Going Camping? Do THIS Before You Leave and You'll Be Happier

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I've already professed my love for camping, especially for camping gear. However, I will admit that the effort it takes in getting to your camping spot, and then back home again, can be a bit of an ordeal. You have to pack and unpack, and then pack and unpack that gear every time you go. And if you're just going for a weekend? Let's just say, you gotta love it. And I do.

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Still, my husband and I felt like we needed to figure out a system that made all the back and forth much more enjoyable, manageable, and efficient. Especially after our kids came into the picture and our camping gear doubled.

Here are three things we do that have made our camping experience 100 times better ...

Tip #1: We keep all of our camping gear organized and stored — year-round — in several storage containers with tops. Everything is prepared and ready to load into our car when it's go-time. No looking around for stuff — we know exactly where everything is. We also label the bins so we know where to find things once we are settled into our camping spot.

Tip #2: When it's time to leave for our trips, we put any extra items (groceries, games, and clothing) into empty containers that we keep on hand expressly for this purpose. And, because we've planned ahead, we know exactly how many of these containers can fit into our car (we actually figured it out one day, like playing a game of Tetris), so if something doesn't fit in a camping bin, it ain't coming.

Tips #3 (and my favorite one of all): When we return from our trip — before putting the containers back into storage — we clean everything and then put those items back in the containers (pots, utensils, tablecloths, spice containers). We also replenish any items that we ran out of during the trip (trash bags, paper towels, eco-friendly soap). Once the container is fully stocked, back it goes into storage until our next outing. This way, we are always prepared and have minimal planning to do when the great outdoors beckons us again.

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Laurie Gunning Grossman, Hunker’s editorial director, caught the California boho minimalist bug. So, she bought a cream-colored couch. And she also lives with two kids and two dogs, so we’ll see how that decision pans out.