How I unpack after a trip

It’s about the piles


I arrive home exhausted, jet lagged, dehydrated, exhilarated, weary, inspired. Immediately, a hot shower then a cup of tea, spiked with something strong, in bed.

Whilst I pack meticulously for travel, I unpack in a surprising way, at least for me.

I open the carry-on suitcase and a second smaller carry-on bag and empty out all the contents on the floor.  Boom.

If I don’t do that, the luggage will stay full and intimidating, things waiting to be peeled off one by one “when I have the time.”  Which will be never. Because who wants to unpack?  Every single thing needs to be considered and put into its place.

I empty it all out on the floor and go to bed.  In the morning, I put away the suitcases that have been airing out all night.  The trip is officially over.

Then I start sorting into piles.  The piles are the key concept here.

1.  The dirty laundry pile is the easiest pile.  Don’t have to think about it.  Once all the dirty laundry is together, I disappear it to the laundry room.  The only thing I like to multi task these days is washing clothes whilst I am doing other things.  I adore the industrious lull of the washing machine.

2.  The travel objects pile.  This is an easy one too — all the things I use only for travel. The neck pillow, eye shade, passport, currencies, (I put each currency in a separate baggie and label it) travel umbrella and raincoat, travel wallet, travel grocery bag (the tiny nylon bag that squishes into nothing).  It all goes into a special travel drawer in my closet.

3.  The clean clothes and shoes. Once that pile is complete, I put away each piece one by one. The shoes, brushed, shoe tree-ed and put away. The scarves steamed for a fresh up and then folded away.

4.  The purchases. Into the gift drawer if they are gifts for later, or into the kitchen if they are the type of thing I bring back for me:  a pot of fleur de sel, a German gadget, a Swiss kitchen towel.

5.  The miscellaneous.   Earphones, toiletries, chargers, a book or travel brochures picked up along the way.

And suddenly it is done  without feeling disheartened or grumpy.

Lots of tea to rehydrate and lots of what I do when I return from a trip.  One of the most important things is to understand my packing mistakes, something I didn’t use.  Judging the weather properly is the trickiest thing.  This is where layering can save you.  In the end,  you can buy whatever you need locally, even if its snow boots or a parka.

How do you unpack from a trip?  All tips and experiences welcome!

xo Liza

P.S.  Here’s a SUPER website  for travelers!  Her Packing List.


Hello my lovelies.  Back from my #adultspringbreak and oh so happy to be here again with you.  Our community would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below.  I would love a “like” or a “share” via the clever buttons below.  And if you haven’t already, please enter your email above so you won’t miss a thing.  



3 thoughts on “How I unpack after a trip

  1. Since we travel a lot, we have a pretty good system for the unpacking, although it does not involve dumping things on the floor (because then I’d have to bend down to pick all that up again!). We have a trunk in the middle of our walk-in-closet that serves for packing and unpacking. It is a comfortable height to put a suitcase or even two on, and the dirty clothes hamper, hangers, shoe racks, clothing storage areas, etc. are all within a couple of steps. Even the suitcases themselves are stored on the top shelves of the same closet and the “travel items” you mentioned are stored in the trunk itself. We often unpack immediately upon arriving at the house, unless, of course, it is very late or we are severely jetlagged. We are usually fully unpacked no more than 24 hours after arrival because, if we get lazy, as you say, it might be another week before we can get the suitcases out of the way, diminishing the post-trip “glow”, in a big way. The most important thing, I think, is to take only that which is strictly necessary and to purchase only a few small items, even if it is a month-long trip to exotic places.

  2. Sounds great and more orderly than my method. I will see what I can do about it…ha ha. Your last comment about taking very little in the first place…AMEN! I always say that you should hate your clothes by the time you get home…then you know you’ve packed correctly.

  3. After reading all your private messages…why so shy? I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to unpack…is to pack correctly in the first place. Very little means little to put away. Until the next trip!

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