Thursday, June 30, 2011

Homestead Experiment #23-Conquering The Camping Gear

Are you heading out camping during this upcoming three day weekend?  Our family loves to go camping and that is how our July 3rd baby opted to spend her birthday. As with most endeavors, we started out with the very basic of camping necessities, and then have added luxuries over the years. This has resulted in a large pile of miscellaneous gear that is consuming our whole back storage room.  I have a lot of things in totes, and we use a master list for packing, but we still somehow end up with things out of place, or things that we've overlooked packing which we discover missing at the campsite.  When this happens-especially when the MIA item is a necessity like the cooking pot and you're 25 miles away from home-it makes for one unhappy Daddy!

The other day I had picked up an old edition of  More Hours In My Day by Emilie Barnes. I remembered that she has a system for storing items where you label your big storage totes, and then on a corresponding index card, you list everything in that particular tote. Then when you need to find, let's say, the Christmas lights, you go to your card box and look for which tote has the lights to get out.  This way, you're not having to rummage through every tote to find them.

I decided to try a modern version of this with my camping gear.  I made a spreadsheet with the list of my totes' contents, and that way it would also double as my packing list.  I printed it out and put it in a couple of sheet protectors so that I can check items off with a dry-erase pen, and then clean it off for the next trip.  I will store it in my master binder with my other household information. Here is a pasted print-screen of my list (sorry for the hack job):

Now I stock the totes at the beginning of the season, and then just do a quick check-off before each trip.  The things we always seemed to overlook were the things that couldn't be packed ahead of time and had to be packed that day.  To help with this, I've labeled one Tote E, and that is the designated tote for those items. In fact, it's still stored with the other totes, but it's completely empty. That way I have a centralized spot to put a lot of those little items that often get overlooked and/or left on the garage floor.  I'm sure I will need to tweak this as we go throughout our camping season, but this is a great place to start. Plus, I have cleared so much floorspace in our storage room by having this heap organized and labeled!

Have a wonderful Independence Day, and while you're roasting hot dogs and watching fireworks, do not forget to thank God for the men and women who gave it all to found this country on the principles of freedom. Also let's all pray for our current leaders to have a mindset of protecting those liberties rather revoking them.

Blessings to you and your homestead,
Hillary At Home

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