Unpacking after the Vacation

My family and I went on a Disney Cruise for Spring Break.  Before the cruise, I read every article and blog I could about what to pack.  I wanted to make sure I was thoroughly prepared for our vacation so that things would go smoothly.  Luckily, we had everything we needed (and more) and were able to have a nice vacation.  But, after all the preparation and being gone for 6 days, we were awfully tired when we got home.  Fortunately, I made sure to organize our belongings BEFORE we came home so that the task of unpacking after the vacation went very quickly and smoothly.

As a professional organizer, I’ve walked into my fair share of homes where the suitcases are still left in the bedrooms (or living rooms, or entryways, or…) half unpacked and in disarray.  Often I hear that they just got back from a business trip or from vacation and haven’t had time to unpack.  The last thing people want to do after a long trip is to come home and unpack and put things away.  That is why it is best, and easiest, if you do a little organizing while you are still on your trip.  Here’s what I suggest:

Separate clean clothes from dirty clothes.  It doesn’t matter if you only have one suitcase or several, you don’t want to pack dirty clothes with clean clothes.  Even if it means putting the dirty clothes in a plastic bag or using a plastic bag as a divider, do what you can to keep them separate.  There’s no sense in coming home and having to wash everything because clean clothes and dirty clothes got mixed together.

Sort your dirty clothes, if possible, so you don’t have to worry about sorting them when you get home.

Sort and categorize items so you can quickly unpack bags when you get home.  While we were packing for our return trip, I packed all the dirty clothes in one suitcase, all the clean clothes in another, all the toiletry items in another and any soveneirs and misc. items in another.  I also kept all the shoes together.

Unpack immediately when you get home.  It’s tempting to bring the suitcase in and leave it where it lands, but you’ll feel much better and be much further ahead if you take 10-15 minutes to unload the items in the suitcase(s) and put them away.  If you’ve pre-sorted and categorized items prior to returning home, this process will go so much quicker and easier.

Relax!!  After everything has been put away and you don’t have the daunting task of unpacking after the vacation looming over your shoulders, sit back, relax and recover from your trip.

Finally, make note of anything that worked and didn’t work from your last vacation.  Did you take too many clothes?  Did you not take enough?  Did you use everything you took?  Do you wish you would’ve taken something else?  Use this information to help plan your next trip.


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