Have you ever gone on a family trip? And had suitcases and and random shoes and curling irons scattered around the house for weeks? I have. I'm not ashamed to admit it.
Well, maybe I'm a little ashamed. Maybe only a little ashamed because in addition to those things I found a cheeseburger (definitely from a road trip) in a suitcase (still don't know how that happened) the day after we got home from a trip. Yeah, I know it's gross. But gross is a great motivator! Now that I'm highly motivated, we've had much better experiences as I've figured out a few tips for unpacking luggage and general road trip or vacation unpacking. Maybe by sharing these 6 tips with you, you can avoid your own disgusting random cheeseburger.
At any rate, it was after the cheeseburger that I realized that I needed a system for returning from vacations. Or a weekend away. Or any situation that requires an overnight bag. A system that did not require all of us wearing the same outfits for each day of our trip and leaving the suitcases at home.
Here is what we do to minimize the damage after we've been out of town:
1. Unload the car right away. It's not always possible. If you return from a trip at midnight you're not going to want to unpack right away. But if it's at all possible, unpacking the car as soon as you get home can save time and trouble later.
2. Put the right bag into the right room as soon as possible. This is critical. If you put your toiletry bag straight into your bathroom, your suitcase straight into the laundry room, and your cooler right into the kitchen for easy unpacking, you avoid the hassle of everyone digging through the suitcases wherever you set them and making a huge mess.
3. Start a load of laundry as soon as your suitcase is inside. I ended up with more laundry than I thought was humanly possible after our last trip out of town. 7 days of clothing for 7 people can get pretty crazy. Getting my first load in right away ensures that SOME work is getting done while we're busy with everything else. Fold and put away each load of laundry as it comes out of the dryer to save you from a big mountain of laundry later.
4. Figure out what you're going to eat for the rest of the day. I love meal planning so I really enjoy doing this on the way home from whatever trip we've been on. But if you haven't had time, making sure that you have something easy planned for dinner can keep you from having to leave the house when all you want to do is enjoy being home. Our first meal back at home usually consists of something from our pantry, like rice and beans.
5. Sort your mail. I usually have a decent stack of mail when we've been away from home, and it's the easiest pile of mail to misplace…or spill breakfast food on. The best possible scenario is quickly sorting and filing your mail so that it goes straight from your hands to where it belongs.
6. Make it a goal to put your suitcases away the day you get home. Unpack as quickly as you can, put your suitcases away, and enjoy relaxing at home. Or kind of relaxing. My house is usually mess from being out of our routine, but we get it sorted out soon enough.
I was able to use my system when we went on a trip this week. Totally unplanned, last minute and spontaneous, but we were able to relax sooner and transition back into real life without extra hassle.