You’ve just spent the last nine days relaxing on a tropical beach filled with white sand, bright sunshine, clear water, and blue skies. You’re feeling oh-so relaxed and happy. Life is good! You pick up your glass to take a sip of your favorite cooling beverage, when suddenly, it hits you … you will have to board a plane tomorrow and go back home to reality. Sigh.
While coming back home after a vacation is unavoidable, the experience doesn’t have to be painful. In this post, I offer a few post vacation home organization tips to help you get your mind and belongings back in order after a relaxing vacation.
Prepare a Post Vacation Home Organization Memo
Does it always seem like getting back into your daily routine after vacation is a struggle? You can make things easier by leaving a few key notes for your future post vacation self. This memo doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal. It’s just a helpful at-a-glance tool to help you get back into the swing of things. Before leaving for vacation, open your calendar and carefully review your post vacation meetings and appointments.
Then, on a small piece of paper, note down the top five things you must keep in mind on your return. Tape your memo to your planner, on a calendar, or the fridge. All you have to do is take a glance at the memo upon your return, and you’ll be one step ahead.
Add a Few Extra Days to Your Vacation
It may be tempting to book an international vacation, fly home, and start work the next day. Sure, you may be “saving” a couple of vacation or personal days for yourself, but at what cost? A vacation is meant to help you unwind and relax, not stress you out!
You still have to deal with your everyday responsibilities when you get back, so why not enjoy your vacation as long as possible, and get back into things slowly? To prolong that calm, cool, and collected vacation feeling, consider taking an extra day or two at home before going back to work.
Unpack As Soon As Possible
While it’s probably the last thing on your mind, unpacking your luggage and bags should be one of your top post vacation home organization priorities when you arrive back.
Yes, it will take a while, and maybe all you really want is another cup of coffee before you get up and put things away. But look at it this way: would you rather take care of your luggage now, when your schedule is relatively light and flexible, or would you rather do it when your schedule is super busy and is in full swing? Unpack your luggage within a day or two of your arrival home. It will be out of your way and you won’t have to think twice about it.
Here’s a short list of things you can do when you unpack to keep your home neat and tidy:
- Unpack your bags and throw dirty laundry in the hamper or washing machine
- Prep and return your travel bags to storage
- Unpack toiletries and return to the bathroom, vanity, or bedroom
- Unpack your passport or visa and store in a safe place
- Upload digital photos right away so you can accurately identify people, places, and things from your trip while your memory of the vacation is still fresh
Block Out Time to Take Care of Errands and Chores
Returning home to the daily grind means attending to all those household basics: buying food, doing laundry, processing postal mail, email and voicemail, and getting back in touch with family, friends, and even pets. Just like your post-vacation luggage, those household chores aren’t going anywhere, so it’s best to address them as soon as possible.
To make sure you take care of items in a timely fashion, block out small chunks of time in your calendar over the first few days upon your return. These blocks can be 15, 20, 30, or 45 minutes, or longer, if need be. Drop in one chore or errand in each block of time, and work your way through each block of time.
Here’s a few errands and chores to add to your list:
- Go to the supermarket or drugstore to replenish food, household or personal items
- Wash, dry, and fold laundry
- Collect and process postal mail, including bills, notices, announcements, etc.
- Check and reset voicemail and email, return urgent calls and emails, make notes to follow up with less urgent requests
- Catch up and spend time with family and friends
By keeping these post vacation home organization tips in mind before you go away you’ll be able to enjoy yourself even more and not have to worry about things descending into stressful chaos when you return.