The Life-Changing Packing Hack We Use When Spending the Night with Relatives

published Jul 13, 2021
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child surrounded by clothing while she packs
Credit: Shutterstock

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It sounds strange to say, given the events of the past year and a half, but we have been traveling a lot. We don’t go anywhere exotic or posh; we just drive two hours west to the same place over and over again. My parents live in a small town just outside city limits with lots of grass and trees, so we visit with them quite often to escape the city. My daughter plays in the yard with my dad, while my mom cooks dinner, and I work. It’s not ideal to have to drive four hours round-trip just so I can knock out a few projects, but it’s good for my daughter, and good for my parents to spend time together. The two-hour drive is cake though — what’s annoying is packing for the trip so often.

I eventually started to pick up a few things while we were in town to leave at my parents’ house — basics like undies, t-shirts, and some pj’s. I kept forgetting what I had there so I was still bringing clothes, but I wasn’t lugging quite so many bags to the car. Problem sort-of-solved? It was a decent fix, but I found I was second-guessing myself because I couldn’t quite picture what I already had at my parents house.

The dresser in their guest room was packed full of off-season clothing and didn’t really allow space for us to put our things away. I needed to find another solution, so I spent some time poring over the space, hoping to find an area in the room that could fit another small dresser. I opened the closet and noticed a decent-sized gap, and immediately had an idea: a hanging sweater organizer. It was the perfect size to hold a weekend’s worth of clothing, collapsible, and affordable.

Once the hanging organizer was in place, I was able to take inventory and stock it with whatever else we would need during our visit. I love this solution for many reasons, but the biggest is because my daughter knows where to look for her clothes. She can see everything at once when she opens the closet doors — which cuts down on her screaming “Mooooooooom!” when she can’t find something. The organizer has netted pockets on each side that are perfect for holding hair accessories, socks, sunscreen, extra toothpaste, you name it. And I didn’t think I could love it more until I realized that it leaves just enough room to perfectly fit a laundry basket underneath. So now my daughter knows where her clothes are, and where to put them after she takes them off — and the freedom I now have to just jump the car and go without having to pack a weekend bag for my daughter when we visit is pretty amazing! 

Credit: Ashley Poskin

So it’s great as a storage option in a closet, but it’s also amazing to take with you on vacation. The organizer folds down on itself, and lies flatter than a pancake, which makes packing it into a suitcase a breeze. Once you’re at your vacation rental, hang the organizer, and put all your kids’ clothing inside. No messy suitcase anxiety, no clothes getting tossed out onto the floor, just a simple solution to make everyone’s lives a little bit easier.