We came home from camp over the weekend. Two sons were gone for two weeks, and one son and I were gone for one week. For the month leading up to camp we plan, dream and get excited, and we have a great time there. So we’re sad when it ends, and that sadness is compounded by the realities of ending a trip: by 9 am on check-out day, I need to pack up a week’s worth of stuff and clean my little cabin, then drive 3 miles and pick up the tired, slightly smelly Boy Scouts and their gear. Then we make the 3 hour drive home.
I’ve read articles recently for planning your vacation, but no one talks aboutorganizing the end of your trip. So let me be the first!
Before you leave:
- Tidy up the house and finish all the laundry. Here are two articles on that topic:
- http://colleencpo.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/did-you-remember-to-pack-the/ and
- Leave yourself frozen meals, or restaurant gift certificates to use upon your arrival (better yet, program the pizza place’s number into your phone, and pick up dinner on your way home!).
While still on vacation:
- Use a laundry bag while on vacation, keeping clean and dirty separate.
- Pack your stuff and luggage (and car, if you’re driving) with unpacking in mind, putting similar items together. Put your toiletries in one large bag, and take that bag straight to the bathroom to be unloaded. Our dirty laundry was in two large bags placed right inside the door of my van, to schlep to the laundry room ASAP.
Upon Arrival Home:
- Unload the car all the way. Yes, all the way. Laundry, apple cores and fast food wrappers really stink after a day. And it’s easier to get back into the swing of things when stuff is where it belongs.
- Start the first of many loads of laundry. My hubby is the coolest and handled lots of laundry when we got home!
Within a day:
- Unpack everything and put your stuff way. Yes, AWAY. Living in chaos makes the end-of-vacation blues even worse.
- Clean out and vacuum (I think we brought a pound of sand home from camp!) your luggage, then air it out for a day. Then store other luggage inside, and put it all away. Yes, AWAY.
- Keep your travel toiletry bag in your bathroom or linen closet, to collect samples and items for next time.
A day or two after:
- If you are gone for a week or more, schedule an extra day at the end of your trip for easing back into real life.
- If there is a time difference between home and your vacation destination, expect a day or two to re-adjust for sleeping, too.
- Finally, make a point to print your photos, and remember and share your good vacation times with loved ones. Don’t let the end-of-vacation blues taint your good memories!