Ok, so you made your detailed list to pack up all the essentials for whatever kind of traveling you’re doing. You double checked your list, confirmed you have everything then you go away on your vacation. You have such a great time, because of course you packed everything you needed!!
So now, you get home…you unload the vehicle and put everything in the front door, or off to the side. Then, almost immediately you are thrown back into regular life…even if you’re still in vacation mode!
How can you efficiently deal with putting everything away?
Use your laundry bins!
There is always laundry to do after a trip. Unpack the suitcases or bags right where you dumped them in the house. Put the dirty laundry into the basket right away. Resist the “unpacking it to the regular hamper” thinking. If there are clean clothes still in the bags – put them away…properly and right away! This step saves some mental clutter about all the work that goes into unpacking. Start the load of laundry as soon as you have a full basket and start filling the basket again with more dirty laundry if need be.
If you have any larger items that need their own separate wash, put it in a basket and start another empty basket. Line your hallway if you need to with loads of your laundry. When the mess is in your way, you’re more likely to deal with it so that it doesn’t continue to be in your way.
If you need to wipe anything down outside, set it aside in a bin so that you can take the whole bin outside or into the garage (or even bathtub if it’s too cold outside) and fill up a bucket with your detergent and give your stuff a good wipe.
If you need to wash any dishes, bring them right into the kitchen and fill the sink with soapy water to start the soaking. Hopefully it can fit into the dishwasher and you don’t even have to think about it. If you must hand wash it, let it soak while you finish the rest of the unpacking. Again, being quick and efficient with the stuff means you touch it fewer times, and it doesn’t clutter up your space as much so that you actually CAN get on with regular life.
Now you can deal with the small stuff.
If you have souvenirs, give them out as soon after your trip as possible. If you can’t, or are saving them, put them into your “gift storage” area of your house as you unpack them. Less risky if someone finds them too!!
Sort out and put away the toiletries, the electronics, and any other incidentals you may have packed on your trip. If it helps you can use smaller baskets to transport the like stuff to wherever it goes. The idea is simply to make putting the stuff away, a priority.
As you empty the bags from your trip, make a pile of your empty suitcases or bags so that you can keep all the “empties” together. I keep all of mine together so that I can always find the empty sacs when I need them. Don’t forget to check smaller pockets, or inside pockets to ensure you removed everything.
As soon as your dryer dings, grab the clothes (then switch the load), fold them up and put them away as fast as you can – make it a game. Try to fold one set of clothes and get it put away in 30 mins or less!
When unpacking, or putting things away from a trip becomes the priority, regular life doesn’t knock you down as hard. Regular life, work, kids, activities, pets – they are all the normal day to day and they each come with their own set of priorities.
When trip or vacation clutter hangs around, it becomes harder to clean up the day to day! AND, it becomes a bigger chore in your mental clutter!