Many bags: the lazy organization dream

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This heaping mess is actually organized, no kidding!

I’ve spent the past couple of days in Excel to help me plot all the amazing things available to sign up for this summer. I needed a calendar system so that things didn’t overlap. After a few days plotting the course, I can honestly – and finally – say we are organized for the summer!

While we won’t spend the majority of our days in organized activities, I have planned for a couple of fun 1-hour classes such as dance and science for kids. These activities usually happen late enough in the morning so that we don’t have to rush but early enough that it kicks our butts into gear to start our day. When the kids are in class, I get the added benefit of a workout at the gym. How is that for incentive? And it’s all thanks to the local library and our YMCA family membership.

Of course, now that things are planned out, it means organizing the kids and I properly so that we don’t get confused. A lot of people I know keep one bag and just change the contents when they switch activities but I have always found that makes me lose stuff all over the house. Inevitably I panic when we are late, toss all the contents in a random place and refill it with the stuff I need as I run out the door. Then, over the next week those things get moved again, shuffled around and usually separated. The next thing I know I need all the stuff again and it’s strewn about the house in separate corners. Not a good use of my time.

Keeping things all together in one place for when we need it has been my safety net in the chaos of the school year. Now that it’s summer, I plan to stick with the same game plan except out go the kid’s backpacks for school, in comes the giant beach bag.

Honestly, the amount of re-useable bags I have either purchased or been given with purchase (of gifts, or left at my house) is staggering. Most of us have a bajillion of these crowding hallway entrances and closets worldwide! Use them – at least the nice ones that are easily wiped down with a cloth. They are generally sturdy enough to carry heavy stuff and there are enough of them in different colours so you don’t mistake them.

One of the reasons I try to be relatively organized is because it removes barriers that may otherwise make me throw up my hands and just decide to stay home. When I can just reach out and grab a bag and run out the door to the gym, I am more likely to run out the door to the gym. When we are invited to an impromptu play date at a local beach, I know I have a bag of hats, sunscreen, towels and bathing suits ready as wrangle the kids out the door. Knowing what to have prepped in what season is an absolute game-changer for parents – especially ones who have a hard time getting over-excited kids to wait as you get it together.

Here are some of the prepped bags I have made:

The gym’n’swim bag: The one sturdy bag I do keep around is a backpack Mr. Tucker picked up at a conference. I use it as our gym bag and it holds not only the things I need to hit the gym, but all the things the kids need for swimming lessons as well. I learned a long time ago to buy other copies things that I would use both at the gym and at home so it contains it’s own soaps, brushes, flipflops etc. so that I don’t have to run around trying to find these things as I am running out the door, late for swimming lessons. It also has a handy pocket where our gym passes are so that I don’t have to carry them in my wallet all the time. I never forget our cards and I always have the things I need to do a workout while the kids are in lessons.

Beach bag: this is my summer staple because more often than not we are out at the park pool, a splashpad or a beach. The bottom is usually littered with granola bars and other sturdy snacks followed by sunscreen, hats, towels, a change of clothes, baby wipes and water bottles. I keep a lot of extra hats, towels and water bottles in the house because I find it easier to make sure that they get changed often but that we don’t have to wait until they are clean to leave the house again

Music bag: this contains all the sheet music and music books as well as our teacher’s notebook to write the lessons in. It’s the brightest bag we have in the house, probably because it gets lost the most often.

Library bag: Let’s face it, if you are a huge user of the library, the books are the bane of your existence. Toss in a couple of kid selections and it can be chaotic to keep it all organized. I keep one bag for books that have come in and I need to read, and one for books out that I have already read. While it isn’t a perfect system, it keeps the library fines down. I spend less time looking for books these days.

We have other bags kicking around but the above ones are the ones that will get the most use over the summer months. In the winter our bags tend to multiply and reflect the season: school bags, ski bags, and ice skating bags. Most of them hang on a hook or sit in the front hall without any trouble and we can swap them out from season to season. With a new summer ahead of us, I’ve already dragged out all the things we will need to enjoy the hotter months, all I will need is to grab my bag and go.

All the bags lined up in the front hall like little organized soldiers