrived and we took inventory of all the materials.

I’ll be honest that this is one of the most complicated DIY projects that my husband and I have done together. I’d done my research and felt fairly confident we could handle it, but there were a lot of pieces on our living room floor.

The closet was emptied, all the holes were patched, and we were ready for installation.

EasyClosets makes it easy to design and install a closet system that best fits your needs.

EasyClosets Installation

The key to the stability and security of the EasyClosets system is properly installing the steel rail on which the rest of the pieces hang. This was basically the hardest part of the whole project.

We double and triple-checked all of our measurements and the location of the wall studs. Unlike the helpful installation video on the EasyClosets site, our studs were not all 16″ apart. Nevertheless, we managed to get the rail in place.

The EasyClosets installation process is completely manageable and results in a customized closet system to fit your needs.

Once the steel rail was securely in place, the installation moved a lot faster. The vertical pieces hang from the steel bar and lock together using shelves with special cam screws. As soon as all the cam shelves were in place, we started to see the closet come together.

The EasyClosets installation process is completely manageable and results in a customized closet system to fit your needs.

Drawer Installation

After the vertical panels and cam shelves were secured, we assembled the drawers. The drawer boxes are pre-built, so we only needed to screw on the drawer pulls and attach the drawer face to the box.

I have to say that the EasyClosets instruction manual is incredibly thorough and easy to understand. We had no trouble following the directions to put the drawers together and install the drawer glides.

The EasyClosets installation process is completely manageable and results in a customized closet system to fit your needs.

After we installed all the drawers, we cut the rail cover to size to hide the steel rail. This is our least favorite part of the system. The plastic cover feels a little flimsy and tacky, but it does the job of disguising the steel rail, and will be mostly unnoticeable once the closet is filled.

The EasyClosets installation process is completely manageable and results in a customized closet system to fit your needs.

When it was all said and done, the EasyClosets installation probably took about 4-5 hours. The instruction manual was detailed and easy to read, but I highly recommend watching the installation videos on the EasyClosets site. Sometimes having a visual demonstration was very helpful.

The EasyClosets installation process is completely manageable and results in a customized closet system to fit your needs.

The EasyClosets installation process is completely manageable and results in a customized closet system to fit your needs.

I’m so happy with the end result. This underused closet is now chock full of storage options. Our experience with the EasyClosets installation process was really positive.

As one blogger put it, it’s an easy closet, not a magic closet. It does take more skill than just pulling it out of the box, but it was a simple enough process that we would definitely use EasyClosets again. *Also I just want to note that this is not a sponsored post. No product was provided, and obviously all opinions are my own.

I’m excited to add the finishing touches to my daughter’s room this week and share the big reveal! Don’t forget to take a look at some of the other guest participants in the ORC here! There are some really talented people sharing some amazing transformations.

Check out all the progress of my daughter’s bedroom update in these past posts:

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five |

 

The EasyClosets installation process is completely manageable and results in a customized closet system to fit your needs.

The EasyClosets installation process is completely manageable and results in a customized closet system to fit your needs.
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One Room Challenge Week 5 – Details & Design Changes

It’s already week five of the One Room Challenge from Calling It Home, and I’m feeling thankful for the one week extension that Linda announced. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I still have plenty to do. This week I’ve been focusing on the details that will make this room feel special. Sometimes choosing accessories and wall decor can be the hardest part for me.

A fun aqua paint color makes a real difference in this girl's bedroom update.

When my daughter and I first started talking about updating her bedroom, she had very few specific requests. That makes it more fun for me, but also leaves a lot of room for direction. She wanted her walls to be aqua and was so excited by the result!

We talked about making the room feel more grown up, toning down the pink, and adding better storage. I suggested pink, gray and coral as accent colors to go with the aqua. We found a super cute accent pillow at Target, and started to base the design plans around the pillow.

Fun accent pillow for girls bedroom.

Somewhere along the way, I sort of forgot about the pillow and found completely different bedding. I’m honestly not sure what happened. But you can see the bedding below and in my week two post. It’s clearly a much different style from the accent pillow above. As soon as it arrived, I knew we had a choice to make. We either needed to start over on the design plan or go a completely different direction by sticking with the bedding.

A fun bedding option for a girls room, but not the right bedding for my plans.

I decided to look around for other bedding options so we could compare them side by side. My daughter found some really fun sheets at Target, and I ordered a white pinch pleat comforter from Wayfair. Once we saw the new bedding, I knew we were on the right track! The white comforter is a bit plain, but we found a super soft throw blanket that coordinates with the pillow and sheet set. It adds some much-needed color to her bed.

These elements make up a girl's bedroom design for the One Room Challenge.

I’m really excited to see this room coming together. Stay tuned for the big reveal on November 16th!

PROJECT TO-DO LIST

Paint Walls

Find window treatment

Buy bedding

Plan & install closet system – closet ordered and on its way

Wall decor/art – still working on accessories and art

Find bookcase

Don’t forget to take a peek at some of the other ORC guest participants at Calling It Home!

To catch up on my redesign of my daughter’s bedroom, take a look at past posts:

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four |

One Room Challenge girl's bedroom redesign.

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One Room Challenge Week 4 – Closet Design

One Room Challenge girl's bedroom redesign.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during past One Room Challenges, it’s that things don’t always go as planned. I came down with a nasty cold this week, and my kids have fall break for two weeks, so it’s not the most productive time.

As I continue updating my daughter’s bedroom, storage is one of the top priorities so I want to be sure to maximize the large closet in this room.

During this round of the One Room Challenge, I'm updating my daughter's bedroom with a slightly more grown-up design.

In week one, I shared the before pictures of my 9 year old daughter’s bedroom, including the completely underused closet.

At 105″ wide, it’s got plenty of room for both clothing and toy storage. We had a temporary hanging bar up for clothes, but that came down when my son decided to hang on it. I’d also like to state for the record that I had zero part in hanging the map on this wall… with staples.

Anyway, the design plans we’re looking at really take advantage of the size and offer a lot of different types of storage.

Closet inspiration

Apart from utilizing the space well, my other priority is that the closet system will last a long time. It needs to evolve as our daughter’s storage needs change. Adjustable shelving is a must, not only to fit her needs, but to keep regularly-used items within reach.

I don’t want my little one to have to stand on tip-toes to reach her stuff. I want shelving that can be adjusted as she grows.

The closet design needs hanging bars and shelves for toys and games. Drawers look nice, but aren’t a necessity since she has plenty of space for her existing dresser. Part of me secretly worries that drawers will just end up as a hiding place for clutter and be constantly messy.

Closet Design

We had a consultation this week with California Closets. I’m also looking at some DIY options, including EasyClosets.com. The idea of someone coming in and doing all the installation is really appealing, but obviously it comes with a steeper price tag.

Our consultation with California Closets went really well, and we came up with a few different options. I was able to create a fairly similar layout using the design tool at EasyClosets.com.

Storage is one of my top priorities in this girl's bedroom redesign.

The biggest drawback of professional closet installation is the timeline. It will be 4-6 weeks before the installation, so unfortunately it won’t be complete by the end of this challenge.

It’s longer than I was hoping to wait, but we’re still deciding on the best option. Whichever route we go, it will be nice to finally utilize this closet to its full potential.

PROJECT TO-DO LIST

Paint Walls

Find window treatment

Buy beddingwaiting on another bedding option to arrive so we can decide what works best

Plan & install closet system – trying to make the final decision and order

Wall decor/art – working on some fun DIY projects

Find bookcase

Don’t forget to take a peek at some of the other ORC guest participants at Calling It Home!

To catch up on my redesign of my daughter’s bedroom, take a look at past posts:

Week One | Week Two | Week Three |

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