reader question – organized packing for sleepaway camp

Luggage by phasinphoto

photo by phasinphoto

The kids are going to camp! You get a break from all their activities, they get to try new things, and it becomes an annual adventure. Getting them ready for that adventure can be expensive, time consuming and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be. A reader asked for tips to pack kids for sleepaway camp.

I recommend starting the process a few weeks before they leave, to give yourself enough time to see what you have, shop for what you need and label everything. This also allows you to buy things when you see them on sale.

If your backpacks or duffel bags haven’t been opened since last year, you may need to clean them or air them out. Choose a staging area – the child’s room, guest room, family room – for gathering everything you’ll need to pack. Print the camp’s packing list and put it on a clipboard, beside the luggage. You can use the packing list as a shopping list for items you don’t have. Keep it on the clipboard so it doesn’t get lost.

This is a good time to have your kids try on their summer clothes and see what fits. You can highlight items on the packing list that you need to buy. As you place things in the luggage, check them off the list.

You’re not packing at this point, since you don’t have everything you need; you’re just gathering. If you buy new clothing, wash it and label it right away. Don’t wait until the night before you have to meet the bus! You don’t need to buy name labels; fine point permanent markers  are easy to use and wash well. If your kids are old enough to write, they can help label their own clothes. Put into the luggage any clothes that aren’t going to be worn before camp starts.

As you get closer to the departure date, make sure you have everything checked off on the packing list. Put liquids in plastic bags to minimize spills, and take advantage of every open space – roll socks and put them inside shoes, for example. The night before your camper leaves, put in any last-minute items and place the luggage near your door.

Remember that your kids are not going to put the same effort into packing for the trip home. After all your hard work, don’t expect your well-packed bags to return that way; most parents are happy just to have the correct things come back.

To give yourself a head start for next summer, empty the luggage, wipe it off if it’s muddy, and decide where to store it. After you’ve washed everything, I suggest returning the laundry bag and toiletries kit to the luggage, along with anything like sheets and towels that are used only for camp. Make sure they’re dry and put them in giant zipper bags to keep them clean.

It’s been a long time since my mom sewed labels into my clothes and my dad pulled my huge footlocker out of the attic every year, marking the beginning of summer for me. I still get that same feeling of anticipation when it’s time to get ready for camp. Do you have any packing tips to add? Leave a reply, below.

This is not a sponsored post; I was not compensated by the manufacturer for the products mentioned. This post does contain affiliate links, which may result in my receiving a small fee when you make a purchase through the link. This disclosure is being made in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie™
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