When packing for a trip, “pack by numbers.”

In her hack submission, Katherine said her tip was “perhaps blindingly obvious, but still made her happy.” Once again, what’s obvious to one parent makes another smack her forehead at the brilliant simplicity. *smacks forehead*

When packing for excursions, it’s easier to keep track of toys and baby accessories if you pack by numbers. In other words, take the same number of similar items (cars, crayons, soft toys, pacifiers…) so you can easily do a mental inventory when it’s time to leave: “Have I got three cars? Check. Three crayons? Check. Three food-related things (bowl-spoon-snack)? Check.” (…”three kids…. Ack! Where’s the little one gone?”)

Having a set number to look for can also make it easier to involve small people in remembering/finding their toys: you can ask them which car is missing, or to help count up all the things in the bag before you leave Grandma’s house or get off the plane.

Related: Library books in sets of five
Also: lots of packing and travel tips in the Travel/Going Out archive


  1. mel says


    Re: the link to “Library books in sets of five”

    We do a similar thing… one book per year of age. 5 for my son, 7 for my daughter. Since we make a trip almost every week, they are refreshed often.

  2. Anonymous says

    That’s a great idea. I keep a list of items on a spreadsheet so I will know what I need everytime I have to pack up.
    A friend gave me a tip for keeping a 1-2 year old entertained on a flight for a few minutes – worked with my kid – take some masking tape and the kid is fascinated with the roll and tearing off a piece and playing with it.

  3. says

    i have also put things in small plastic containers (leapster games, crayons…) and then labeled the container with a sharpie the number of items and what went in there. This has helped us not lose things on our trips and also keeps things a little more organized on our vaction.

  4. hedra says

    I’m with the head-smacking on this one – What a great idea! I’m definitely using this one.

    Bonus, it also simplifies the packing up if we can say ‘same number of everything’ rather than five books, three cars, seven markers, two coloring books. ACK!