Something I hear regularly is that people arrive home from an incredible trip and their suitcases lay discarded for weeks, months… til the next trip sometimes. To avoid this, it’s important to have a strategy around unpacking which helps to get back into the swing of everyday life as easily as possible without losing those holiday highs. A strategy can ensure that the overall task of unpacking is broken into smaller steps that can fit in with getting over jet lag and returning to your schedule.
If it works with timing I’d suggest that the best time for unpacking is after arriving home. Have a cup of tea and get stuck into it. Yes! THE VERY SAME DAY YOU RETURN.
First things first, get any tags off of the straps and sides. It gets the bag clean and clear of information overload for the next trip.
Now that the outside of the bag is taken care of, lets get stuck in to what’s inside!
Step 1 – get the dirty laundry out and put it by the washing machine so it is ready to wash.
Step 2 – If you ended up with clothes that went unworn and they haven’t been tainted in any way, put these away.
Step 3 – Return your shoes to their places. Make note of any maintenance that needs to be done in the near future.
Step 4 – Return jewelry, accessories, and other wardrobe pieces to their places.
Step 5 – Collect all your toiletries and beauty electronics and return them to the bathroom. Plan to unpack them and put them back in their places when you’re next showering and getting ready.
Step 6 – Collect all your travel receipts, any leftover foreign money, your passport, and other important documents. Plan to go through these in the next few days when you can sit down at your desk or life admin area, for now though, the aim is to have them out of travel mode.
Step 7 – Unpack any souvenirs and (this is the fun part!) find homes for them in your house. Where will you most like to remember your travels? For an idea of what to do with tickets, maps, and smaller souvenirs check out my article on mementos.
If you bought gifts for others, put these in a visible spot where you can grab them as you head out to meet people over the next couple of weeks.
Step 8 – Ensure all international adapters and specific travel items are cleaned and packed away with the bags for next time.
Step 9 – Grand finale! Put your bags back in their storage spot.
With that all done, you deserve a break! And in the next few days following your return, turn your mind to anything you’ve had to put on hold. In my previous post I talked about thinking about what will be affected by your absence, and now you’ll need to get those things back in motion. But that can wait – for now feel good about having unpacked your bag in record timing!
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