Think Travel Size
Recently, just by examining what I carry in my bag and what smaller options are out there, I've been able to reduce my essentials from the pile you see on the left to the pile on the right:
Target's Up & Up brand has a nice, small package of antibacterial wipes in their travel size product aisle for the exact same price as Wet Ones, it's much smaller, and you get 5 more wipes!
Now that I've made my own bib clip, I can ditch the big bibs when we go out:
I've realized I really don't need to bring the sippy cup whenever we go out to eat. Instead, I just bring my folding scissors to help prevent big spills:
You can find many pairs for less than $3.00:
Okay, how about something for Mommy? If you like the power of Altoids for mints in your purse, but don't like the huge tin, they have a new smaller one now. The mints themselves are smaller too but still really strong. You can also just re-fill the small tin with mints from the big one. But, it takes up a lot less space!
There are a ton of really small mints out there at the checkout lane, but I personally prefer the power behind Altoids to the others. If you want to get even SMALLER and even MORE powerful, the Listerine breath strips come in even smaller packages and are also extremely powerful...maybe too powerful for some people:
The Diaper Duck by Munchkin is a great little travel disposable diaper bag solution. However, I find I really don't need to carry that many bags around with me unless I'm going to go spend several days away from home. I rarely ever change a diaper where there isn't a garbage can right nearby anyway. So, I now just carry one of the bags with me. One of these bags can hold several diapers anyway...
I also have a washable fabric pouch with a zipper that I use for dirty cloth diapers on the go, so I almost never use these disposable ones. But, they do come in handy on occasion, and if I need one, it takes up so little space to just pack one!
Move Things Out!
The first is baby's pacifier (or spare pacifier). It doesn't take up space IN your bag because you can hook it on the outside, which makes it way easier to find the darn thing when your precious little angel is having a meltdown and time is of the essence. I have a couple of the "JJ Cole Pacifier Pods" and they are great. Amazon has a bunch of different ones too:
Another is hand sanitizer. It's another thing that can easily get lost in the bottom of your bag, but you can get these nice little ones that hook on too:
I have not yet tried any of these products but am thinking of giving one a try sooner or later...collapsible water bottles:
When it comes to on-the-go entertainment, I find that my iPod is the only thing I need to keep in my bag. If you're willing to let your child play with your iPhone or similar phone, you can get some great free games for kids too. I know every kid is different, but home movies and cartoons on the iPod work wonders in waiting rooms for me, without taking up a ton of space in my bag. I can also always refresh it with new movies/games/cartoons!
Pack a Short Errand Bag
I also keep a much smaller diaper bag with just the essentials for one or two diaper changes and maybe some snacks, packed and ready to go in our coat closet. I use the Similac sling pack that I got free from my doctor when I was pregnant. It's the perfect size for a few hours out of the house, and easy to grab if we're just going out for a walk to the park, or if my husband is taking a kid out on an errand!
Clean it Out!
If you can get into the habit of going through your bag once a week, that will also help downsize your load. You'll find things in the bottom that you no longer need to carry around...old receipts, expired coupons, toys, etc. I'm always surprised by what useless things I've been carrying around when I clean out my bag! It's bound to happen when you have such a big bag!
These are just a few things I've done to downsize my diaper bag. Everyone's needs are different of course, but I'd love to hear if you have any more tips...I think as moms, we'd all appreciate tips on a few ways to lighten our load!