How to Organize Your Summer Days With Kids – The Imperfect Perfectionist

Today Kristin Mastromarino a professional organizer from Livable Solutions has joined me in response to yesterday’s column where I shared my anxiety with her about packing for summer outings and organizing my days with the kids out of school. I shared that I was lucky to get through the days tasks never mind pack as well and prepare for dinner, laundry, etc.  I asked her if she could share some tips on packing summer bags  to make it easier because inevitably I would forget something.  Here is her response.


Packing for a day at the beach with a large family can feel like you are packing for a 2 week vacation! To help guide you I put together this checklist and some scheduling tips to jog your memory and help you customize a plan that works for you:






Quick Packing List:

  1. Wallet with cash (sometimes that is all that beach side stands will take)
  2. Books and magazines for the kids and adults
  3. Disposable wipes (or damp paper towels in a zippered plastic bag)
  4. First aid kit
  5. Toys, playing cards, sand games for the kids
  6. Change of clothes for each kid
  7. Swimsuits
  8. Beach towels (1 for each person)
  9. Beach cover ups
  10. Baseball hat or wide-brimmed hat
  11. Sandals
  12. Lip balm with sunscreen
  13. Aloe vera gel
  14. Sunscreen
  15. Insect repellent
  16. Large beach bag
  17. Cooler with water, beverages, and fruits to stay hydrated
  18. Floatees for young children
  19. Folding beach chairs
  20. Beach umbrella
  21. Family-sized blanket
  22. Hair bands and brush or comb
  23. Swim cap
  24. goggles
  25. tennis racquet
  26. water bottles


In addition to packing for the day you may want to try some of these tips to better prepare yourself the day before and the day of:


Day Before:

  1. Create a menu for the next day and prep any food you will need for snacks,  lunch or dinner.
  2. Have each kid pack their lunch for the next day.
  3. Pack your beach bags and other beach items in the car the night before
  4. Communicate to your kids what the wake-up and departure times are for the next day so everyone is up and ready on time.
  5. Freeze some water bottles to serve as both ice and cool beverages in your cooler the next day.
  6. Make sure all beach laundry is clean and ready to be packed.  Have one of your children complete this task.


Day of Beach Trip:

  1. Have a child water the plants before you leave.
  2. Have a child set the table for dinner so you are all ready when you come home.
  3. Pack the cooler and load it in the car.
  4. Apply sunscreen before you get in the car to give it time to soak in and better protect you.


Long Term Tips:

To make remembering what to pack in your bags easier each time, designate specific bags for the beach/pool.  Create a list based on what necessities are must haves every time you head to the beach or the pool and type it up.
Laminate the list  and attach it to your bag so you can quickly check off items.  You can use a dry erase marker on the list to cross items off as you pack them.


While this may not cover everything on your list for your family, hopefully it will help you remember all of the basics.  Send us a list of your must have items for the beach or any tips you have to make packing a little bit easier.


Kristin is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing ( and the Organized Lifestyle online retail store (  Send her your questions to


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