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Make Unpacking From a Family Trip a Snap!

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I love family vacations. I really do. Up until I get home and have all of the laundry and all the unpacking from a family of 10 to take care of. In fact, I usually find myself wondering if it was all even worth it.

After all, you spend all this time getting ready for the vacation and then all this time undoing the vacation that you really start to question yourself. By the way, you can read about how I pack for a family trip without stress HERE. You can also find my master family packing list HERE. Both of these are systems I use to get ready for a family vacation that you are not going to want to miss.

But, what about the unpacking? Does it have to be a nightmare?

I am a girl of systems. Actually, love them. I think creating effective systems and implementing them is something that I have had to master as my family has grown to include eight children as of this writing. With so many people coming and going, so many events and activities, and so much stuff, systems have been something that I have been forced to master for sanity’s sake.

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As I write this I am getting ready for another trip. This time it will just be me and two of my kids, but implementing the tips and tricks I share in packing and preparing for a trip is a key to maintaining my sanity.

And, it is as I pack that I am already preparing to make unpacking from a family trip less stressful. I pack with unpacking in mind.


Just keep reading.

This is how you can make unpacking from a family trip a snap!

family trip

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As I mentioned, this system starts before you actually leave because you must start here:

Pack in several separate bags

You can use packing cubes like this. These work awesome.

Or, you can just use smaller bags or totes, or, you can just use plastic bags or ziplock bags. I pack a bag for each individual person, and their clothes are packed in outfits.

What does this have to do with unpacking?

Because you have all these separate bags with you. This means that you will strategically pack things up to come home, which will make the unpacking part a breeze.


As you pack up, pack things in the separate totes or bags in groups

This means shoes all get packed up together. Bathroom things get put in a bag. Kids toys get put in a bag. The idea is that however you will need to put things away when you get home is how you want to pack your stuff up. Make it as easy as you can on yourself when you get home.

Sort your dirty clothes as though you are sorting them for doing laundry

Put all your darks together and put them in a bag. Put your lights together and put them all in a different bag (or bags when you have a supersize family like I do).

Here, you can see all my separate bags of laundry. They are all sorted and lined up, ready to go into the washer.


Pack things that your kids can take care of on their own separately

Young kids can help put things way when they get home. Use a bag for each one of your kids, and fill it with things that they can put away on their own. Oftentimes this would mean their stuff.

Label if you can

Label your separate bags that aren’t obvious. This is generally the case when packing up bags for your kids to take care of. My three little boys get a bag with their name on it. That way we can just take it out of the suitcase and hand it right to them to take care of.

Pack smart

Put some of your sorted laundry in your luggage in such a way that you can grab one load of stuff right when you get home. I literally walk through the door and start a load of laundry within two minutes because it is sorted and right on top. There is something that is so empowering about getting the really yucky part about coming home from a trip started right away. It is like you are already on top of the unpacking wave.

Family trips are great, but they can be stressful, too. Packing smart is the name of the game, and when packing to come home, it all starts before you even leave home by making sure you’ve got enough bags, cubes, to pack smart.


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