30 Days to a Funner Summer: Get Organized!


Here is the first post in a series that will hopefully be inspiring to help you make the most of your summer!  Stay tuned for a new post each day with a recipe, craft idea, tip or article to help you maximize your summer.

But first things first, time to get it together.  I wanted to do a quick post on organizing so we are prepared to bring on the fun!

The first thing is getting kid central all set up- I do this every year and 15 minutes of effort really pays off.

I like to get bags packed with the things we need for various activities so we are ready in a moment’s notice to join friends.  I also like to have things all ready so I can toss it in the car in the morning just in case a little chance for play comes along.

I like to pack up bags and I have them in the garage ready to grab.  Sometimes I might even keep these in the trunk of the car.

Before I get into the details of what we pack, I like to try and use a very distinct bag for each activity.  It is much easier for me to say to my husband or one of my little girls- “Grab the green cookie monster bag!”- then it is to say “Grab the bag with the stuff for the park!”  Goodness knows what I will wind up with if things are not very, very clear 😉 .

So here are the ones I have packed and what is inside each one:

The first bag is for splash parks, swimming, beaches.  This bag has all the things we need for a little dip in the water- and an impromptu splash park visit happens all the time for us.  It is already a blistering 95 degrees in my city so we spend lots of time in the water.

Here is what I have inside:

(2) towels
(2) bathing suits for my girls
Snacks and water
Diving Sticks for my big girl
Plastic Cups
Hairbrush and shampoo (our indoor pool has a shower)
Baby Powder (this is an easy way to get sand off little feet)
Book Ring with hair bands attached

And that’s it for that bag. If we are planning a trip I will usually pack a lot more food but I like to keep a little something light and easy to eat in the bag in case of a snack emergency snack attack.

I don’t let the girls take toys to the splash parks because inevitably some kid tries to take the toy and chaos ensues. Plastic cups are a fun compromise- my kids will play with those at a splash park longer then toys anyway.

Oh and PS:  everything gets organized with Ziploc bags like this:

The Ziplocs are perfect to toss wet stuff into after the swim or in case you need a trash bag.

And of course with little ones you need a park bag. Our bag has the following:

Extra large towel (I like this instead of a picnic blanket)
Baby Wipes
Baby Powder (to get sand off from the sandbox)
Sandbox Toys
Snack and waters
Magazines (for little old me)

And that is it for the park.

We take the dog to the dog park once a week and so of course he has to have a bag too!

Baggies (for when he goes #2)
Baby Wipes
Hand Sanitizer
Dog Biscuits
Tennis Balls
And this super nifty thing I found in the Target Dollar Spot. It is a water bottle for dogs that drips into a tiny bowl so they can drink out of the bowl. The bottle folds up into the bowl- nifty!

My dog saw me get this bag out and got excited that he was going somewhere so he kept photobombing my pictures.  You should see tennis balls and a few biscuits in a little Ziploc but I had to hide them because he kept trying to sneak them away.

So that is it for the dog park. I learned the hard way to pack the wipes- not just to clean hands but also they always seems to be muddy and the girls and dog will just track all that mess into my car.

Obviously you don’t need help packing a library bag but I wanted to pass along one little tip.

You can get a box of book rings at most office supply stores for a few bucks.  Those are handy to attach library cards, loyalty cards for grocery stores, gym cards… whatever to your bag.  After losing our library card twice I finally started attaching the darn thing to my bag and haven’t lost it since.  I also use those book rings to hold hair bands althogether.


Had enough of the bags yet?  Well there is one more believe it or not!  I have one Ziploc bag that stays in the car all the time and that is filled with the following:

Change of outfits (these are older things they don’t wear often)
Socks (lots of play centers require socks)
Hairbrush and rubber bands
Bug Spray
Bandaids and Antiseptic spray
Hand Sanitizer
Brita water bottle (we can fill this up in a tap or drinking fountain and it filters the water)
Small game or toy (this is for when we go out to eat or need to keep the kids entertained. I have done puzzles, card games, memory games… anything that is small)

So that is it for the bags. I know it might seem over prepared but it takes us 15-20 min to get across town to where most of the parks and such are so I hate to have to drive home and back.

Also my little girl had a potty accident a few months ago as we were pulling in precisely on time for a Dr appointment. The appointment was to get her cast removed and I had just returned her wheelchair. That left me the wonderful option of carrying her into the appointment and then we were both wet and smelling of pee. That was about as awesome as it gets hence the appearance of the car bag.

Better to be prepared is my motto!




  1. Sara says

    Thank you for posting and I can’t wait to get my bags all organized. I love the tip to get sand off. :). Looking forward to tomorrow’s post. Thank you.

  2. Charlene says

    Sara I just picked up the prints to show in tomorrow’s post and it is so stinking cute. I hope you like it 😉

  3. Lisa P. says

    Great ideas! Keep them coming. You are right on regarding keeping an extra set of clothes in the car for the kiddos. I even try to keep a set for myself because inevitably “it” gets on me, too.

  4. Tatyana says

    Where did you get your goggles? We start swimming lessons soon and I would like to get good goggles for my little one.

  5. Michelle S says

    LOVE this post! Super ideas that I can’t wait to use! If I was actually this organized, my kids might call the authorities to find out what happened to their “real” mom! LOL! :) Thanks again!

  6. Annye says

    Charlene, do you recall where you got those cute Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch bags?

  7. Charlene says


    They are super cute and they were on sale at Zulily awhile back. I will post again if they come up. They fold into themselves so you can tuck them in a purse.

  8. Charlene says

    Ha!! I hear ya Michelle. Mine say “hurry up we are late!” all the time. No clue where they get that line from 😉

  9. Amanda says

    Hi Charlene! Thanks for all the great ideas for our bags! I was wondering where did you get your sesame street bags? My daughter LOVES sesame street and I would love to get one of those for her! Thanks for all you do! I LOVE your site!

  10. Amanda says

    Just noticed your reply to another reader…..thanks! I have to keep my eyes peeled for a Zulily post on sesame street bags. They are so great and big!

  11. Sylvia says

    Love it! I have a pool bag that’s ready to go and the emergency bag in the car, but that’s it. You’ve given us some great ideas. Thanks, Charlene!

  12. cathy says

    Great post! I keep clothes for myself in the car bag too, and suggest keeping shoes in the car bag like $1 flip flops sold at several stores recently. We’ve had shoes messed up, and flip flops are better than keeping the messy shoes on. Also check the clothes at least once a year that they actually fit your kids.

  13. Annie says

    I LOVE the summer posts! I really appreciate you taking your summertime to put together things that are adding a great benefit to my family (and me too!) I am excited to get the bags ready because it will save time & headache for me when everything is prepared.

    YOU ROCK!!!! 😉

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