29/07/2014 16:59 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Pack It In! Are You In Holiday Packing Chaos?

Pack it in! Are you in holiday packing chaos?Rex Features

I can't wait. We're so nearly on holiday. My holiday reading books were the first things to go into the suitcase, followed by lotions and potions that in my ordinary life I just don't have time to mess with.

I've packed my manicure set – previously only used this time last year on holiday - and I've even allowed my youngest daughter to pack her friendship bracelet box. In a rash moment of Nice Mummy I said yes of course we would find time on holiday to laze by the poolside making bracelets.

We've just a couple of days left before we go – and you can tell, by the absolutely hideous clothes we are all tramping around in.

"These don't fit," yells the youngest daughter (nine), pulling an extremely ugly face as she tries, and fails, to fasten a pair of shorts (aged five to six).

"Stop moaning," I snap (having quickly reverted to Cross Mummy). "I'm saving all your good clothes now for holidays."


Mums of the land – you know the score. We're down to two days before we go away – so all the sassy trendy clothes the kids love are currently halfway through the magic circular route of floor/washing machine/ironing and back to their rooms.


But at this time of year there's a catch – because I don't spend pointless minutes nagging them all to put their clothes away, instead I whisk said items out of sight and start the packing. In my earnest attempt to be organised and in a position to sally forth without a care in the world on the morning of departure, I want the cases packed and zipped a good 24 hours before we go.

So we are all walking around in nasty clothes.

My husband, for once, is glad to be in a suit. Laughing merrily as he comes home from work, the insults begin.

"Uh oh, it's the laundry basket travellers," he so wittily quips as he surveys the random misfits sitting around the dinner table.

We all scowl, but he is, for once, infuriatingly right.

The elder two won't even enter into the conversation. They seem to have grown in the last fortnight, both of them, so they are wearing ridiculously small clothes and looking utterly silly. Indeed the middle daughter refused an invitation out with friends today – "I am not going into town dressed like this." Ho hum.

If that's not enough I still have my husband's laundry to contend with. Many years ago I decided that he could sort out his own holiday ensemble. "Never allow a man to pack his own suitcase," warned my mother darkly when we first married "It means he'll always be able to pack to leave you." Chance would be a fine thing....

Anyway, it means just before we go away, he usually slings a couple of pairs of shorts and some T-shirts on the bed, and declares he will pack on the morning we leave.

I am always torn in two – do I add extra for him, since I don't want all our holiday snaps to have him in the same tatty (not to mention increasingly whiffy) outfit, or do I leave him to it? If he wants to go around looking like a homeless person in Cornwall, let him. It's not as if we're going to meet people we know – is it? Well yes actually we probably will, so as usual I succumb and, snarling, pack him enough tops and some more shorts to see us through a fortnight in (the wet) south west.

I also remove the ghastly white socks and trainers he thinks are suitable holiday wear – and replace them with the lovely boating shoes and flip flops I bought him last summer. I can't say here what he said about them – but it wasn't polite.

I will of course deny all knowledge of having removed said items when we arrive, and he will just have to get on with it. And in the same way I will have to get on with the fact that he will moan at me the entire time we are away, for the rather copious amount of clothes I'll have packed for myself.

"She who packs the cases calls the shots," I'll whisper sweetly as I sip my pre-dinner bubbly. And actually, she who does all the laundry for a family of five when we return home, can.

Do you hate packing for your entire family?
And then having to wash the whole darn lot on your return?

Any cunning strategies to share?