Cincinnati Family Magazine

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March 30, 2023

What’s In Your Bag?

My everyday bag is a functional tote that holds everything I may need for myself and my dudes on a given day. It is fashionable, compact and holds all of the necessities!

Well, except maybe I don’t need all three lip balms in here, or four pairs of toddler socks, or all of these brochures my kids picked up when we went places, or all these straw wrappers from juice boxes…

Okay, I will be honest with you. I have to go trough my beloved tote at least every 2 months, when I say enough is enough and I’ve simply accumulated too much junk. I’d describe the contents as part Barney bag (Buttons? Pipe cleaners? Am I crafting on the go?! What gives?) and part “weird girl” bag from the Breakfast Club. So. Much. Junk. Good luck trying to find a ringing phone in the black hole that is my bag! Sure it would be ideal to throw away trash in the moment, but sometimes your kid hands you trash and they are simultaneously covered in mud from the bottom of the slide. I choose to throw the trash in my bag for later, and tackle the mud monster now.

The bottom line is, if I am carrying around one of my kids, I don’t need to also be carrying around 20 pounds of who knows what in my bag. So! I have determined my bare necessities of my everyday bag, in hopes to inspire you to also do some spring cleaning and organize your go to bag. And after a purge, I really DO find my bag to be neat and compact!

For my 4 and 2 1/2 year old dudes, my life is made easier by having these items on hand:

– a pack of wipes (toddler hands are always sticky)

– a small snack that can be squished around in my bag, and still be fine for consumption (gummies are still a go-to, even though they cause sticky hands, good thing we have those wipes)

– four cars (they each get two, if they argue over which ones, they each get zero)

– invisible ink coloring book

– a bottle of water

– wallet

– cellphone

– keys

– lip balm

– sunblock

– first aid kit (one of my sons is a notorious klutz, so this is a must have item for us)

There has been an ebb and flow of how many items are “must have.” Toddlers obviously need different things than newborns. If we are going somewhere, I may also pack a picnic snack of fruits, nuts and yogurt, which fits in my newly cleaned bag nicely. I used to pack gum for myself, and my 4-year-old would bum a piece every now and again. But then my 2-1/2-year-old decided he wanted gum, too. He didn’t really get the concept of “chew, don’t swallow,” so now I go gumless.

For my family, this is what we’ve found that we tend to need when we’re out and about. What are your must-have items in your bag? What’s the weirdest item in your bag right now or that you’ve discovered in there? (I will confess mine to encourage you to share yours: I once found a rotten banana in my bag from when we went to the Zoo, had a tantrum and left in a hurry without eating our snack snack. My dude ended up having an ear infection (hence the rotten mood), and we didn’t go anywhere for a few days.  How often do you find yourself cleaning your bag out? Sound off in the comments and don’t be afraid to share your messy bag photos!


About the Author

Amanda Ciani

Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).