We went camping this past weekend (pics to come later), and of course, before you go away, you have to pack. I have come to loathe packing. It used to just be my stuff that I had to pack, and it wouldn't take long. Then when we got married, it was mine and Carey's stuff. A little more work, but still manageable. Add in a kid, and it would take most of the day to get ready to go away for 2 or 3 days. Add in another kid, and it's a whole day's job that leaves me physically and mentally exhausted by the time we pull out of the driveway.
When I was little, we used to rent a cabin for 3 weeks each summer and that was our vacation for the year. There was a lot of packing to do, but at least then you only had to do it once. Now, because of Carey's job, we can't really take vacations in the summer, so we take 2-3 day weekend trips camping or to my parents' cabin. I think it's almost the same amount of packing (except for food - usually I only have to pack snacks or special food for the kids and the rest is provided) for our little trips as for a 3-week trip. And we've got at least 4 more weekend excursions planned, so I think I'm going to need to come up with a better system for getting everything ready, or I'm going to lose my mind by the end of summer. I'm thinking about making detailed lists on the computer for each person, as well as a "toys" list, "extras" list, etc to see if that would make it easier. And I would be very detailed - I wouldn't just say "shirts" or "shorts", I would specify which particular shirts, which shorts, etc. We might end up wearing the same clothes in all our pictures from this summer, but at least that would eliminate the need for choosing which clothes to take along. Also, if I'm very specific in my lists, then it will hopefully cut down on the amount of "what did I forget?" worrying when we leave. I was also thinking that I should try to have all the laundry done by the night before, so everything's ready to be packed the day of. Again, if I knew ahead of time which clothes I wanted to pack, then I'd also know to have them clean and ready to go.
So those are a few of the ideas I've had so far. Do any of you have tips or systems that you use for getting things packed up? I'd love to hear any suggestions.