Kelly Pratt is the owner of Spaces Limited Organizing. What began as a little something to keep busy while her kids were at school has developed into product creation, speaking and training, writing and regular television appearances. Professional organizing has become quite a journey!

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Mom’s Summer Stow-and-Go

Summer outings are a lot more fun when you have the right gear handy. How many of us have been halfway to the zoo or the pool and realized that we left not only the sunscreen but the camera and water bottles at home on the counter? To make sure you always have what you need on summer adventures, create a summer stow-and-go.

What to Include

First, determine your most likely, habitual summer activities, and brainstorm a supply list of items you need for them. For example, if you have a summer pass at the zoo or pool, make sure you have a small size of everything you need to make the adventure fun. You might include items like—

  1. Spray sunscreen (less likely to leak in a hot car)
  2. Basic first aid items (band-aids, antiseptic wipes, Neosporin, Tylenol) or a basic first-aid kit
  3. Hand sanitizer
  4. Wipes
  5. Swim diapers
  6. Regular diapers
  7. An extra pacifier
  8. An old blanket (for spur-of-the-moment picnics or an ad hoc towel)
  9. An extra t-shirt or change of clothing for each child (in case of popsicle melts, etc.)
  10. Garbage bags or plastic bags (for garbage as well as wet towels and swim suits)
  11. A disposable camera
  12. Batteries and/or an extra memory card for your digital camera
  13. Single-serving snacks (Individually packaged snacks will last longer in the car and make less of a mess if they get spilled.)
  14. Water bottles

How to Store

Having supplies in the car and ready to go will make your life easier. So how can you store supplies to account for space constraints and summer temperatures? Here are a few guidelines:

  1. Use a portable, collapsible cooler for temperature sensitive items such as sunscreen, lotions, water bottles—and, of course, chocolate. Pack items such as sunscreens and lotions in individual plastic bags to avoid unexpected spills.
  2. Purchase 2­–4 Blue Ice packs. Leave one or two in the freezer so they are always ready to go. Put the other frozen packs in the cooler for temperature control.
  3. Use a small, plastic bin or a collapsible mesh cube for items that are less heat-sensitive, such as diapers, wipes, plastic bags and snacks.
  4. Make sure to internally contain items within your cooler and bin. Gallon-sized Ziploc baggies are a great size for this purpose. Also label the bags so you know which items need to be replaced.

How to Make Sure Your Stow-and-Go Stays Stocked and Ready to Go

A stow-and-go is a great idea, but only as long as it actually stays stocked and ready to go. Remember these guidelines:

  1. Make a printed list of the items you put in your kit. This list will not only help you this summer but will be a ready-reference next year as well.
  2. Inventory your stow-and-go the night before a big adventure to make sure you have everything on your list.
  3. Check your supply levels periodically and restock accordingly.

Best wishes for a fantastic summer, and happy organizing!

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