Swimming in Stuff
- What: What I keep packed in a beach bag
- When: Infants until they carry their own stuff
- Why: Less thinking required, ready to go on short notice
- Where: Your home
I designated a bag for swimming stuff early on in parenthood. With one kid, getting out the door to water didn’t get too crazy. Two got a bit tricker, but their close ages meant I could always use the other kid’s swim clothes in a pinch. Then we got to three, plus myself, and it got out of hand quickly.
Now I know to leave the bag packed with everything we could possibly need. It gets us out of the house much quicker, especially when time is tight for things like swim lessons (one of the few activities I consider a necessary skill). If we want to head to the wading pool, spray park, or even hit the community pool, I grab the bag instead of running around grabbing swim shirts and towels and swim diapers for everyone.
I keep a hooded towel (the only time I’m willing to use one) for each kid, though my oldest has since upgraded to a beach towel. He looked silly in a towel that barely reached his waist or went around him, not to mention he was cold and wet. I also have a swim shirt and swim shorts for each kid. Until recently, I kept either a reusable swim diaper or a disposable one in there, though we’ve passed that stage now. I also keep several pairs of googles on hand, and a container of sunscreen, and a travel size pack of wipes.
We can hit the park or pool or beach without a second thought. For traveling, I can toss the whole bag in the car, and not have to pull swimsuits out of packed bags on the road. At the end of our trip, it makes it easier to dry wet swimsuits and towels and toss them back into the bag once they are no longer sopping wet.
I also toss some Croc sandals in sometimes, if they aren’t already on my kids’ feet. The beach towel doubles as a blanket for sitting on grassy slopes at the park until the kids need it to dry off. I also tend to toss a water bottle and snacks on top of the bag on our way out the door.
I have a habit of dumping the entire bag into the washer once we get home. I can wash the everything in one load and throw it all back into the same bag, and be good to go again in as long as it takes to complete a load of laundry. Our bag hangs on a hook in the front closet for easy access.
Because my kids share a room, it also means I have suitable water clothes for anyone on hand without having to go into their room, in case of naps. That saved me several times when I failed to think ahead or didn’t anticipate spontaneous trips through the sprinkler or water play outside.
I also have a tiny bag that attaches to the bigger bag that keeps a couple quarters, a lock, and IDs in it for when we hit the community pools. Then I can safely store all our belongings and not be scrambling for change while three young kids run for the pool.