Well, if I had a phrase to describe packing our family it would be – the struggle is real. Not very original, I know, but man alive. It’s been challenging. Trevor is an amazing packer. He packs light and tight. He can survive on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt as long as he has clean underwear and access to a shower. My children are a lot like him with the exception of the tight part. They’re more of the throw it in the bag in a pile. I, on the other hand, like to be prepared for any and all situations we come across and I want them to be prepared too. I don’t want them to not have a good experience because they had to wear clothes that were too hot, too cold, not dry enough, etc. The way it works in our house is I take care of myself and the boys and Trev handles himself. The original plan was to pack one suitcase a piece, each case getting smaller the younger the person. We also needed to pack the cooler for sandwich meat, cheese, carrots, celery, jelly, drinks, etc for picnics, my favorite picnic blanket, the laundry tote, the green wheeled bag I’m using for homeschool material, backpacks for the boys to keep school notebooks, pencils, etc, light blankets for me and the boys, and small pillows for the boys, a snack container, a trash can, a few videos, and a place for the boys to put their devices and lap desks.
This is the space we had to work with.
We did a dry run. We put suitcases and stuff in there empty to get a feel for where things should go before we load them packed.
Then I started to actually pack. That’s were fantasy collided with reality in a terrible train wreck. A lot of the stuff I’ve read about packing says to pack for 3-4 days, limit shoes, and roll your clothes to maximize space. It’s kind of like I read it and thought – Great! Makes sense. But then I did the exact opposite. I packed all the clothes the kid’s suitcases would hold and folded it all. Why? Absolutely, no idea! This lead to repacking and rolling. I did pretty good with the boys. Approximately 5-7 pairs of shorts and T-shirt’s, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of athletic pants, 3 long sleeve shirts, and 2 hoodies, 10 pairs of socks and underwear. All rolled, rubber banded, and placed on their ends so the boys can see what it is without digging and making a mess. The socks and underwear are each in a gallon zipper bag. I have 3 sets of pjs in a gallon bag. I also have 2 gallon bags with 1 set of khaki shorts and a short sleeve button up and one with khaki pants and a long sleeve button up church clothes. I packed each a beach towel. They’re young so their clothes are small enough to pack this way. I struggled with shoes. I packed flip flops, play shoes (code for their dirtier sneakers) for outdoorsy activities, Sperry’s for church, and then they wore what we call good shoes; which is just code for their cleaner pair of tennis shoes. It’s more than the recommended above but enough to go 1-2 weeks before doing laundry. Yes, you will see us wearing the same clothes every week and rewearing stuff in the same week. We don’t have the space for more nor do I want to spend the time or money at the laundromat.
I was so flustered packing, I didn’t take before and after pics of the suitcases. This is Tuck’s bag at the hotel. I’ve since taken the beach towels out and put them in the back driver side so the suitcases keep them in place.
Remember, we are traveling in my Expedition for the first leg of the trip. We plan on being back home to get the camper in October/November so I didn’t pack too many warm clothes. The boys would live in athletic shorts and T-shirt’s year round if they could. For me, this means I need to pack summer, fall, and early winter clothes because I stay so cold. That equals more clothes, thicker clothes, and more shoes. I’m not going to list everything I packed but I wound up filling up my suitcase to the max and still needing more space. This led to repacking…again. UUUUGGGHHH! Since a lot of my clothes were colder weather clothes that I won’t wear for awhile, I left all my warmer clothes in my bag and then put my summer clothes in my overnight bag. I put everybody else’s warmer clothes in my suitcase to free up some space which I then used too. I am not proud of this but just the thought of getting cold hurts my bones so I took up the extra space in the kid’s suitcase too. It’s embarrassing but it is what it is. I’m just glad Trevor is in charge of loading and unloading those stinking heavy bags. 🙂
Needless to say, we ended up with extra bags like an additional food bag and my extra overnight bag. But we made it work, thanks to my hubby’s Tetris skills.
Nothing left but the leaving!