Keep a stocked sports bag at the ready

From Jill:

I have a "Kids Sports Bag" which has everything from the equipment needed for the current sport to bandaids and sunglasses. We used to add things as the season went on but now we just keep it stocked. My son helped me write out a list to be sure it was stocked. Right now it has:

1. shirt
2. pants
3. socks
4. cleats
5. protective cup
6. mitt
7. ball
8. bat
9. hat
10. snack
11. emergency cash (for French Fry Emergencies)
12. bandaids
13. tissues
14. wet wipes
15. sunglasses
16. water bottle
17. (later, sunscreen – I feel optimistic that we'll need it sometime soon!)

Now I can grab my keys and my phone and we're out the door. When I wash the uniform it goes right back into the bag.

I had to regularly run around in a panic before swim lessons (where are the goggles! the swimsuit's still wet! we're out of sunscreen! etc.) before I stumbled upon this hack myself last summer. Such a sanity saver. In fact, it's worth generalizing this idea for all sorts of activities: picnic bag, hike bag, beach bag, "waiting around" bag (because you're bound to hit one of those killer dead spaces in your week, and certain little kids just can't handle them without distraction), etc.

Any other ideas for handy pre-packed bags?

Related: How to remember to restock the diaper bag after you get home

And: Put your random bag collection to work by creating "activity totes"


  1. Anna says

    We have been doing this for years. One bag per activity. They are always packed and ready to go.It is so nice not to be searching for ballet slippers or soccer cleats 10min before class or practice.

  2. Sarah E says

    We keep a tote box in the back of our van stocked with extra outfits/warm clothes for the kids and ourselves, the portable potty, bottled water, a first aid kit, coloring books, etc. I was thinking I might be able to get one of those under-the-bed organizers and slide our kit under the seat.

  3. Sara says

    I do the same thing for trips to our neighborhood park & playground. I keep sidewalk chalk, frisbees, bubble blowing stuff, a “Neat Sheet”, sunglasses, sunscreen, a small first aid kit, bottle of water, wipes, etc., etc., in a mesh bag in the garage. Then whenever the mood strikes us, I grab the bag and we are out the door.

  4. Jen says

    I am the mom of a special needs kiddo who constantly has to take trips to the hospital.
    I keep a bag packed by the door with diapers, wipes, cups, bottled water or juice, her medical information, health cards and some toys and games. That way when the ambulance comes, I just have to throw on my coat and go.