About that summer vacation we just planned and packed for. How many times have you arrived back from vacation just to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done getting life back to normal? How long have you continued to live out of your suitcase for a week after your return?
This summer, when you get home, put away everything the same day. If you happen to arrive home in the middle of the night, do it first thing in the morning. I know it seems overwhelming but I promise your transition back to the daily grind will be so much nicer if you aren't dealing with remnants of your vacation.
Take one hour to do the following:
1. Set the timer for 15 minutes (20-30 minutes if mom & dad need to unpack the kids stuff) and have everyone set off to their own room to unpack their stuff.
2. Throw in a load of laundry. If you think of it beforehand, designate a dirty laundry bag on your trip. Instead of having everyone repack their own suitcases with their own clothes, designate one bag to be the dirty laundry bag. As soon as you unload the car, take that bag to the laundry room and throw it all in to wash. (better yet, if you are staying with family or friends do laundry the night before your departure & come home with clean clothes.)
3. Sit down at the table for a quick break and an easy snack (microwave popcorn, a few pieces of fruit or cheese & crackers are good choices). Sitting at the table is key for this. If you let yourselves get comfortable on the couch in front of the tv you'll be unlikely to get back up.
4. Set the timer for another 15-30 minutes (depending on whether your kids can help and how much stuff you packed) and get to work putting everything else away.
I'll be surprised if your travel gear isn't entirely unpacked and put away after this hour (aside from what's churning away in the washing machine). If this one hour vacation reboot doesn't leave you with everything put away you'll be darn close. And you'll be able to get back to your life with a sense of peace.