When my son (early teens) went away on a church mission trip, I was worried that he would wear mismatched clothes or wear the same pair of socks for several days. You know how young boys are. I purchased gallon sized plastic zipper bags (the kind you use for food storage) and used them to pack his clothing.
Each bag was labeled with a day of the week. Each bag contained a tee shirt, a pair of shorts, a pair of socks, and a pair of underwear. I placed a few dollars in the pocket of each pair of shorts so that he would have some cash for a snack/soda each day.
Once each bag was packed, I sealed the bag within an inch of the edge. I then flattened the bag to remove as much air as possible. Then I finished sealing the Zipper bag closure. This made them very easy to pack into a suitcase. Each day my son had a package of clean clothes to take to the shower with him. And the dirty clothes that he took off when he showered, could be placed in the now empty zipper bag, flattened to remove the air and easily packed for the return trip home.
I also made a "take-to-the-shower" mesh bag. This bag contained his plastic soap holder, shampoo, sunscreen, deodorant, a bath towel and shower flip flops. Also included was a smaller zipper bag with his toothbrush, toothpaste, a folding water cup, floss, Q-Tips and a comb. This was an easy way to ensure that once my son reached the shower house, he didn't have to run back to his cabin to get anything. Or worse yet, get into the shower and realize that he didn' have any soap or shampoo :)
By readingiggits from TN
My son would have been embarrassed if I had packed his clothes like that. They need to learn how to match clothes. Most kids are not going to wear something that the other kids will laugh at. It is a good idea for a younger child not a young teen though.
My son's Scout troop has been using this tip for years. It is a good way to make sure they pack enough clothes and the zip bags keep things from getting damp. Closing the dirty clothes in the next day's bag helps keep down odor inside the sleeping tent. Plus removing the air makes more room inside their packs for other essential gear.
Mothers think of everything (smile, readingiggits). Great post! Thanks for sharing.
While I applaud your organizational skills I believe that matching clothing is so not important when he is away with a group of guys. Neither is flossing! By now I am sure you have taught him to wear clean underwear and socks each morning. One trip to the shower without soap and he'll remember next time. You are over-doing it mama, be aware of a thing called peer pressure. You don't want him to be called mama's boy or sissy by his buddies.
Eventually Mama, he's going to have to learn to feed himself. Relax, dirty socks never killed anyone.
This is why women find they are married to little boys who can not do anything for themselves.
Yeah, he's going away to get away, so what if his clothes are mismatched and forgetting the soap is not a disaster. he's too old to be so coddled.
I read this today and thought how OCD the Mom is. I was afraid to post not wanting to hurt her feelings but after reading some of the other posts that are brave enough to tell her like it is I figured I would do the same. She is worried too much about the small stuff. We had a son and a daughter and taught them both to take care of themselves! If they come out of the bedroom with something I thought was weird then so be it. I did not tell them my opinion of their choice. They were taught to make decisions and be responsible for things. Life is hard enough and they will not get any kinda of special treatment when they are grown up and on their own. The world is not gonna cater to them or anyone else. Lighten up Mom and let him learn how things really are gonna be. I have a niece who goes to school to pick up her son who will not use the bathroom at school and he is now 15! Good grief! I can not believe such nonsense some people go through. Don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy your son and live life. Our son was killed at 18 years old! Just out of high school, how I would love to have him here so we could laugh about some of the silly things he wore or did not wear.
This is a fantastic idea! I have one small suggestion to make it even easier though. Instead of regular ziplock bags, try using Ziploc Vacuum Seal bags. You can buy a starter kit for less than $5, so you can get one for you at the house, and one to send the pump with your son so he can reseal the bags. Plus the pump is quite small so would fit in his suitcase easily.
And by vacuum sealing the bags you can get them really flat and save even more space in his suitcase. I use this whenever I travel myself and it saves a lot on how many suitcases I have to carry!
When my daughter was younger, I'd use a gallon size freezer bag to pack a spare set of clothing in my her backpack. I volunteered in the school every day, I saw kids spill things all over themselves or have accidents, and since they didn't have spare clothes in their backpacks, they'd have to go to the office and see if they had any extra clothes there to wear (I don't know where the clothing from the office came from, or how clean it was). I also saw how kids would throw their backpacks around, while unzipped. The Ziplock kept my daughter's clothes together and clean. And it came in handy a few times!
I think that an early teenage boy should be old enough to choose what clothes to pack. My husband is a Boy Scout leader and they expect them to make a list, (Often suggestions are in the handbook for winter camping, weekend campouts, etc. or a list is given.) The idea is to get them to learn responsibility and not expect someone else to do it for them, a useful life skill. If socks or outfits don't match, this may not be too serious.
Okay so the first thing I thought of when reading this is if he is going on a mission trip mismatched clothes are not going to matter! They have bigger issues to deal with. My second thought was any teen would be embarrassed by this and don't the clothes get pretty wrinkled compressed like that? But, the OCD in me thought this was maybe a good idea for possibly a younger child going to camp, however I would have them help me put the bags of clothes together. To the mom who packs clothes for her daughter in her backpack, great idea! I worked in a school cafeteria for 14 years and the spills were endless. The nurse had clothes (most donated by parents and always clean) but that doesn't mean she always had something that fit the child.
I love it! Seriously my 19 year old college son would still think it was great! If they wanted to change shirts or shorts, no big deal, they would still have a really easy time of it. One less stress. If it embarrassed him, I'm sure he would still think you care deeply. You Moms who criticize this, Shame on you! We only have them in our lives like this for a very very short time. Why not try to take care of them while we can? I'm sure your dear son feels very loved by his Great Mom! Thanks for sharing and take good care!
I think it's a good tip if the child agrees to it. I thought this was a tip forum, not a place to critique tips. Kids learn what they need to know in many different ways. And it's nice to learn and know that your mom cares a lot about you. I think most moms would know if their child was embarassed by it. She's just being the mom she wants to be and it seems as though little harm will come from it. Lighten up ladies!
This is a good packing tip, IF the kid agrees to it. And there is certainly nothing wrong with preparing a kit for your son to take to the shower. Everyone traveling should have such a thing. Some kids would be able to handle packing their own things, and others would not. The only thing I would add to this is to be sure that the kid is there helping to make up these packs of clothes. One of my sons was superorganized, and handled camp packing easily, being careful to keep his dirty things separate from the clean, etc. The other ended up with a damp mountain of clothes on his bed. Some kids are terrible for strewing their belongings all over, so this would be one way to try keep things organized for such a child.
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