Packing without over packing. It's sure a lot harder than it sounds. Is there even such a thing? I'm one of those that needs a new outfit each day at Disney, since we go in summer and it's hot and sticky. I don't want to spend a minute of Disney time doing laundry, we don't go often enough for that, so I pack extra because inevitably someone is going to wipe their hands off on me, chocolate ice cream and all, and walking around the park with icky clothes is just not magical at all.
It's not just my stuff I have to pack though, and that's where the over packing comes in. When we go somewhere, I make sure my boys each have a backpack full of surprises. This year they are getting new backpacks with BB 8 on them that I got for a dollar each in November. Between the surprises I'd packed, things Grandma had given, DVDs and some old travel favorites the backpacks were getting hard to zip. I had also planned a new pillow pal (big stuffed animal sort of thing) and a bag of snacks and drinks to be in the back with them. "Where are we going to sit?" I could just hear them saying as they got into the back of the van.
With accident prone and allergy kiddos, I also pack a medicine for everything imaginable. If someone's got a headache, I’ve got Advil, Tylenol, Excedrin. Upset stomach? I've got the anti diarrhea pills right there. Allergic reaction? I've got Benedryl in both kid and adult form. Sutafed, Zyrtec, itch sticks, first aid kit with bandaids, ointments, Dermablast, gauze, tape... I'm ready for anything from skinned knees as you board the bus (My youngest, last time) or catching a cold. No need to pause our vacation for more than a minute and keep on going!
See all this? This Disney Mommy is READY!
You'd think we'd be set by this point, but we pack our own breakfast snacks, and drinks, so there's a cooler full of waters and juice boxes, extras in the suitcases and then some in a small cooler for easy reaching while driving. We also have a cooler backpack for the parks, and our regular park backpack with stuff like sunscreen, ponchos, Disney pins, camera, etc.
Add our clothes, shoes, tablets, chargers, directions, guidebooks, touring plans, loom knitting and yarn to keep me busy while Mr. Disney Magic drives, and it's starting to really add up. This trip I was getting a little bit worried.
When you have a problem, I think there's only one thing to do. Look on Google. If you can't find it there then there's probably no hope. Luckily for me, there were a ton of people talking about how to pack, AND how to trim down what you bring. Since I wasn't going to trim down my clothes, I'd need to trim down other things I had planned to bring.
It seems the first step is to remind yourself that if you run out of something, you can always find a place to get more. Sure, it might cost more at a gift shop, but then again, you might not need to do that. With that in mind, I took a long look at those bursting bags and started to edit. I forgot to take a before picture, but the clothes were folded, then squished, shoved and jammed into every single space I could find. That's pretty much how it looked.
Starting with the kids backpacks, I eliminated the “old favorites” because honestly, it's about 13 hours each way, and they'll be watching DVDs most of that. They aren't going to need endless toys. The pillow pals are staying behind, too unless they really want them, and to be honest, I doubt they will. That was just me wanting more Disney in the car.
The medicines I ended up taking out of their original containers, and putting into ziplock bags. I'm just taking kids Advil, not Tylenol too, same for adults. I'm leaving behind the kids benedryl, because honestly, the chances are pretty slim of a weird allergic reaction to something. If I need it, I can get help at the first aid station, or an on call doctor service. You can see how I saved a ton of space!
The kids clothes were grouped each day's outfit in a ziploc bag and marked who and what it was for, making it easier for the boys to find what they needed. To further save on space, I pushed all of the air out of the bags, hugging them as tightly as I could. It actually made a difference, and I was able to get a 10 pack of Fruit Shoots in there. That's worked so well, I may stick the previous day's dirty clothes in the bag too on the way back.
Looks messy, but really it's all organized!
For my suitcase, I decided to try the rolling method. That worked so well, I hope I never forget about it. Not only was I able to fit everything into my suitcase, I was also able to fit in an extra pair of sneakers Mr. Disney Magic was going to carry in his bag, plus I got a pair of my older son's sneakers in there as well. Since I wear capris, not shorts, it takes up a lot more room, so I was pretty surprised!
All ready with my cute hat! Who isn't getting sunburn on their head this time? Me! That's who!
I did a quick count on our drinks and didn't reduce those, but I did take out some of the snacks. I had about 12 granola bars for each of us for just 6 park mornings. I dropped that down to 8 each, so we still get variety, but we don't bring home a ton of extras. That space can be devoted to special Disney treats.
The end result was I learned a lot from Google, and hopefully that sticks with me.
Do you have some good packing tips? How do you keep from overpacking? It's obvious I need help in that department! How do you make it all fit? Are you a folder, a roller or a suitcase cube sort of person?
This blog post is on TheThriftyCouple.com weekly Link party!