Unpacking Your Suitcase

(First, an apology. I made several spelling and grammar errors in my last post. I thought I had been thorough in my editing, but apparently not enough. I apologize for the errors. The post on my website has been corrected. Thank you for your patience.)

For most of us the end of a trip leaves us tired and unpacking the suitcase is just another chore. However, if you put a little thought into your unpacking you will be more organized the next time you pack.

As you unpack your bags put each item in one of four piles. (Items you bought on this trip can be set aside. These piles are for items you brought with you):

  • Items you used often
  • Items you used once
  • Items you never used
  • Items that need to be replaced

Once your bags are empty set them aside and look at your piles. The easiest one to start with contain those items that need to be replaced. Perhaps you need more travel toiletries. Perhaps your pill container needs to be refilled. Replace these items right now if you can, or make a list of what needs to be purchased. That way you are ready for your next trip and are not shopping at the last minute.

Now we’ll look at the pile of items you only used once. How many of them were necessary? Would you have missed the item if you didn’t have it? Place each item in either the “use often” pile or the “never used” pile, depending on what your answer is. Great. Now you only have two piles left.

Look at the “never used” pile. Why did you not use these items? Why did you think you were going to use these items? For my trip to Walt Disney World I had packed an entire outfit that I didn’t wear. It was a fancy outfit that I had planned to wear to California Grill. I actually ended up wearing a new shirt that I bought in the parks. Next time I will leave the fancy outfits at home and save myself some space in my suitcase. Make a note of whatever items you never used and leave that list in your suitcase. When you go to pack next time you’ll be reminded of what you can leave at home.

Now for the “used often” pile. “Why do you use these items so often? What made them so convenient? Were they comfortable, useful, or necessary? Make notes of what items worked and why, and add that list to your suitcase.

This sounds like a lot of work, but it is as easy as unpacking your bags, which you have to do anyway. Plus, you’ll be better prepared the next time you pack. Eventually when you unpack your suitcase you’ll only have two piles, “used often” and “repair”. And that is happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: Before you put your suitcase away check to make sure it is good condition. I pulled out an overnight bag and discovered that that shoulder strap needed to be sewed back on. I had to pick another bag because I didn’t have time to repair it. Had I repaired it at the end of the last trip it would have been ready for this trip.