6 of everything and nothing in its place - hill edition
July 13, 2016 6:05 PM   Subscribe

I live in a valley but my car (and bike) live up a steep hill. it takes a few minutes to get from my front door to my vehicle, carrying my (increasingly-heavy-but-unable-to-climb) toddler the whole way. How do I (or how do YOU) organize stuff so that i am carrying as little as possible uselessly in and out all the time, but also so that my car doesn't feel like i also live in that?

Most of these things are like "sippy cups" where there are either 4 in the car and none in the house, or vice versa. where does the sunblock live? what do people do for the diapers and wipes scenario? what about beach toys (we live by a beach). should i just keep a jacket in the car for my kid or should it come in and out? how do you store your stuff IN the car so it doesn't look like tornado remains? Also - groceries - i have reusable bags in the car, but should I keep a backpack in there too for the hike down?

thank you, i am new to car culture and new to hills and new to toddlers and this whole thing feels overwhelming to me.
posted by andreapandrea to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I keep large cloth bags in the car, and I clean up my car and stuff whatever needs to go into the bag and carry it in every night.
posted by heathrowga at 6:14 PM on July 13, 2016

Have you considered a wagon to tote the tot, their stuff , and grocery stuff?
posted by stormygrey at 6:14 PM on July 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

I had a "car diaper bag" and a "home diaper bag".

The car bag was completely stocker with all the odds and ends one needed when out and about (diapers/wipes/spare clothes/etc).

The home bag was used only for shuttling things to and from the car (full/empty bottles, snacks, consumables, refills for the car bag), being sure to take empties with you when you park the car again.

That way, the home bag was kept much smaller and manageable and didn't need to be replenished every time I stepped outside.

The car bag lived in something like this, in the trunk. Mine had velcro on the bottom, very strong. Also handles for bringing it into the house for major restocking.
One pocket for the bag, the other pockets held miscellaneous bits (jackets, toys, etc)
The idea was to have everything ready in the car, so going to and for involved little thinking and little preparation.
If need be, I could grab a snack and walk out the door, knowing everything I needed was in the car.

If I lived by the beach, I might get another, smaller trunk bag just to hold beach stuff, on the premise that sand is best contained as much as possible. I would leave it in the car.

My philosophy, even now that my child is older, is that if it gets carried with you to the car, it comes out when you leave. The only things that stay are supplies/restocks.
This reduces extraneous trips to grab that book/stuffed animal/one sippy cup that doesn't leak. I think it's a good habit to start while kids are young.
I only have to go to the driveway, I imagine I'd be much more severe if I had to walk several minutes to retrieve that blanket.
posted by madajb at 6:40 PM on July 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

This kind of parking situation is why I moved out of my last apartment.

Honestly, my car has always been a huge mess, but large, sturdy freezer bags (like this) and those huge ikea bags were lifesavers for me. I always keep one or two in the trunk so I can easily haul a bunch of toddler crap around and they make transporting groceries much, much easier.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:50 PM on July 13, 2016

We used our stroller to haul both child and gear. We had "car" animals that always stayed in the car waiting for the next adventure and home animals that were always there waiting for us and missing us while we were gone. Sippy cups and other daily gear came in every time it went out. Had a plastic bag we looped onto the stroller to carry it.
posted by AugustWest at 9:08 PM on July 13, 2016

thanks for these great tips! I failed to properly express the kind of hill i'm talking about - it's a dirt hill, with, like, gopher holes and gravel and poison oak and several enormous steps. There are no wagon or stroller-like capabilities. If I want it, I'm the sherpa.
posted by andreapandrea at 9:29 PM on July 13, 2016

My suggestion:

Hiking backpack to sherpa stuff like groceries back and forth.
Diaper bag for car
Diaper bag for house
4 pink sippy cups for car
4 blue sippy cups for house
In the car get a box or tub for all this junk to sit in.
Then have a smaller cloth bag that hangs out at your front door where things that accidentally ended up in the house (those darn pink sippy cups!) can get easily transferred to the car on your next trip.
and so on...

Think sanity first and what will make life easier and always choose that option. Always.
posted by Toddles at 10:25 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have diapers and wipes and one spare outfit in the car. One sippy cup travels with us and anything we're likely yo use that day. All cups and food return to the kitchen at the ens of all trips. Stroller or bike is in the trunk all the time.
posted by Kalmya at 10:35 PM on July 13, 2016

Definitely stock up the car, and if possible have a non-kid-carrying person do the resupply runs periodically (once a week, once a day, whenever). After your description of your hill, I'd totally invest in an Ergo or similar toddler-friendly back carrier, so kid can ride to the car on your back, leaving hands free for a small bag or odds and ends.
posted by instamatic at 11:22 AM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

This did not involve a car, but when I lived in a third floor walkup and was initially pregnant with baby 2 and later shopping and stuff with infant and toddler:

I used a backpack for groceries, etc. I got enough groceries to fill the backpack, plus I was willing to also grab something bulky but lightweight, like diapers or toilet paper, that could be carried in one hand but did not fit in the backpack.

Toddler went on my shoulders if it was too far for him to walk, baby was strapped to my chest.

I was super organized about developing a routine and would make sure I did things like take the trash down with me on the way to the grocery store or whatever so I wasn't hiking up and down stairs all the live long day.

I ditched strollers and the like. That was just a no-go and another thing to carry. So utterly not worth it.

I would stick stuff near the front door in a designated spot that needed to go with me for the next trip and I had mental lists of All The Things that needed to happen on the way out the door because I just couldn't spare the energy to be making this trip over and over.
posted by Michele in California at 12:38 PM on July 14, 2016

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