Thursday, 28 October 2010

Unpacking & reorganising after a family trip

I just got back from a week's holiday and have been getting everything unpacked, washed and tidied back away. I'm pleased to say that after the first full day back at home I had unpacked and put away all our cases and bags, done at least half of the washing and drying of clothes, caught up on most of my emails.....and that was all on a very disrupted night's sleep! There always seems so much to do when you get home from a holiday, particularly when you have children, so this post shares some of my thoughts on getting organised at home after a family trip.

There are a few things you can do before your trip that make things easier and more pleasant on your return:

Leave behind a tidy home. There's nothing worse than coming back to a mess so try your best to get everywhere clean and everything put away in its place before you leave.

Put clean sheets on your bed. A friend of mine who travels a lot always does this the day before or the day she leaves and had mentioned it to me at some point. I had never thought about doing it but it makes a real difference to come home and not only be only be back in your own bed but be in a nice clean bed!

Use up food.  For the last few days before setting off on your trip, try to avoid buying any groceries and use up what food you have at home. Check the fridge before you leave and if not used up, discard anything that might go off so you don't return to nasty smells or mould.

Get on top of the washing. As you know you'll come back with lots of holiday clothes to be washed, it's a good idea to empty your laundry basket as much as you can beforehand so you don't feel like you have mounds of washing to do when you get home.

Now, some suggestions of tackling the unpacking, washing, re-organising once you get home......

Try to unpack at least one bag/suitcase the day you arrive home. If it's late, just do something small like a piece of hand luggage or the bag with the nappies, toys, entertainment for your children. You feel better knowing you have one less bag to deal with the next day.

Get a load of washing in straight away. If you arrive home late, put a load in and on a timer to start early in the morning so you can get it out and drying first thing. Getting started immediately and then keeping the momentum means the job is over sooner rather than later.

Unpack all other bags/suitcases by the end of your first full day at home. It can be tempting to leave them on the floor, open, half-unpacked.....but it's a lot more efficient to empty them, put things away or in the laundry basket and get the bags themselves put away to leave your home less cluttered.

Catch up with post, email etc without rushing. People know you've been away so no need to panic and feel like you need to respond to everyone as soon as you walk through your door. Have a brief look through for anything urgent and then take a couple of days to deal with any correspondence. Prioritise bills or any time-sensitive matters but respond to other things when you have time to do so.

Don't plan anything for the day after you get home. Especially with children, having a quiet day after a holiday and a day of travelling is important. It's a chance to get re-settled and to return to your regular routine. If you had a long travel day, it's likely you'll be a bit tired and so the last thing you want is to have an appointment or social occasion to attend. Keep things simple, quiet and low-key for that first day back at least.

Keep meals simple. You'll probably need a few basics like milk and bread when you return home but other than grabbing those few bits, don't worry too much about a big food shop at first. Plan quick and easy meals that require little preparation and enable you to use your time to do some of the aforementioned tasks instead.

How organised are you about unpacking and getting sorted out after a family holiday? Do you have any tips to share?


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