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How to Pack a Picnic…FAST

How to pack a picnic

My kids and I love to take picnics.   There is just something fun about having lunch away from home and in the great outdoors.  The food tastes better under a shady tree!  But, are your visions of picnicking not so serene as mine?  Do you envision the hectic rush to pack the lunch, rushing around trying to locate and pack the needed gear, or even the biting bugs?

Picnics don’t have to be this way.  I’ve got everything you need here in this post to help you get a picnic ready in a flash so you can be on your way to the fun part.  The trick is having a basket or bag partially packed before the day of the picnic.  I keep mine packed all the time with the nonperishable items so that I don’t have to worry if I packed everything or rush around trying to find the things I need.  So grab your bag or basket and then locate these things today so that when the picnic bug strikes you, you’ll be ready in a moments notice.   You don’t have a basket?  Walmart has some cute ones that don’t cost very much.  {That’s where I got my super cute one!}

step one packing a picnic

Step One: Non Food Essentials

Locate these items and place them in your basket first.

  • garbage bags {on the very bottom, you’ll need them last}
  • bug spray {here’s some natural ones you can make here or here} or a citronella candle
  • hand sanitizer OR lemon essential oil OR hand sanitizing wipes
  • matches {in a zip top bag to stay dry}
  • sunscreen

step 2 packing a picnic

Step 2: Paper Goods

Locate these items next and then place them in your basket.

Tip: I often have leftover birthday party plates, napkins, and utensils.  I like to put the leftovers in my picnic basket.  It is a great way to use them up and it makes the picnic fun!

Step 3 pack a picnic

Step 3: Non Perishable Food Items

Locate items that your kids like to eat that won’t perish for at least a month and put them in your basket last.
These can be prepackaged or packed yourself in zip top bags.  Some ideas are:

  • crackers
  • peanut butter or other nut butter
  • raisins or other dried fruit
  • nuts
  • chips
  • trail mix
  • cookies

Once you have all those things packed in your basket the rest is easy.  Just store your basket out of the way but where it will be handy.  Now, when the day arrives that you’ve decided you’ll actually take that picnic you’ll need to gather a few more things s and you’ll be on your way.

picnic tip

Tip: I have a quilt {That I bought on clearance} that I keep in my car for such a time as this.  It has came in handy lots of times and I don’t have to worry about remembering it pack it.  I just leave it in the trunk or my car at all times.  If it gets dirty I wash it and immediately put it pack in my trunk.

What’s left?  FOOD

  • sandwiches, pasta salad, or tossed salads, etc
  • fruit {a quick tip, cut fruit when you get it home from the grocery and have it ready in your fridge.  Then, all you need to do is pack it in a to go bowl or bag and you’re off!}
  • Cut Veggies {see fruit tip}
  • condiments

What’s left?  DRINKS

Having boxed juices or boxed milks is a luxury for our house, but I always buy a few during the summer {and hide them} just for picnics.  Everyone in my house also has their own glass water bottle.  On the day of the picnic I fill them with water and toss them in a cooler that is conveniently sitting near my already assembled ahead of time picnic basket, toss in some juice boxes, some ice packs and we’re off!

Tip:  Using ice packs instead of ice means less mess and clean up when you get home.  Just throw the ice packs back in the freezer and pack the the cooler away.  Replace any used up items in your picnic basket and it will be ready next time you are!

Now all you have to decide is WHERE you want to go!  The possibilities are endless!  My family enjoys picnicking at the pool, the beach, state and national parks, playgrounds, city parks, the water park, the creek, the lake, and even in our very own front or back yard!

Where does your family like to picnic?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I’m a participant in the Walmart Moms Program. Walmart has provided me with a product sample and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. Participation in this program is voluntary and the opinions stated above are entirely my own.

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  1. Patrina says:

    Great ideas Denise. My favorite tip is using the leftover party plates for your picnic basket. I’m patiently waiting for a cute picnic blanket to go on clearance at Target now. Thanks for sharing!

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