Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Get organized!

4 Must-Dos to Get Your Pool Bag Organized (and what to always have on hand!)

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

As soon as Memorial Day hits and the warm weather is constant, our family spends the majority of our free weekend time at the pool.

Whether you’re a pool-goer like us or you’re planning a fun trip to the beach this summer, an organized bag is a must-have to corral the essentials. So long are the days where I could just toss in sunglasses, sunscreen, and a good magazine for me and call it a day. If you’re a parent like me you know that we double as pack mules and some days it feels like we’re carrying everything but the kitchen sink in our totes.

While I can’t necessarily lighten your load, I am here to share with you how I organize my bag so that the essentials are always easy to find and so that I can have everything I need (and some things that I might need) in one spot. My bag is always hanging in the mudroom and ready to grab and go, which saves me time for having to gather up everything while my kids grow eager to start splashing around with their friends.



  • Choose comfort over style. When I’m carrying essentials for four people for the day, it’s inevitable that the bag I’m bringing will get heavy. I’ve used heavy duty canvas totes in the past, but finding a sturdy lightweight option has been the perfect solution for serving as a catch-all without my weighing me down.
  • Keep categories contained. The key to staying organized is to create categories that are easy to keep up with. By using pouches or reusable bags for each of your categories, you’ll create a method to what's being stored in your otherwise bottomless pit of a bag.
  • Accessibility (always!). Just like you would in any area of your home, create zones in your bag whenever possible. Reserve built-in bag pockets for categories that you reach for most often, like your cell phone and pool pass, and tuck your least accessed items in the bottom of the bag so that you aren’t constantly moving them out of the way to reach for what’s really needed.
  • Prepare for the “what ifs”. I’ve learned the hard way that there are too many unknowns that can happen when you set out for an afternoon. I keep a stash of snacks, first aid supplies, and loose change on hand at all times to prepare for whatever the day has in store.



  • Towels: Since I carry four in one bag, I love using thinner towels
  • Sunscreen: I seek out the shade whenever we’re at the pool or beach, but even when we’re not in the direct sunlight we make it a priority to reapply often.
  • Hat and sunglasses: Again, I’m all about the shade and products that will protect me from getting too much sun.
  • Snacks: Because it’s inevitable that I will hear “I’m hungry!” the moment that we walk into the pool. We stock reusable food storage bags with crackers, fruit, and jerky.
  • Water bottles: We’re big water drinkers, but we make it a priority to consume even more on days where we’re in the sun. We each bring our favorite water bottles to sip on and refill throughout the day.
  • First aid kit: I like to have a couple of supplies on hand in the event that scrapes or cuts come up. Either pull from your existing medicine cabinet stash or pick up a small case of the essentials to toss into your bag.
  • Games: A card game is a great way to have fun and pass time while the kids are taking a break from splashing around in the pool.
  • Spare change: To have on hand when the ice cream truck passes by and your kids have been especially well-behaved :)
  • A book: Since my girls are at an age where they are less dependent in the pool, I always like to be prepared to soak in some “me” time with a good book, magazine, or podcast on my phone.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.