Thursday, May 19, 2016

Diaper Bag Organization + My All-Time Favorite Diaper Bag

Today, we're talking the ultimate mom accessory.  The one thing no mom can live without.  Moms search far and wide to find the perfect one of these.  They spend tens of dollars, search many stores, and take them all for test drives.  No, we aren't talking about the minivan.  We're talking about the diaper bag.

Yes, I am aware that there are moms that can live without a diaper bag.  But I'm definitely not one of them.   I love my diaper bag almost as much as I love my step kids, but with the sheer amount of stuff I find it necessary to carry with three kids, diaper bag organization was the bane of my existence when I first started carrying my bag.  

I don't know about you, but I like to carry everything but the kitchen sink in my bag.  I try to be prepared for every possible scenario.  I find that it helps cut back on extra spending (on snacks, drinks, first aid supplies, etc) and means we feel a lot more prepared to tackle long outings without feeling like we need to prep for three days beforehand.

The key to keeping the diaper bag organized? Pouches!!! Over my life, I've amassed quite the pouch collection.  I feel like they multiply overnight.  Some of them I'm not even sure where I got anymore. Ipsy, Target, and Amazon have some of the cutest pouches ever.  I had an Ipsy subscription for almost a year, and getting a cute new pouch each month was one of my favorite things about the subscription!

The quatrefoil print pouches were from N. Gil; the one in the lower right actually came with my old diaper bag and the one on top I bought at the same store (Dazzle Up in Columbiana Centre for those that are curious).  The striped pouch to the left obviously came with my new bag, and the striped thing on the right is a changing pad. 

The smaller quatrefoil pouch is my "first aid" type pouch.  It has a cute hinged plastic container that I keep bandages, alcohol prep pads, and antiseptic spray to help treat on the go boo-boos.  I've got a few hair ties for baby girl (and me!) in there too.  I have them stuck in there just to keep them contained, otherwise they'd end up all over the bottom of my bag.  I got my box from the Container Store, but I can't find it on their website anymore.  This box is similar though!  I also keep some gauze pads, lip balm (the original Chap Stick in the black tube and the moisturizing Chap Stick in the blue tube are my ride or die lip balms), a travel-sized hand lotion, a nail clipper, a nail file, a pocket knife, and a portable hairbrush.  Baby Girl has some incredibly long, fine, tangle-prone hair so the brush is one of the most used items in this pouch.

The other pouch that is always in the diaper bag is the diaper pouch.  Shocker, right?!  I always keep this to-go pack of wipes in there, along with 3-5 diapers for Baby Girl.  Hand sanitizer and "butt cream" *as it's known in our house* finish out this pouch.  I'm obsessed with those wipes pouches.  I love that they're refillable, and the wipes don't dry out!  I have these babies stashed all over the place.

Both pouches and the changing pad fit beautifully in my bag, and make it so easy for me to grab exactly what I need.  If we're just running somewhere really quickly though, I can grab just the diaper pouch and have everything I need for diaper changes on the go!  I love having space to fit all of the pouches as well as my needs (which at this point is only my wallet, phone, and keys) when we go out.  My old diaper bag didn't feel large enough to include drinks and snacks when we were on the go though, so when I needed to get a new bag I knew I had to find one that was larger than my old one.  I also wanted something cute that didn't scream, "I'm a diaper bag!" since I've been known to use my bag on the weeks we don't have the kids, too.  

I ended up picking this black and white striped bag from Cherish Bags.  It was actually my second choice when I was shopping.  I had really been wanting this (almost identical) bag in the gray & white striped pattern, but I waited too long and it was out of stock. 

I'm so in love with this bag though, and I ended up LOVING the black & white stripes!  I carry it over my shoulders with the handles, but the bag also includes a long over-the-shoulder strap.  I've left the strap on, just in case I need to use it while I'm out and about.

Another slightly random selling point of this bag was the included stroller straps.  When we go out to somewhere like the zoo, I love having my bag easily accessible, so tossing it in the under-stroller basket isn't my favorite solution. I've been using the Mommy Hook, but didn't love the fact that the weight was unevenly distributed across the stroller handle.  

On the inside, the bag has a large zipper pocket on the back wall, and two elastic pockets on the front.  The front pockets are large enough to fit diapers and my wipe pouch, but as I said before I prefer to keep the diapers in the pouch for easy access so I use one pouch for my wallet and my keys and the other one is an excellent size for dry snacks like granola bars, peanut butter crackers, and fruit snacks.  The back zipper pocket holds another pouch (not pictured) that holds my ibuprofen, migraine medications, and other feminine supplies.  #becausethatsreallife  When I take my camera places, I slip it in this back zipper pocket as well.  

Each outer side of the bag has these nifty somewhat hidden pockets.  I use one to store my phone, which is an iPhone 6S Plus, and there is still plenty of room in there!  I just don't put anything else in with my phone because even though it has a screen protector, I still try to not scratch up my screen.  The pocket on the other side stays empty for the most part, but has been known to carry our checkbook and Deputy Dad's wallet if he just isn't feeling carrying it around.  #canyoubelieveIuseacheckbook #ifeelsoold

Even with all of that stuff crammed into my bag, it is still nice and slim and comfortable to carry!  This bag also came with an insulated bottle pouch, which I use for our refrigerated snacks like cheese sticks and applesauce since all three kids are well out of the bottle stages.  Water bottles for all three kids will also fit in these front pockets - I put the boys' water bottles in one pocket and L's water bottle goes in with the snack pouch.

When we don't have the kids, I can easily take out the diaper pouch and fit my laptop (a 13" MacBook Pro), the charger, a notebook, my pen pouch, and other fun grown-up on the go stuff.  Even when I have all of the kids' stuff in here, I can still fit my iPad and my Kindle Paperwhite with no problem, so that I have entertainment as well as the kids.  Nine times out of 10, my Plum Paper Planner is stuck in here as well.

I know that was a lot of words about a diaper bag, but this bag is my most used accessory, and the combination of the larger bag and the pouches makes me feel prepared, organized, and ready to take on the world!!!  Or at least the zoo with three kids.


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