How I Organize Our Diaper Bag

posted by Andrea | 08/8/2012

I’ve gotten quite a few questions asking what diaper bag we use, what we keep in our bag, and how we organize it.

And while I only have one infant’s stuff to cart around with me — I can at least offer some insight into how we {try} to keep things simplified and organized when it comes to the diaper bag.

The Bag:

We use a bag my cousin gave me when she was a Thirty One consultant. I believe it’s called the Organizing Utility Tote. I love the cute brown/cream polka-dots… and I have the matching Large Zippered Pouch to put inside.

I actually had this bag well before Nora was born — and I used it ALL the time. I used it for meetings as it easily fits my laptop case and other business essentials. I also used it as a beach bag, when I went to a client’s home, and pretty much any other time I had to cart a lot of stuff along with me.

I like that the main compartment is wide open and easily accessible. I like that the bag itself is very light-weight, and I like that is has several different-size pockets around the outside for smaller items. However, I know I wouldn’t like using it as a diaper bag unless I had the Large Zippered Pouch to go inside… the pouch is the perfect size to corral a handful of diapers, wipes, and cream so I can “grab-and-go” when I need to change a diaper.

The Contents:

I always said I wasn’t going to be one of THOSE people who took every possible thing with them once they had a baby… but, alas, I’ve realized that life is actually a lot simpler if you have everything with you!

I’ve tried my best to keep our diaper bag as simple and as organized as possible… Here’s what we keep in our diaper bag:

  • Diapers, wipes, Butt Paste, and hand sanitizer {I keep all of these in the Large Zippered Pouch}
  • Travel changing pad
  • One or two extra changes of clothing — depending on how long we’ll be gone
  • A hat
  • A Wet Suit Bag and a few plastic grocery bags for dirty clothing, wet bathing suits, trash, etc.
  • Small Blanket
  • Nursing cover {also in this warmer weather, the thin nursing cover doubles as a light-weight blanket}
  • Burp cloths — usually 2 or 3
  • A small pouch with gas drops, baby Tylenol, teething gel, baby lotion, sunblock, Chapstick, and gum}
  • A book and a couple small toys
  • Pacifier
  • A small “cooler” with a bottle and milk {if I won’t be around and if she’ll be gone for an extended period of time}
  • Snacks — for me :)

The Extras:

Always, ALWAYS remember to restock the diaper bag when you arrive home {I learned this the hard way when I realized we were out of wipes while changing a REALLY dirty diaper…}

Before buying a diaper bag, look for a bag you already own that could be transformed into a diaper bag. I’m so thankful we never registered for a fancy or expensive diaper bag. My brown polka-dot bag works wonderfully and it’s just one less thing I have sitting around my house!

If you do buy a diaper bag, make sure it’s something your spouse or significant other won’t mind carrying! Dave said he could do the polka dots, as long as it was mostly brown :)

Consider having a small version of a diaper bag for quick outings. Dave’s cousin actually made a really cute {and really small} bag that is the perfect size to hold a couple diapers, wipes, burp cloth, and a toy. We take this one to church or when we go on a walk, or if we’ll only be gone for 45 minutes or so.

So that’s it… a “tour” of our diaper bag.

Nothing super special, but it’s been working for almost 9 months without many issues. I’m thinking that once we have more children…. or once our future child/children get older, I might have to re-evaluate my system, but that’s part of any organizing process!

Do you have any other diaper bag organizing tips?

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22 comments

  1. Jen

    08/08/2012

    I love Thirty-One stuff. It’s so cute.

    We also have two diaper bags. We have the large, brown Kate Spade bag that a friend gave us, and we use one of those backpack diaper bags that our doctor’s office gave us to keep in the car as an emergency, oh-crap-we-forgot-the-diaper-bag diaper bag.

    Our son is almost one now, so we rarely use the larger bag. He just doesn’t need as much stuff now, so we’ve taken to using the smaller bag all the time. But yeah, I try to make it a habit to check once a week or so and make sure everything is stocked and ready to “grab and go”. We learned when our daughter was a baby that we should always pack at least two more diapers than we think we’ll need, and then toss in two more. lol

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  2. Jenny

    08/08/2012

    Loved opening this article to see that you are using a Thirty-One bag! This is one of the top selling bags! Great as a diaper bag & when you children get older, you will find many more uses for this bag: like an office on the go, camera bag, or field trip bag, carry on, so many uses! Thanks for showing how you organize your diaper bag. I will be sharing this article on my FB page & with my Thirty-One sisters!
    http://www.mythirtyone.com/jennystewart

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  3. Beth

    08/08/2012

    Our diaper bag changed with our 2nd and will probably change when #3 arrives but we always have….

    Our “Uh oh” box in each of our vehicles like the commenter above: diapers, wipes, diaper cream, ziploc and plastic bags for wet/dirty and whatever else is necessary, dry wash cloth/rag, complete change of clothes for each child including light jacket/sweatshirt and hat (changes with season), disposable changing pads (rescued us from car seat that was beyond hope until it met with a washing machine until we could get home), non-perishable snacks (changes with ages), complete dish set for each (disposable placemats, sterilized bottle (baby), fork, spoon, large plastic bowl, bottle of water, mini first aid kit, hand sanitizer, bottle opener, $5 in change and 5 one dollar bills, emergency room address/phone/directions, sunscreen wipes. And a few age appropriate toys/books. And a large, foldable/zipable picnic blanket. Have always been glad to have this back up (we’ve used it many times) and it means in a primarily car to almost every location area (no buses, subways, cabs, etc), we carry less.

    Actual diaper bag consists of a diaper wallet, change of clothes for non-potty trained folks, clean shirt for mom (during nursing stages), non-perishable snack, at least one empty bottle/sippy cup or full if we’ve just left home, baby nail clippers, light blanket/nursing cover (doubles as each), cell phone, keys, mommy’s essentials bag (chapstick, Tylenol, breath mint/gum, floss sticks, Tide pen, etc), wallet, sunglasses and mini home management notebook.

    And I agree with above – either one mom and dad friendly diaper bag or one for each always packed and ready. We tended to have one that was mine and then a back pack for dad as he preferred this and sometimes a backpack was easier for some situations -especially once we had two.

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  4. Kristin

    08/08/2012

    Yay for 31!! I too am a consultant and was talking with another blogger last night about this very bag. I’ll be sending her one shortly :)

    http://www.mythirytone.com/kristinwear

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  5. Katy

    08/08/2012

    Now that we have two kids under the age of 2, I have started using a regular backpack for a diaper bag. I bought it last year during back to school time, and it’s blue (so my husband doesn’t mind carrying it). Our older daughter was excited because it was the same style backpack she got for school, just a different color. I used to have a typical shoulder strap diaper bag, but found that it was constantly slipping off my shoulder while carrying the car seat and holding my litle guy’s hand. Also, when trying to squeeze through doors or aisles in stores, having a shoulder bag adds width, where the backpack is carried behind you…not to mention, wearing the backpack keeps both hands free! Thanks for your great blog posts!

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  6. Teri Bennett

    08/08/2012

    We used a backpack as a diaper bag. We organized it just like you did, but we love the backpack because our hands could free when carrying the big bag around and it had all our extras right there. The smaller bag with diapers, wipes and changing pads is a lifesaver because sometimes bathrooms can be so cramped. Just having the necessities at those times is super helpful!!

    Great post!

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  7. Heart and Haven

    08/08/2012

    I use a black Messenger bag for a diaper bag (hubby doesn’t mind carrying it around at all!). Inside is a big pouch to store everything, and also has some compartments for smaller items such as sunscreen and hand sanitizer.

    The other thing that I find essential, is in the front zippered pocket where I keep my keys, wallet, phone, and lipstick. That way I don’t have to grab an extra purse to carry my stuff around!

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  8. Sue

    08/08/2012

    This is what basically I used to carry when the kids needed it.. But the one thing I am surprised at is you do not have listed a change of clothes.. at least an extra pair of shorts or undershirt.. I know with my kids there would be an “explosion” once and a while that we had to change into another outfit..

    Good post !

    Sue in NJ

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Sue, a change of clothing IS actually on my list {see the 3rd bullet point} sometimes I bring two changes of clothing, depending on how long we’ll be gone :)

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  9. Danita

    08/08/2012

    I would love to see a picture of the smaller version. I have the bigger one mastered that I really just leave in the car, but need a smaller version to use and haven’t come up with much that I like yet.

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  10. Ashli

    08/08/2012

    I had a diaper bag like that with kiddo #1, by the time kiddo #3 came along she was lucky if I had a clean diaper in my purse…

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  11. Cat S

    08/08/2012

    I fell in love with thirty one bags after we had our baby too! So much so that I became a consultant as well!
    http://www.mythirtyone.com/Sasser/
    Gotta order from somebody, right?! :)

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  12. Rebecca

    08/08/2012

    I use this exact same bag! Same print and everything. But I also sometimes just carry a bottle, formula, a cloth diaper, and a travel sized bag of wipes in my larger purse when we are just running one or two quick errands.

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  13. Liz

    08/08/2012

    I use a back pack. I found this worked out well when I had to carry the bag (v. putting in a shopping cart or something). While there are specific back packs for diaper bags, any back will do. My husband liked this too because it kept your hands free and eliminated should pain from always carrying the bag on one side. We generally keep the same things in it as you do…. changing it out as the baby grows from bottles to sippy cups and from Pacifiers to snack cups. Now that my kids are older, I just leave the bag (packed) in the car unless we are going to be gone away from the car a few hours, or if we are going into a restaurant… then I have all the eating supplies and wipes handy. Otherwise it just stays in the trunk until needed and I re-pack it every few outings/weeks as the need arises.

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  14. Caren

    08/08/2012

    We use the same exact bag, only in all black. I have 2 kids and bring pretty similar stuff. Just less toys and more snacks. :)

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  15. Maria

    08/09/2012

    I became a mother five months ago when our one-year-old son came to us through foster care . . . followed by a 2-year-old boy and an 8-month-old boy two months later. Little bit of a learning curve there.

    Enter the Diaper Bag. It’s a large white corduroy bag with a couple of buttoned inside pockets and just a large empty space inside. The outside is the best–it has two buttoned pockets like on the back of a pair of pants. This is why my husband kindly calls it the Butt Purse. There’s a small slit pocket above each buttoned pocket. The slit pockets are perfect for my cell phone and the three pacifiers we need for church or nap time in the car. The buttoned pockets are just right to hold two bottles and two sippie cups.

    All three boys are in diapers, so that means organizing three sizes of diapers, in that large empty space inside the bag. I used three quart-size freezer bags and labeled them 3, 4, and 5 for sizes, sorted out about three diapers per size, and stood them up (unzipped) in the big empty space. They fit just right with a pack of wipes and another freezer bag to hold small soft toys for church.

    Inside pockets hold the teething gel and all that other little stuff. Especially the tube of mini m-n-m’s which reward small people for being quiet in the store. And which mama occasionally sneaks from as she drives.

    The Butt Purse works for now, but I’d like to try designing and sewing The Perfect Diaper Bag, covered with about 85 pockets of all sizes inside and out, some zippered, some with magnetic snaps, some open. With matching pacifier tethers.

    You know you’re a mama when you dream of the perfect diaper bag.

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  16. Laura

    08/10/2012

    I have this *exact* same bag – same pattern and everything! – and purchased it to use as a diaper bag. I haven’t yet made the switch as we have an Eddie Bauer bag that works well for now. I never thought of getting the pouch, too. That might convince me to make the switch for good!

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  17. evelyn

    08/11/2012

    It is official. This is the best, basic diaper bag known to modern man. I switched over after a year and a half using the “dad bag” messenger and somehow my life is so much more manageable. Well, to an extent. Thanks for the tour, Andrea!

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  18. Brittany

    01/06/2013

    Would love an update on if u still use this bag and how if you’ve packed it or organized different now that Nora is older. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Brittany, We’re still using this bag and basically still using it the same way. I love how light-weight the bag is as well as all the many pockets!

    [Reply]

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  20. Pita

    08/07/2013

    Where would i get that bag. Love the still and all the room it has. Right now I have a regular messenger bag and can’t fit everything i need for two little ones. Plus I’d like to have more room then not enough.

    [Reply]

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