Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Quick Tip Tuesday: No Matter the Sport, Be "Tote"ally Prepared

Sometimes the best organizational helpers are the most obvious.  A few years ago I put together a “ball” bag that I took with me to watch my boys play their sports.  After using it a few times, I proceeded to keep it stocked with the same items and just stored it on a hook near our door.  Every time I grab for that bag (which is multiple times per week), I tell myself to share it with you all.  It is such a simple little kit that ensures I am always ready to head to our children’s sporting events.

I have used a few different types of totes, blankets and snack containers over the years, and have finally nailed down a few favorites that have stood up to our weekly trips to baseball, soccer and football fields.

My first tip is to pre-pack as much of the bag as possible, so if heading out the door in a rush, there is not a lot to gather or think about.  My next tip is to keep it basic.  Sure, I could load up a wagon full of activities and snacks, but I really don’t want to be responsible for all of that or transport it through parking lots and fields.

Here are a the items you will find in my ball bag each week:

And a bit more detail regarding each item…

I have used about three different totes over the years, and my favorite to date is this large tote from Target.

It is large enough to hold everything shown above, and the finish is a breeze to keep clean.  Things have spilled inside, and the outside has been dusty and dirty, and it wipes up easily with no signs of wear.  At the same time, the bag is inexpensive and nothing I worry about as we lug it around and toss it haphazardly into the trunk of the car.  In the past I have used fabric totes, and they always end up with stains, holes and dirty after a game or two, only to wear down after a few washes.  Another tote I see mom’s “sporting” frequently are the utility totes from Thirty-One.  You can never go wrong with multiple pockets!

Next up, the quilt!

I actually purchased this quilt a few years ago for family picnics.  I found it on sale for around $30 in the full/queen size, and it fits our family of five perfectly.  After taking it to a few games, it became our new ball blanket.  It is heavy enough to keep us warm during cold and rainy nights in the spring and fall, and folds over a few times to provide nice cush on the bleachers.  Locations that don’t offer bleachers mean we just spread it out in the grass.  The best part is that I have washed this blanket so many times, and not a single loose thread.  I am easily thrilled, and a blanket that can hold up to our nightly abuse for a few years now?  #impressed

To keep it compact enough for our bag, I roll it up like a sleeping bag and use an elastic headband to keep it tight.

You all know I utilize pouches to organize just about everything, and inside of this tote is no exception.

One of these durable zipper pouches corrals rain ponchos, bug spray, a mini first aid kit and sunscreen.  I never have to remove this pouch from the ball bag, and if anything leaks, the remaining belongings in the bag are still safe.

Other important items are an instant cold pack and baby wipes.  The cold pack is in case of injury (we have had our share of those during games), and the wipes are my favorite for quick hand and face cleanings.  Well, really for cleaning just about anything on-the-go.

We travel quite a bit for sports; sometimes leaving for the parks right after school.  My kiddos were always allured by the concession stands and asking for money, and it got old quick.  To tide them over until lunch or dinner, these snack containers have been awesome!

The handy containers hold enough for two boys to snack from, and stack nicely inside of the tote.  They also ensure that the food and snack pouches don’t become crushed or crumbled, making them ideal for everything from crackers to fruits and veggies.  In fact, I have fallen in love with Snapware for my own weekly snacks as well.  I try to pack a few of these on Sundays, or at least the night before a game, so we can quickly toss them into the bag on our way out the door.

Finally, it is important for everyone to stay hydrated.  The boys have had these water bottles for a few years, and they have held up well to our dishwasher.  However, the straws are a bit obnoxious, so I am thinking of eventually swapping them for these.

When it comes to my own water, I personally love these water bottles.

And that is it!  We keep a few activities in our car that the boys can do during the games, or else they will just bring a book, scooter or their own ball gloves.

Alright fellow sport parents, do you have a similar system or any additional tips to add?  We have times in which we are at some sort of sporting activity every single night of the week, so this bag has been a true “game changer”.  #punintended

from IHeart Organizing

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