Dear Coach Juli,
I recently returned from a trip and got home so late and was so tired I didn’t have time to unpack. I have been home nearly a week now and my clothes and my luggage are all over the floor. Ideas on ways to make this easier and more efficient would be appreciated. – Still Packed
Dear Still Packed,
Trips are so fun – until you get home and have to unpack! Why can’t the clothes just jump into the washer and closet themselves? Since Monday is Presidents Day, meaning a three-day weekend for most people, chances are that many will be experiencing this exact problem when they come back to work on Tuesday morning. Of course, the best success will come from planning prior to the trip, and I have a few thoughts on how that can be accomplished.
Here are five simple ideas to implement for a short trip, so you don’t have to come back to a week-long unpacking project.
1. Be careful not to over-pack in the first place. The more you pull out of the closets and drawers and take “just in case,” the more you will have to unpack later, so attempt to pack as little as you need.
2. Keep a regularly packed toiletry bag that you have stocked at all times that you can grab and take at a moment’s notice, and put right into a drawer or closet when you come back. Better yet, you might even leave it in the luggage for next time.
3. Put your dirty clothes in a plastic bag while you are away. That way, the majority of your clothing from the suitcase can go directly into the wash pile when you return, and not have to be sorted through when you arrive home.
4. Before you leave, schedule time to unpack. Mark it on your calendar. If you know you will return late at night and time won’t be available the next day either, plan for the next night.
5. If you won’t be getting to your bag within 24 hours, start dressing from it and use it the way you did while away. Start using things up, in other words. Then, after you have worn it, put it where it really belongs.
Of course, if you can take the 15-20 minutes it takes to unpack from a short trip as soon as you return, and just know that it is the only option, then your problem is non-existent. At the very least, empty your carry-on bag as soon as you walk in the door, as that usually contains the items you will need the soonest and the most.
Have a great holiday weekend!