image-1I tend to think kids have the life of Riley. They live in the moment, inspired to play, pick their nose, run around naked, belt out songs, pinch their sister – just because. Not a care in the world when it comes to things as benign as rolling socks into pairs for an upcoming trip, right?

Oh…you’d be surprised. I was!

After lugging all of the summer clothes bins up from storage, I began the torturous process of figuring out what still fits each kid, what can be passed down, and what I need to buy (everything, practically). Everyone needs new shoes, new underwear, new socks that don’t pinch or bunch or whatever it is they do that creates meltdowns. You with me? So at some point while packing for Disney, I was about to have my own mommy melt down and go all pack-Nazi kamikaze – when my kids entered the picture and blew me away.

image-5Let me set the stage. Me: about to be swallowed up by a mountain of mismatched clothes that the kids had riffled through. Them, skipping about without a care in the world. Me, stressing about the zillion things I needed to do including extracting the tick off my dog’s nose, returning library books, paying bills. Did I stop the mail? Did I get the vet papers for the kennel?

Then something miraculous happened. My kids insisted on packing for themselves. No, no, no. That won’t work for me. But yet, I found myself surrendering — giving them each a mound of wrinkled clothes to try on, told them how many days we’d be gone, and let them at it.

My middle daughter, who typically can’t be bothered with what she wears as long as it has animal print somewhere or everywhere or it’s comfy. She surprised me the most. She actually wrestled into every single article of clothing. She made yes and no piles. Then she went through the yes heap and matched them up. One outfit is tie-dye from top to bottom because…that’s how she rolls.  Then she tried on each outfit together and did the run around test and sit down test (I kid you not).

I came back later expecting to find not much progress being made and ready to crack the whip for bedtime cause the last thing I needed was for someone to get sick from not getting her rest before a trip… Here’s what I stumbled onto: image-2

Yep, my middle-born actually rolled up each outfit to “save on space.” Thank you American Girl Magazine and thank you to my genius sister-in-law for the subscriptions!

But that’s not all. She asked me for baggies and a sharpie. Here’s what she did next:


Brilliant! We’ve got one top, bottom, pair of socks and underwear in each bag. Labeled with kid’s name. THIS WAS NOT MY IDEA! I am not that anal! I swear!

Thank you, American Girl magazine.

So the next time you are crazy busy packing for a trip, I say put your kiddos to work! Yes, rolling socks gets their heart racing. Aligning day-of-the-week undies is thrilling for a kindergartner. The more involved they are – even if it takes a tad more time upfront – will save you when you reach your destination. I hope. Or you can yell at me.

image-6Here’s the finished pack job. Not too shabby.

What I want to know is how do you pack for your kids? What tips have you come up with to make it less painful? Do you surprise your kids about going somewhere or let them in on the secret?

Now if only I can get them to do the laundry when we return. Any tips on that?