A Packing Palaver

I hope you all had a lovely Easter break. Ours was full of fun, friends and family – my favourite way to do things. We spent a week ‘beside the seaside’ last week and a conversation I had with my sister while we were there got me thinking about this post.

We were lucky enough to be joined on our break by my brother-in-law and his family for the first half of the week and my sister and her family for the second. While watching helping my sister to unpack on her arrival, I noticed that she was lying her youngest daughter’s outfits in a row under her bed. There were several piles of individual outfits and I realised that we have more than just our love of music, handbags, David Beckham and wine in common!

This moment sparked a conversation about packing for our children when we go away and I thought I would let you all in on a few of the tricks we shared together. (I know, we only tackle the big issues on this here blog!)

So, who else has ever gone away on holiday with a suitcase filled with pretty/handsome outfits carefully planned, washed, dried, ironed, folded and packed only to find that three days in, you’ve taken your eye off the ball and your little angel has rifled through the case, teamed up all the wrong tops with the wrong bottoms, dripped ice-cream down the front of everything they’ve worn and nothing that’s left matches with anything else? (No? Anyone?)

Well, this dilemma has presented itself to me in the past (gasp!) and I have finished up either a) groaning with despair as my child presented herself in a bright pink floral blouse paired with an equally flamboyant but totally mismatched pair of trousers or b) hand washing the already dirty clothes just so that there is something vaguely cute left for her to wear for the rest of the holiday. (Just in case any of you are worrying, I made it through the crazy outfit days, it was a rough time ;-))

So, my solution to this grave dilemma? I like to refer to it as the ‘fold and roll’ technique…

One outfit bundled up and ready to go

One outfit bundled up and ready to go

By putting each outfit together before packing and rolling it all up, I can either leave the rolls in the case for the children to take out one at a time or, if there’s room and/or time, put them straight into drawers ready to be whipped out at a moments’ notice. The best scenario for the ‘fold and roll’ is when the children are away from home without you (as my daughter will be for the first time later this term) as there is no confusion over missing items of clothes or what to put with what. (Crucial concerns for us all I’m sure).

The trick in keeping things as crease-free as possible is to put the largest item on the bottom and the ones you don’t mind getting a bit creased (like underwear) on the top and roll around a bunched up pair of socks. The rolling produces fewer creases than you might think.

Call me crazy, but I have been known to adopt a similar approach at home by hanging clothes in the childrens’ wardrobes as ‘outfits’ and tying the hangers together with ribbons (or hairbands, or elastic bands or whatever else I can find).

Outfits ready to roll take the stress out of getting ready to go out the door

Outfits ready to roll take the stress out of getting ready to go out the door

My sister doesn’t have as much hanging space within her childrens’ reach so she folds outfits together and puts them together with a clothes peg – genius! There are a few side-benefits of taking the (tiny amount of) extra time to do this. They are:

1. We make less ‘impulse’ clothes purchases which don’t match anything else and are never worn.

2. The children learn about what clothes look good together (and which ones don’t!)

3. There are none of the ‘Muuuuuuum!! What shall I wear?!!’ moments we had come to know and love so well.

4. There is less ‘trying on’ of clothes which are then discarded on the floor/bed/bottom of the wardrobe when it’s discovered that they don’t really match after all.

5. It reduces the amount of washing and ironing since I’m only doing what they actually need and wear.

So, do any of you use the ‘fold and roll’ technique? Is anyone else as unbearably annoying about everything packing as I am? Probably not. But at least I haven’t over-packed!! Every cloud…..(Those excess luggage charges are a killer!)

Is anyone out there packing for an exciting trip? About to send their child off to camp for the first time? Who will be using the ol’ ‘fold and roll?’ (Come on, don’t be shy now!) I hope you all have a fun-filled weekend. See you next week….:-)

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  1. Jane W says:

    Literally lobe this post….i have previously taken photos of outfits for the children with my phone to remind me what i had in mind for outfits when i was packing – but this is even more genius! 🙂

  2. Kelly Donald says:

    Hi Sue, it’s a public holiday here so I have taken advantage of the lie in to go back and read the posts I have missed! Your blog is fantastic, inspiring stuff. The packing idea is great and love the mum bucks… I have 20 little darlings to try and get to do things so missing out playtime works for me! Ha ha keep up the great work I love reading it and love to all xx

  3. Louise says:

    Fab 🙂 I always post up outfits before pack to decide what to take, but never thought to pack together. I always take a line and pegs so can wash and not pay hotel laundry am I mad?

    Love fold roll for kids away without us. Matts 1st scout camp I made list if what part of hold all all way in (he is a puller outer) u explained if not tidy stuff would get dirty wet. It transpired his friend had left water bottle on his bag.. As I unpacked everything was wet .. Except 1 thing/ the face cloth!!!!

    • Sue Parfitt says:

      Ha ha, typical! Boys will be boys I suppose! I NEVER pay for hotel laundry, it’s madness!! 😉

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