The newly revised and expanded workbook “Organizing Your Weight Loss: Your Jumpstart to Getting on Track” is now available through the Major Organizers Organizing Store or on Amazon. This workbook, Volume 4 of our “Jumpstart” series, thoughtfully applies the principles of organizing to areas most impacted by any weight loss journey – your kitchen, closet, activity and time. In this excerpt, we tackle organizing your gym bag using the Major Mom Method™.

One of the most important tools in exercising is a well-planned gym bag. What’s fun about the Major Mom Method™ is that it is a scalable process. You can use it to organize a whole room or a single bag.

Phase One: Picture It

Envision what role your gym bag will play in supporting your weight loss and activity goals. What types of items will need transporting between your home, your car and the gym?

Phase Two: Plan It

Sketch out your gym bag dimensions, or make a list of each interior/exterior pocket. Label the bag’s zones by function, including clothing and supply storage. Define your budget and make a shopping list of any necessary purchases.

Phase Three: Proceed With S.T.E.P.S. (Sort, Treasure, Establish, Plan, Start)

S – Sort Into Categories

If you already have a bag you use regularly for the gym, unpack it completely and sort the items into categories. If you are starting fresh, gather the items you need for your bag and sort them into groups.

  • Clothes – Gym, work

  • Fuel – Water, snack

  • Safety – Lock, footwear, orthotics, medication, ID, phone

  • Toiletries – Shampoo, soap, deodorant, makeup, hair tie, brush, towel

  • Workout tools – Weight gloves, yoga mat, music player/headphones, activity journal

T – Treasure What Counts

What items do you need for your workout, and what items do you need after? Treasure by activity if you are planning different types of workouts for each day (e.g., running on Mondays, weights on Tuesdays, yoga on Wednesdays). Try on items for fit and check for tears or holes. Examine supplies for broken pieces. Replace worn out items.

E – Establish Homes and Sytems

Take stock of the bag you’ve chosen. Does it have multiple pockets or one big compartment/ If it has one compartment, how will you separate your items? If it has multiple pockets, how will you find what you need? Also think about when you will be working out; if it is before work, will you need room to pack toiletries? Decide how you want to separate your categories? How will you separate dirty clothes from clean clothes? How will you store your shoes, or toiletries that could leak?

P – Plan Your Strategy

Use whatever containers work best for you. Plastic bags that can be discarded when they become too messy, or fabric bags that can be tossed in the wash regularly are good tools to have. If you have different items that need to go in your bag on different days, designate containers for each day and a space near where you pack and unpack your gym bag to keep those items nearby.

S – Start New Habits

Set a time each day to unpack and repack your bag. Resist the urge to pack it full for every possible workout. Pack only what you need for the next day. This makes finding what you need easier and keeps your time (and your mindset) at the gym focused on your activity. Once a week, empty the entire bag and wash or air it out to keep it from becoming smelly. Designate a highly visible home for your bag where you will remember to take it with you.

It may help you to make a list and post it with your gym accessories of the days of the week, and your workout schedule so that you will know you have everything you need for that day/activity.

No matter what your exercise plan, an organized gym bag provides the basic tools you need to make activity a part of your successful weight loss journey.