My Travel Kitchen

Traveling this summer has been so great and we’ve done all of it (over 4000 miles) by car! We decided not to give our money to the airlines for our travel plans this year and what a good decision we made!

To prepare for our travels I decided to make a travel kitchen (well, that’s what I call it anyway). The purpose of my travel kitchen was to enable us to bring healthy snacks, meals, and coffee for our long journey.  This allowed us to save money and eat healthier.

I like to recycle, re-use, and re-purpose things, so I decided to transform a vintage Samsonite suitcase for this project.

I went right to work on the suitcase, ripping out the interior but saving the lining for taking measurements later. I have to admit, I didn’t have the next step planned; I was just excited to start the project! After taking out the lining, I disinfected the interior of the travel bag. Digging thru my fabric stash, I found some cute brown and white checked fabric that worked with the pale teal suitcase.

Next, I cut the fabric, using that old lining as a pattern. I traced the shape of the old side pockets onto cardboard, used spray adhesive to put the new lining in:  No sewing involved!  To spray the adhesive in the suitcase, and not get it everywhere, I used paper towels to protect adjacent areas from getting sprayed. After covering the cardboard, I sprayed the adhesive on the sides. After placing the cardboard inside, I used a piece of molding and clamps to keep them in place until the adhesive set.

Vintage suitcases feature a divider that can be secured so that when you open the suitcase, the contents from one half of the suitcase don’t spill out. As I racked my brain about recreating the divider without sewing – Voila! – a crocheted net made of pale teal yarn!  When I attached the net, I used cup hooks so that mugs can hang from them.  I also installed small hooks on the sides to further secure the net.  I wove the existing bar into the bottom of the net and it catches onto hooks at the bottom.

Here is a contents list for the car kitchen:

  • 2 plates

  • 2 spoons

  • 2 forks

  • 2 knives

  • 1 cutting knife

  • Cutting board

  • Dish soap & dishcloth

  • Dish towel

  • Tablecloth

  • Wine opener

  • Can opener

  • Straws

  • Coffee

  • Creamer

  • Tea bags

  • Honey

  • Snack bars

  • Energy drink packets

  • Popcorn & noodles (microwaves in the hotel rooms)

  • Napkins

  • Extra ziplock bags

  • 2 Tervis Tumblers with lids


We even took the travel kitchen camping and added a few more things, including a 9″ skillet – I love using the suitcase! Because of its square shape, it packs into the back of the car easily, doesn’t take up too much space and is nice and organized when you open it.

What would you add to this travel kitchen? I would love to hear your comments.

Tool Tuesday- Clever Cache

I haven’t done a product review in a while – what I refer to as a Tool Tuesday feature.  I used a product by Clever Container (link) in my travels last week. It’s called Clever Cache so I thought I would share this tool to keep your travels organized.

This product is invaluable when traveling by air. With most airlines charging those ridiculous baggage fees ($25 for the 1st bag, $35 for the 2nd bag) I decided to travel for 9 days with just a carry-on piece of luggage. In order to do so I had to pack smart. The Clever Cache bags were the perfect solution. You pack your clothes in the bag, then roll them up to evacuate the air; the result is a much smaller volume of space used. I took 2 Clever Cache bags on my trip.  It worked out great for many reasons:

  • I was able to travel with carry on luggage and avoid baggage fees

  • I divided my outfits – business in one Clever Cache bag and casual in the other (it was a 2 part trip)

  • There was space left for packing my shopping purchases for the trip back home

  • If anything spilled or leaked the clothes were protected in the bags

The Clever Cache bags are a set of  5 – 3 small and 2 large.

  • The large bags measure

  • The small bags measure

Here’s a video showing how it works:

Since the holidays involve travel for some of you, stay tuned for more handy travel tips this month. If you’d like a set of Clever Cache bags, visit my clever container site at  There are other nifty travel products featured there as well.

Summer Travel Tips

I just got back from the first of many summer excursions we have planned this year. And as an organizer, I give myself a “C” for packing this time!

Maybe I forgot things because it was a middle-of-the-week trip and I was working until the last possible second or maybe it was because it was my first summer trip of the year… In any event, I write this blog post so you can pack better than I did!

Extra Things to pack for summer trips:

  • sunscreen (how did I forget that?!!)

    Woman With A Hat On Beach by Petr Kratochvil

  • hat

  • swimsuit (I had mine but forgot to pack his)

  • over the counter medications like allergy pills, antacid, and anti-itch cream for bug bites

  • lotion for dried out skin

  • a light jacket or Pashmina for cool nights

  • extra camera batteries

These are the things I forgot to pack this time.  Am I missing anything else? Making a packing list for warm weather and cool weather is a good idea (why did I deviate and not make a list?).  I found this Real Simple app to help with list making. It has pre-done to-do lists and ways for you to make your own lists.

Access to 30+ popular Real Simple checklists, which you can customize

What do you pack specifically for hot weather trips? Please leave a comment.

Packing Kids for Summer Camp

I came across this darling picture of my daughter headed to summer camp. What great memories!

Do you have kids going to camp this summer?

Here’s what I did for packing for my kids for camp.

Camp is all about fun for the kids not staying clean or worried about their belongings.

I used Ziploc® bags for their clothes. I would put an entire outfit in one bag – socks, undies, a top and a bottom.

I packed a Ziploc® bag for every day that they were to be gone and put it in their suitcase/or duffel bag. When it was time to get dressed each morning, they would open a new bag and put on whatever it contained.

I also used a bag for their swim suit, towel and sunscreen.

I told my kids that it was okay for the dirty clothes to go back in their suitcase without a bag. That way they knew what was clean and what was dirty.

Bagging their clothes also insured that their outfits matched, I know, only a mother would care about that! 😉

With my son Branden, it was not unusual with him to come home with half of his clothes still bagged! He was so busy having adventures that he would forget about changing clothes!

Oh well, at least the clothes were available!

Four Tips for Holiday Travel

1. Be Safe –Regardless of how you travel, make sure someone else has your itinerary and telephone numbers so they can reach you in an event of an emergency.

By car- make sure your car is road worthy.  Simple things like checking the fluids, tire pressure, and wiper blades can prevent bothersome road side stops. Fill up the tank before you go and refill it when the tank reads less than half full.

By plane/train/bus – keep your valuables on your person rather than in a carry-on or purse.  Always have a change of clothing and a toothbrush in your carry-on for unexpected layovers and delays.

2. Pack Light 

  • Dress in layers and pack clothing that will mix and match.  Use packing cubes inside your luggage to keep things neat and accessible.  Only bring one extra pair of shoes.  Be sure to leave room in your luggage to bring things home with you.  


3. Ship Ahead

If you have gifts and things for people you will visit while traveling, ship them out the week before you arrive. It’s less hassle for you at the airport and less to carry. The Post Office’s flat rate boxes are a very economical way to go.

4. Bring Entertainment

If you have kids – pack a small backpack for each of them with quiet activities they can do. Carry a small surprise for them in your carry-on to reward their good behavior.
For the adults – bring something small to occupy your time during your trip.  There are always layovers and unexpected delays.  An e-reader or good book and a deck of cards can go a long way with helping pass the time.

Have a Safe & Enjoyable Holiday Trip!

The packing cubes are available on my Clever Container website under “travel”.