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Post-Holiday Clean Up and Organisation

We got back on Sunday from a wonderful, week-long camping trip to Monkey Mia and Kalbarri. It was a great family trip, filled with moments like these:

Happy Snaps Collage

But this isn’t a happy-snappy post-holiday slideshow. Nope, it’s about the downside of holidays – cleaning up and getting organised when you get back home.

I once read a post about putting on a load of washing as soon as you walk in the door and put everything away before you go to bed. I wish I had the energy for that! This is the realistic guide to post-vacation clean up and organisation:

12 Steps to Post-Vacation Organisation
Image Source: Suitcase by jasleen_kaur. Creative Commons Attribution

  1. Dirty clothes to the laundry. Depending on the time you get home, maybe throw a load in the washing machine… (I had to this time due to a few toilet training mishaps from both kids – the festering, soiled clothes HAD to be dealt with straight away – the job certainly wasn’t going to improve with time…)
  2. Food items to the kitchen. I like to travel with a LOT of snacks for the kids, just in case. There’s always leftovers to return to the kitchen. Camping leads to more food, such as breakfast cereal, oil, butter etc to put away. If you’ve got the energy, put it all away. If not, get the perishables in the fridge and leave the other items on the kitchen bench for later.
  3. Toiletries bag to the bathroom. Unpack it if you want, or leave it to unpack as you use things over the next day or so.
  4. Have a shower. It doesn’t matter where I stayed, how far I travelled or how long ago I had a shower, I always feel grimy when I get home. The job of tidying up can wait until I’ve freshened up and put on a clean set of clothes.
  5. Unworn/clean clothes to the bedrooms. Depending on how much you have to deal with, just make sure the clean clothes get to the right room. This time around, the clothes got thrown on the desks in the kids’ bedrooms and a pile on the floor in our room. Sure, it only takes a few more minutes to get them put away properly, but I go with the 80-20 rule. Get things mostly put away and then deal with the details throughout the week (and if you’re lucky, the kids will put things away themselves – ha, not likely with a 4yo and 2yo!).
  6. Pile up all the other stuff in one location. Preferably not near the front door, which is what we did – man, I hate seeing clutter as soon as I walk in the door. Actually, maybe that’s a good thing – more motivation to put it away! In the one spot is better than having little disaster zones spread through the whole house.
  7. Grab a cuppa or go to bed! Go and relax. Travel takes it out of you. Sit back with a cup of tea and think about your happy holiday memories.
  8. Time to get back on track! Find a home for the souvenirs. Hopefully you knew where you were going to put them when you bought them. I’m a big fan of useful souvenirs, although this time, we also bought artwork where I knew exactly where I was going to hang them.
  9. Download your photos and back them up. You don’t want to lose those holiday snaps – make sure they’re saved in 2 locations – on your PC, on a back-up drive and/or in the cloud.
  10. What’s left? Phone chargers, camera, travel guides – put them back in their homes, as you find time.
  11. When everything’s (more-or-less) in the right spot, tip out any dirt or sand(my kids find a way to bring back a small sandpit whenever we travel!) , give your bags a quick clean and store them away.
  12. Get everything put back into the proper drawers and cupboards as you go about your normal routine over the next few days.

That’s my way of dealing with the post-holiday chaos. In summary, get things back to the right room at least as quickly as possible, then sort out the details in the next few days. And don’t forget to look after yourself – holidays are tiring as well as relaxing. Don’t kill yourself as soon as you walk in the door!

What’s your post-vacation routine?

One Comment

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