Unpacking doesn’t have to be such a chore


Unpacking is my absolute least favourite part of travelling. While I am always happy to be home, the prospect of dealing with the aftermath can cause me to lose that relaxed vacation feel. (Unless, of course, the day of travelling home didn’t do that already…)

As a working mom, making the time to unpack is usually low on my priority list. But let me tell you, getting that luggage put away is always an amazing feeling!

Five things I do to make unpacking more bearable


Start the minute you get home.

I know this isn’t always possible. Sometimes you don’t get in until the wee hours of the morning, or maybe you need to head out right away for groceries so you can eat something, but the sooner you start the unpacking process, the better.

After our last trip, we brought all the luggage in from the car and I got right to it. I brought our laundry hampers to the living room and unloaded our luggage right into them. By starting the laundry right away, I was able to have most of it done by the weekend. (We got home on a Wednesday.)

Make the kids help.

I use this tip in EVERYTHING because life skills can be taught in every aspect of life. No matter the age of your children, they can help with almost every household chore.

Make them return the toys and books they took to their rooms. Have them unpack their carry-on bags and hang them back up. They can carry light baggage into the house from the car, or hang up everyone’s coats once we’re all inside.

Showing your children that everyday chores are managed best when everyone pitches in is the number one way to instill good household management skills. I know I want my own children to be able to maintain a household (preferably a tidy one) when they move out on their own.

Unpacking doesn't have to be such a chore

Take the next day off work.

If you can manage it, this can be a lifesaver. When we don’t get home from travelling until late I will often schedule the next day off work. BUT I will also make the kids go to school. This gives me the entire school day to get into that luggage I didn’t get to when we got home because it was too late.

Multiple loads of laundry and some sorting and tidying efforts really only take a few hours. And I can spend some time recovering from a week of stressing about my kids not eating anything but carbs and ice cream.

Related: Travel Mom Thoughts (or my kids ate only noodles and butter for a week and Nothing Bad Happened!)

This is part of my self-care routine. While vacations are relaxing, travelling and dealing with kids often is not. Giving myself some regroup time really helps me feel like the vacation was worth it, and helps me get that unpacking finished.

Spend time repacking before you travel home.

I will often make time to repack our luggage in a way that makes sense before we start the trek home. If items were never worn I will try to separate them from the rest so they don’t automatically get tossed into the laundry loads when we get home.

I also make my girls redo their carry-on bags in a way that allows ease of unloading when at home. Stuffies and books in one, and items that live in our colouring and craft area in another, for example.

Often an hour of effort before you leave can save you significant time unpacking when you get home.

Read a few of my other travel articles:

I would love to hear how you manage unpacking after your travels. Sometimes I am guilty of just leaving it for a week or more before I even start. I’m trying hard to not do that any more. Share what works for you in the comments!


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