As a fellow mom, I know how chaotic life can get with kids' activities, school events, and never-ending errands. But what if I told you there's a simple solution to turn your family's organized chaos into a well-oiled machine? That a simple addition to your nightly routine could impact the entire flow of your week. That's right, meet your new best friend – the “Go-Bag”!
Let me walk you through the magic of Go-Bags – what they are, why they're essential for every busy mom, and how to create the perfect one for each of your child's activities. Buckle up and get ready for a life-changing ride!
The Go-Bag Lowdown
What is a Go-Bag, you ask? Picture this: a bag that's always packed and ready to go for each of your weekly activities. Soccer practice? Grab the soccer Go-Bag! Swimming lessons? The swim Go-Bag is waiting by the door! This genius hack not only saves time and stress but also makes you feel like a super-organized superhero mom (cape not included).
Go-Bags help keep me sane during busy seasons. I try to prep one for each sport or activity that is coming up and keep it replenished throughout the season. Not only do go bags make getting out of the house easier but if I'm ever not available to chauffeur the kids around – whoever steps up to the plate will know exactly where to find the kid's gear. Win-Win!
Why Go-Bags Are a Mom's Best Friend
While Go-Bags can work for all people in all seasons of life, such as keeping a Yoga Go-Bag or a Bowling League Go-Bag, for example, they can radically change a busy mom's schedule. Rather than always running and always hunting for your child's gear, you will know where it is. Every. Single. Time. Let's break down the benefits of the Go-Bags for Moms:
With Go-Bags, you'll never have to scramble to find that missing soccer cleat or swim goggles again. Everything your child needs for their activity is in one place and ready to go!
No more last-minute panicking before an event or activity. Your mind will be at ease knowing that you're prepared for anything that comes your way.
Mornings can be a battleground, but Go-Bags make them a breeze. Grab the appropriate bag and send your little ones off to school without a hitch!
After each activity, wash and replenish the necessary items, and you're good to go for the next time. As soon as I complete the boys' laundry, I disperse the Go-Bag items. This process takes maybe an additional 15 seconds.
Creating the Perfect Go-Bag
You likely already have different bags that you use for certain kids' activities. If not, we will want to implement a different bag, if possible, for each activity. This will allow you to ensure that the necessary items are in the correct Go-Bag when you need them to be. You will also want to make a list of the staple items that will need to be added to each bag for each event (such as a water bottle, snacks, etc.). Here are some more tips on creating the perfect Go-Bag:
Choose Your Bags
Pick a durable, easy-to-carry bag for each activity. Try to choose different colors or patterns to distinguish between them easily. Since most of our activities are sports, I tend to buy the appropriate bag for that sport so it's easy to identify. You may also want to label your child's Go-Bags if you have multiple kids in the same activity.
If you need to get a bag, remember that you do not have to purchase a brand-new one! Check out local thrift stores, yard sales, and even the back of your biggest closet (you may have a bag that will work…). Also, check with other parent friends to see if they have one they are done using. I'm sure they would love to get the space back!
Make a List
For each activity, create a list of all the essentials your child will need. Think uniforms, gear, snacks, water bottles, sunscreen, band-aids, and anything else that's specific to the activity. You may want to include an umbrella or a jacket. Anything that you would think to add as you are heading out the door should be on the list.
Pack It Up
Fill each Go-Bag with the items on your list, making sure everything has a designated spot. Use smaller pouches or zippered compartments for easy organization. Keep in mind when you are pre-packing your Go-Bags that you will need to leave room for the staple items that will need to be added (such as a water bottle).
Designate a Go-Bag Staging Zone
Create a staging zone in your home where all the Go-Bags live. This will help ensure they're always in the same spot, ready for action! I have mine in the mud room. You'll want to make sure the bags are easily accessible and easy to maintain. You don't want to have to walk all through the house to restock the bag.
Another good thing about a Go-Bag Staging Zone is that this is also the designated area for your children to drop their bags off when they get home and remove all their gear. Adding this step will prevent your kids from scattering their activity essentials throughout your home.
Keep It Fresh
After each activity, wash and replenish any used items. If you have multiple kids participating in the same activity, create separate Go-Bags for each child to avoid mix-ups. I like to separate out my kids' gear while folding their laundry. I create a separate stack for each activity, and when the laundry is done, I immediately put their gear back in their bags. The gear never gets put in their room.
Also, on the night of the activity, I always make sure to put any used gear that doesn't need to be washed (such as shin guards) back into the Go-Bag. I must stress the importance of completing this replenishment for the non-washable items every night after completing the activity. You don't want to get behind on your Go-Bags after you've tried to implement them. Have older kids? Teach them to do the same!
Go-Bag Ideas to Get You Started
Not sure what would qualify as a Go-Bag in your household? Here are some ideas to get your started:
- Swim Bag: Swimsuits, towels, goggles, swim caps, sunscreen, flip-flops, and snacks.
- Soccer Bag: Uniforms, soccer cleats, shin guards, socks, ball, water bottles, and snacks.
- Baseball Bag: Uniforms, baseball cleats, gloves, batting gloves, hats, sunscreen, bat, helmet, water bottles, and snacks.
- School Bag: Extra pencils, notebooks, folders, lunchbox, water bottle
Don't let this list be all that you consider – any and all activities that happen outside of the household can have a Go-Bag. Have questions? Let me know in the Declutter and Organize with the Boot Camp Mom Facebook Group. I like to pre-pack other items like band-aids, kleenexes, wipes, etc. as well. It's always good to be prepared!
Jump Start Your Go-Bag Implementation
To make your Go-Bag journey even easier, I've created a printable “Go-Bag Checklist” to help you stay organized. This handy checklist will help you keep track of all the essentials for each activity, ensuring you never forget a thing. Plus, it's cute and colorful, making organization a little more fun. You can download it from our Resource Library after you sign up for our email list. So, let's start creating the ultimate Go-Bag arsenal for your family!
How to Use Your Go-Bag Checklist Printable
- Print It Out: Download and print your free “Go-Bag Checklist” printable. I recommend using cardstock and laminating it for durability.
- Fill It In: For each activity, write down the essentials your child needs in the provided spaces. If you have multiple kids participating in the same activity, create separate checklists for each child.
- Check It Off: As you pack your Go-Bags, use a dry-erase marker or a pen to check off each item on the list. This will help ensure that nothing gets left behind.
- Hang It Up: Place the completed checklists in a visible spot near your Go-Bag zone. This will make it easy to reference when packing or replenishing your bags.
And That's That!
Go-Bags are one of my favorite hacks that I've implemented in our household to help keep the chaos of extracurricular activities at bay. No more running around trying to find the missing batting glove when you are supposed to be heading out for practice. Taking time to get the bags set up, creating a staging zone for the Go-Bags, and replenishing them when needed will greatly streamline your routine. Try them out, and let me know what you think!