Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Let's Just Unpack This...

Having 'got all my ducks in a row' in Norfolk, we are now back in Dorset, and I have unpacked things. I am really not at all fond of the phrase "let's unpack this" as used in business/school/church circles. People mean "let's analyse every component part of what has been said, and extract every last drop of meaning."  And sometimes it is so tedious! I have heard English teachers unpack a poem by conducting an in-depth forensic analysis of it. In a bizarre reversal of the situation in Silent Witness, where the post-mortem follows the crime, here it is the autopsy which kills any interest students may have had in the poem! Similarly I've endured preachers doing the same thing with Bible verses. 
My holiday unpacking is much simpler.
Here are my 10 simple tips which make the job easier.
1; begin by unloading everything from the car as soon as you get home.
2; pick up the post from the mat, put the kettle on, and sit down with a cup of tea to sort it all out. 95% of it is probably junk, put it straight in the recycling bin, and put the 'stuff needing action' in a safe place.
3; now sort any food which is in your luggage and put it away. The leftovers from self catering, the remains of your packed lunch/journey snacks, and any items you purchased whilst on holiday [like fancy jams, interesting bottles of drink...] While you are doing that, think about what you will be eating for your next meal, and defrost something/put the oven on/order a takeaway/whatever.
4; check the answerphone if you have one, just in case there is something which genuinely needs addressing. But in this day and age, people with an urgent need will usually find a way to reach you even when you are on holiday!
5; now empty out the suitcases, and put dirty washing in the laundry bin, and clean washing in the drawers, wardrobe - or maybe the ironing basket [I was able to wash clothes before I left, but prefer to iron when I get back]
6; put all other luggage in the right place- toiletries in the bathroom, electronics stuff in their proper places, with their chargers etc. Return keys, library books, purses, cards to their usual location in the home. Stick the cases under the bed, in the cupboard, up in the loft...but empty them completely then put them away.
7; if you have time, deal with the laundry, or ironing. If not, do it tomorrow. 
8; check emails. Perhaps. Personally I am not letting the Internet rule my life at the minute, so these can wait another day or so.
It is so tempting to leave it - to collapse in a heap and spend the next few days tripping over the suitcase on the bedroom floor and stubbing your toe on the bag of sundries in the hall downstairs. You say 'I will do it at the weekend - I am tired tonight, and back at work tomorrow'

I know this. I got myself into a state in February because I had mislaid something. I finally found it - in the front pocket of the small case I took to Albania in January, which was still in a corner of the bedroom, only 75% unpacked. I have, in the past, overlooked food items, which were tucked into corners of bags - and once unearthed, were well beyond being eaten. 
9; Finally check your google calendar/filofax/wallchart/personal organisation system to see what is happening in the rest of your week. Make a list of the important tasks. The holiday is over, and things are Back To Normal.
10; Now relax. This burst of activity as soon as you get home means you can now take it easy in the knowledge that the essential stuff is sorted, and you have pre-empted much of the stress which may come tomorrow. 
NB I appreciate that Mums with children have extra burdens. Train your kids to unpack and sort their own stuff, as soon as they can. I used to leave a set of clean clothes all ready before we went away, so I knew that on return there would be fresh stuff for us to put on. Work as a family - I'm grateful that Bob always helps with the post-holiday sorting [Liz and Steph used to do their share too, when they were at home] You don't want to lose the benefit of a break by being tired and frazzled once you get home again.
Be glad you could go away on holiday - and that you have a home to return to...


  1. Oh such wise words! I have to admit that these days one of the best bits of a holiday is getting home. And indulging in step 2. Several times.

  2. I always unpack after a swift cuppa but DH is always shattered from driving and has a nap. I always feel odd when we get home and, being aware of what needs doing the rest of the week, want to catch up. Besides, having sat in the car for some hours, my back' sin need of the exercise.

  3. The first time I met you (at a long ago Connexion weekend) I remember you telling us the story of one of your girls, a long trip, a rucksack and a banana...


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