I’ve already written about how a shared email address, a shared to do list, and a shared calendar can help moms share the work more evenly at home. A shared packing list is another great way to share the load!
Many moms end up almost entirely responsible for packing everyone except her husband when heading out of town with the family. The 20 million views and all the reactions to this post from WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion shows how common this is!
At our house, we find it’s hard for my husband to participate equally when he doesn’t already know what has and hasn’t been packed yet, and much of the information about what still needs doing is in my head. It’s not that he’s not willing to help, it can just be very hard to insert yourself into someone else’s process, especially when that process is invisible.
We solve this by using a shared packing list. Before every trip we pull up the packing list from our previous trip which we store online on Google Drive. It’s a huge time-saver for both of us to be able to start from a previous list! Then we edit the list as needed for the current trip. I usually start this process, but Matt jumps online too to add or change things he’s thought of that we’ll need.
We even include all of the “To Do” items that need to happen before we leave town. This usually includes things like ‘Clean out the fridge’ or ‘Buy extra cat food’. We find it super handy to keep those To Do items right next to the packing list to help us know just how much work still needs to be done before we can head out. The list ends up being pretty long, but it was a lot worse when our kids were babies and we needed way more stuff!
Our kids also help by packing their own bags. Starting at about age 4 we gave them each a picture packing list from The Trip Clip. This has worked incredibly well for us, and even now as teenagers they ask for their printed picture lists. We also include their things on our master list and use it as a way to verify that they didn’t miss anything when they packed their things. This means sometimes it’s me, and sometimes it’s my husband who checks the kids’ work!
When we’re ready to start packing, we print out the list and keep it on the kitchen counter where we can both see it. And then we work together to gather all of the things on the list, crossing off each item as we pack it. The benefit of the printed list is that it’s not just in my head, so the information about exactly what still needs to be done is available to both of us. Matt can help equally without me as the gatekeeper for the process.