A family vacation creates plenty of memories and great stories to share, but it also leaves you exhausted and longing for the routine of home. Pulling into the driveway doesn’t mean the work is done though. You still have to unpack all of that gear and tackle mounds of dirty vacation laundry. Streamline your vacation unpacking with these tips.
Pack to Unpack
Before you leave your destination, consider how you pack up the vehicle. Place things you’ll need right away — toiletries, medications, baby gear — on top. If you’re so exhausted that you don’t want to unpack everything, at least you’ll be able to reach the things you need easily. Load similar items together in the trunk. For example, put all of the suitcases with dirty laundry together. Put all gear that will go in the garage together. This makes unloading easier.
You might want to take a break, but it’s easiest to unload your vehicle as soon as you get home. If you sit down to take a break, you may find it difficult to find the motivation to unload the car. Give the kids little jobs to help with the unloading. Have your child carry in the pillow and blankets she used in the backseat, for example.
When you unload, take the items to the place where you’ll unpack them. If your luggage is all full with dirty clothes, put them right by the washing machine. Take your bag of toiletries to the bathroom. Bring your cooler to the kitchen. This prevents a huge pile of stuff in one room and makes it easier to sort through all of the vacation gear.
Occupy the Kids
It’s much easier to unpack when the kids are entertained. Once you get the vehicle unloaded, help your kids settle in. Take them to the bathroom. Get them a snack. Turn on a movie or get them started on an activity. If they’re tired, put them down for a nap. This gives you a chance to get started on the unpacking.
Don’t put off the unpacking too long. Start with things you’ll need that day, such as bathroom items. The bedtime routine will be much easier if you get all of those items back to their normal spots. Start working through the laundry. Empty out the cooler so any perishable foods can make it to the refrigerator.