I am a huge fan of using bags to get organized for activities that are outside the home. If your kids were like mine, we were usually moving from school to sports to music or dance, to the next fill-in-the-blank activity. We would usually need to have everything with us when we left in the morning so I could leave work to take them straight to their activities. I found that using a bag for each activity made it so much easier to transport and keep the items organized and together.
For instance, the three of us did karate, both kids did fall and spring soccer, and each played an instrument and had weekly lessons. I would utilize the time that they were at activities (if I wasn’t watching and cheering) to take care of my own to-do list. I would bring a bag of bills, envelopes, stamps, correspondence, paperwork, magazines etc. so I could take care of things in small batches, going through the bag every night or three to clean it out and add more.
For the kids, they had their karate bag with their uniforms, karate belt, sparring equipment, and mouthguard. Soccer bags included cleats, shin guards, socks, team t-shirt, mouthguard, and sunscreen. Their music bags had sheet music, books and additional instrument accessories. Depending on the schedule of the day or generally we kept the bags in the car, and then clean them out weekly to wash clothing and air out the bag, then repack for the next week. When they were younger, I would do the cleaning out for them, but as they got older, they were responsible for doing this so I could wash things. Once the season was over, everything (including the bag) got a thorough cleaning, and repacked in the bag for next season; I would also assess how things were fitting so I could plan to buy new items as necessary (and maybe take advantage of end-of-season sales), and would add this to my calendar for the month before the new season so I wouldn’t forget.
The most important bag was for snacks/drinks. Each week, I would look ahead at the schedules to see when we would and would not have time to eat at home in between activities (I would often pack extra food and keep it with me at work so I could bring it for that night for them), and when we were responsible for bringing the team snack. Usually during sports season, I would stock up on their favorite non-perishable snacks in the pantry so I didn’t have to worry about running out, and would also keep empty water bottles in the car to fill up.
During the nicer weather, I kept (and still do) camp chairs, a blanket, and a bag filled with beach things (bathing suits, towels, flip-flops, sunscreen, hats) in case we ended up near the beach during one of the travel soccer games, or decided to spontaneously have a picnic or hit the beach.
I hope you find this helpful and would love to hear from you in the comments!