I just returned from a 5 day trip to Charleston, SC with my family and I have to turn around and leave in 3 days for a conference without them! When we got home late last night and I started unpacking, it made me think about how complicated traveling can be and how much extra work it creates just to get ready to go.
One thing I have seen over and over with my clients is that they don’t UNpack after trip, but instead leave the suitcases laying out on the floor until the next time. Seems like a good idea at first, but it really adds clutter to the home and ultimately, you still have to get the dirty clothes out if the suitcase!
With all the traveling we do (and have done) I have come up with 3 easy tips for packing and UNpacking:
1. Make a packing list for each person and keep them permanently in your computer. Each time you travel, just print off the lists. Then use the lists like checklists, crossing off each item as you pack it. When you first do the list, it will take some time to nail down the nitty gritty of what you really need to bring. Things like phone chargers, a baseball hat, a night lights, and hair brushes are easy to forget if they aren’t written down.
This website helps you create custom travel packing lists and is super easy to use!
There is also a fabulous packing App for the iPhone called Packing Pro. It is unbelievable and allows you to create multiple and customizable lists!
2. After printing your list, start pulling together your stuff. I start days in advance because I don’t like the task of filling the suitcase hanging over my head. A little at a time is easier than staying up all night to pack! If you are packing for your family, I suggest you do the kids suitcases first. Then move on to yours and pack your toiletries last. I now keep a separate supply of travel toiletries packed all the time. I just have to refresh or refill containers when they run low. I have done the same for our kids using small toiletry bags from LLBean .
3. Lastly, when you return from your trip, unpack your bags! Unless it’s really, really late and everyone is exhausted, I spend the first hour after returning home unpacking the bags. Your kids can help by taking everything out of the suitcase even if they are very young. Because we each keep our toiletry bags mostly filled all the time, those can just get put away as-is until the next trip, but the suitcases get emptied each time.
I have seen the results of not UNpacking way to many times. You will walk around your suitcase to avoid it, dig through it to find things you need, and eventually, have to unpack to re-pack it the next time you travel!
Get all the dirty laundry into the laundry room, the empty suitcases together in one place, and the clean clothes ready to put away. Throw away any trash, gather purchases together, and put away any food you might have brought home with you. If you can get that much unpacking done now, the rest won’t seem as daunting in the morning.
There you have it! 3 easy tips to packing and unpacking! Happy travels!