I hope for all of you that a summer of traveling meant long, luxurious days basking in the sun on a remote island, sipping martinis while being massaged by Ryan Gossling. For most of us however, the marker for a great summer vacay is everyone home in one piece. You’ve battled the security lines and delays, found the lost tickets and fixed the broken flip-flops. You swam with the dolphins and took the kids to the beach. You managed the hotels and avoided the smelly egg lady on the plane. Job well done! There’s just one more thing on your to-do list. If you’re replaying the theme from Jaws in your head before unpacking, I’d like to offer a few tips:

Don’t Delay – I know what you’re thinking. You’re exhausted, you’re hungry, and you’re sunburned. All you want to do is get home, put your feet up and watch re-runs of The Mindy Project before falling asleep in the familiar comfort of your own bed. STOP! Before you climb into bed, employ this one simple rule for returning home from a trip: Unpack immediately! The fact is, you’re already running on adrenaline, and you’ve made it home safely. The extra time you put into unpacking your bags, is well worth the effort. The truth is, it takes way less time than you think.

Empty your suitcase – In other words, take everything out and put your suitcases away. I like this approach, because I know how easy it is to let my neatly packed suitcases sit for days. If you’re like my husband, you’re dusting them off before your next trip. Have you ever noticed how many times you look at those bags, and think, “man, I really need to tackle that.” Then the next day, you look at the bags again, and think, “wow, I really need to tackle that.” The problem is, we inevitably expend more energy thinking about the unpacking, than it takes to actually unpack. Am I right? Get in the habit of taking everything out, and putting away the travel bags first.

Find a home for everything – Once you’ve emptied your bags, it’s time to deal with all your gear. If you’re a naturally organized type A, everything will have a pre-labeled container and go right to it’s designated home. If you’re like most of us, you see a pile of stuff and don’t know where to begin. Use this opportunity to create a system for keeping your things organized. Holly Martin, of, came up with a genius solution for storing my summer gear. A simple bin, clearly labeled “sunny vacation” holds everything from fins to floaties, while a “snowy vacation” bin is home to ski boots and mittens.

Create a gift archive – It’s often true, that summer travel brings us to cool an unusual places. While I tend to encourage people to gift a shared experience, it’s often the case that nothing says I love you like a monogrammed hat or Fijian fertility stick. To avoid the loss or misplacement of those special souvenirs, creating a designated space for gifts will ensure the safety your treasures. A pantry or bookshelf is a great place to start.

Welcome home and happy unpacking!

BNeatoBar2c_BcmykAbout this blog: Space. Finding more of it isn’t always easy. That’s why each Wednesday at Bneato Bar, we try our darndest to give you more space all while helping you K.I.T. (aka keep it together).

Image via vacations-in

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