Those of you who follow my social media pages will know all about the TeamTOMM Tip of The Week! Members of TeamTOMM will throw their life and cleaning hacks at me so I can cherry pick the awesome ones and bring them your way! Well, this one was so so so so good that I had to give it its own little place on the blog to remain forever! It was actually put forward to me by Amy who is one of the lovely moderators for our TeamTOMM Facebook Group. Thank you Amy … I feel this will be a game changer for many!
Amy …. over to you …
I am currently sat at the local swimming pool, watching my six-year-old son in his lesson (which means having to throw him a thumbs up every single width he swims), whilst entertaining a toddler (we are currently playing with a Millennium Falcon fashioned from blocks with Chewbacca) and my nine-year-old is giving me the low-down on who has fallen out with who whilst she is going through my bag looking for snacks (because my kids LOVE snacks) and completing a word search.
This is just one afternoon in the week. Almost every other afternoon involves this scenario but the roles my children play are flexible and carried out in a variety of different public places. They enjoy an after-school education and social life I could only dream of!
Why am I telling you all this? Well, because Gemma asked me to if I am completely honest! The reason she did so was … I am able to leave the house to go to any of these activities normally within a few minutes. With all three children. On my own. Gone. Out of the house.
My secret? Plastic sandwich bags!
I understand I owe you an explanation…
My beloved changing bag died when my youngest was only one. This doesn’t sound overly dramatic but my late mum had sourced an out of stock bag-of-my-dreams changing bag for me many moons ago and I loved it (so much it is in my loft as I cannot throw it away!) and I held on to it until it died a slow and painful death. I knew I couldn’t replace it and instead turned to the arsenal of bags I already owned to use as alternatives.
However, there were days when I was going out shopping and didn’t need the giant oversized changing bag with me anymore; there were times I got to go out-out with friends and no children, times I was taking just the toddler to playgroup and times like today where I was channelling Mary Poppins. I didn’t always want the same bag, and I didn’t always need everything with me but I needed a quick and easy method of transferring from one bag to another with ease and cleanliness. I struggled with this even prior to having children. My work bag was constantly found with mouldy fruit, thrown in with healthy intentions, at the bottom never to be seen again!
Hence, plastic sandwich bags!
It is so simple and so easy but was a light bulb moment for me.
I have packed and ready at any given time three extra-large plastic sandwich bags:
- Easy entertainment items (currently a small pencil case stocked with colours, a small colouring book, a word search book, some small plastic blocks and a couple of figures)
- Changing necessities (currently a spare outfit for the toddler, two nappies, wipes, antibacterial hand gel and tissues)
- Snacks! (cereal bars, raisins, dried fruit and emergency lollipop – this stops my toddler’s meltdowns in seconds!)
When I am about to leave I choose my bag, add the plastic bags I need for that moment and throw in my phone, keys and purse and am out of the door!
I have everything I need within them, even the plastic bags themselves are useful for rubbish or for bad nappies or if the outfit change is needed, I have a waterproof method of getting the wet outfit home. I make sure I refill upon returning home and that way I am ready to roll. Playgroup: bag 2 only. Swimming lesson: bags 1, 2 and 3. Cinema trip with eldest two: no bags needed! And as they are plastic bags and not boxes they can fit almost any shape and size bag.
So there you have it. Not rocket science, but plastic bags in my bag were a game changer to getting out of the house ready for almost anything.