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Summer Trunk Essentials

Ah yes. Tis summer. It’s hot. It’s muggy. It’s wet. It’s Ohio. In a nutshell, it’s unpredictable.  

My kids are out of school and also out of organized activities (because we are taking a vacation from commitments), and my plan is to go where the wind {my car} takes us.

How do I ensure that I am prepared for a “do whatever we feel like day”? I clean my car trunk. Yup. Not glorious. I clean that one area of my car that I try to ignore as long as possible. I prepare it for unknown summer adventures, and then I jump up and down in joy. No. I actually pour a glass of iced coffee and sit on my patio. But regardless, you get my drift.

My summer trunk mantra is inspired by a quote my dad ingrained in us as young athletes and academia minded kiddos – “preparation prevents piss poor performance.” It still makes me giggle and yet is so full of truth.  So in the case of summer trunk prep, I chose to interpret that phrase as such:

“A well-stocked trunk prevents a change of plans.” Simple.

So. What does my summer trunk essentials prep look like? Follow along and be inspired by these 3 bullet points (and get your iced coffee ready).

#1 – MAKE SPACE – I seriously clean my trunk. If I have random junk, I do whatever needs to be done with it (pitch it; return it to its place in the garage, whatever). I also take out all signs of winter (the extra winter coats, the ice scraper, the hand warmers). I believe that a “trunk season switch-over” is just as important as a closet one.  Make sure you have what you will need!

#2 – CONSIDER YOUR KIDS – Ok. This is big. What do your kids tend to gravitate to in the hot months? Sand? Water? Animals? Mud? All of the above plus 300 other things you didn’t plan on doing? This plays a role in what you consider your summer trunk essentials. My girls LOVE water. So I always have an extra bathing suit for each of them, extra beach towels, sunscreen and a change of clothes. That way I can’t say/think “oh just play with everything at the park EXCEPT the fountain.” Um. No. Let them be little! Cater your essentials list to your kids. Also, always expect the unexpected!

#3 – ESSENTIALS REGARDLESS OF PREFERENCES – there are a few essentials I would recommend regardless of you/your kiddos’ preferences.

  • An extra change of clothes for each kiddo  (including underwear/extra diapers).
  • A portable potty & wipes (if you are potty training/have a newly trained little or someone who has a history of not being able to wait). You would be surprised how many older parks do not have public restrooms.
  • sunscreen (because summer)
  • extra snacks & water bottles (obvious. kids = always hungry and thirsty). Keep the snacks simple & ones that won’t go bad if they end up just chilling in your trunk all summer.  Applesauce pouches. PB crackers. Granola bars. Almonds. Dried fruit. These aren’t your kids’ primary snacks, but rather ’emergency summer’ snacks for when you realized you forgot to pack something, your kiddos are more hungry than usual, or you end up hauling a friend’s little home. Because we all know kids are FAMISHED. All the time.
  • towel & wash cloth 
  • box of tissues (or those little tiny portable tissue packs – even better)
  • hat (because sun)
  • bandaids/gauze/easy foaming ‘boo boo’ cleaner (I found this sting-free kids wound cleaner and love it)
  • extra shoes/socks – depending on what your kids wear on their feet in the summer, you may need this. 
  • hair bands (to throw the kiddo’s hair back when they get to be a sweat fest)
  • plastic/paper/reusable grocery bags – use these as backups for the unknown. Throw the muddy shoes in one & the wet clothes in the other. I always end up using these.
  • a few dollars – yup. I don’t carry cash. It’s nice to know that I have $5-$10 dollars thrown in a bag somewhere if I am in a situation where I NEED cash. You never know.
  • a bag you can store ALL of this in, in your trunk, so it’s not just thrown around like a madhouse. Have a waterproof bag? Grab that. Have a bag with little compartments where you can keep this glorious stash organized? Grab that. 

Mind you, I prepped my summer trunk essentials a few weeks ago, but I always can think of something I missed.  What do you keep on hand, at all times, in your trunk? Please share!

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One Response to Summer Trunk Essentials

  1. Katie
    Katie June 25, 2018 at 7:59 am #

    Good list! I also keep bug spray, baby powder for easy clean up for playing in sand because that stuff is a bear to get out of the car, and a collapsible chair! You never know when the kids are going to find a spot they want to play in for hourrrrs and the one bench there is occupied!

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