bags, sports, yoga, swimming, gym, dance . . . where's my stuff?

We all have TONS of activities and if you have kids they have even more than TONS of activities!  How do we keep everyone's gear straight?  How do we not forget our yoga mat, or swim googles, or hair ties, or baseball uniform, or shampoo, or towels, etc . . . you get the point.  Here is a plan that works, and really works.  Purchase a sturdy bag for each of your activities.  You gotta make a small investment here, but trust me it will pay off in the long run.  You will no longer be paying to replace baseball mitts, swim googles, yoga towels, or forget sunscreen, socks, shampoo etc.  A great bag is the basic drawstring tote cinch sack, you know the ones handed out for EVERY promotion.  Well, don't throw them away anymore.  And of course Amazon has them for $1.29 each.  These bag don't always fall under the sturdy category, there are some sturdier versions available.  Or you can buy backpacks, LL Bean tote bags (my favorite), just buy enough for each activity in your family.  Now write the name of the activity on the bag with a sharpie, or get each bag monogrammed.  So let's say you have designated a bag for yoga, one for each of your children's swimming lessons/team, knitting club, biking, running, basketball, softball, dance, ballet, chess club, school, whatever works for you.  Make sure you have it stocked with all the things you need.  If you take a shower at your gym, keep a small toiletry bag loaded with your favorite items in the bag (don't move your shampoo, lotion, deodorant back and forth from your bathroom).  Just buy a second lotion, shampoo, soap etc, you aren't spending any extra money because you are still using the same amount of product.  Keep your heart rate monitor in the gym bag, running shoes in the running bag, yoga mat, towel and water bottle in the yoga bag, ballet slippers and leotard in the ballet bag, keep the soccer cleats, shin guards, ball and jersey all in the soccer bag, etc.  I always keep extras of socks*, sports bra and underwear in my gym bag.  K.  Here's how it works . . . When you head out to the door to your yoga or aerobics or cross-fit class or child's ballet grab 'that' activity bag.

Now you are on your way home and walking in your door, STOP!  ONE MINUTE RULE** . . . Here is the key to keeping this activity bag working.  If you just walked in from your cross-fit class and your bag is filled with sweaty stuff take it directly to your laundry room/basket . . . dump out the dirty stuff, refill the bag . . . you are already ready for your next trip the gym.  ONE MINUTE RULE!  Now, if you just got back from swimming take the bag to where ever you have a great place to hang a swim suit to dry out, hang up the suit, refill the bag with a clean towel, and keep the activity bag close to the drying suit.  When you are ready to head to pool again, grab the dry suit, the activity bag and go.

This plan works great.  There is a little investment in the beginning to get yourself organized for each activity.  Once you do, and once you train yourself, kids and husband you will just be grabbing bags to head out the door not finding a missing cleat, or yoga mat, or swimming goggles.  I started this program for one of our kids when he was six, and at age six he was taking off his sports stuff and throwing it in the dirty clothes hamper or back in the bag after every activity.  On his way out the door all I ever heard (if I heard it) was, 'where's my soccer bag.'

* Diane - Thank you for the socks at the ride the other day.  I guess you can't be prepared for everything, especially if you haven't done it in five years!

**  ONE MINUTE RULE - Refer to this blog posting