We just came back from a wonderful week of vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina. As always, we came home with a car full of stuff to be unpacked and put away, and we were greeted by a mountain of mail on the counter. We had spent 9.5 hours on the road, because we had to dodge flooded areas in South Carolina. Needless to say we were both very tired. We could have just brought everything inside, plopped down on the sofa telling ourselves we would get to it the next day. But, I chose not to do that.
I am one of those strange people who is really uncomfortable with disorder. Packed suitcases, bags, and coolers feel like clutter to me. I just cannot relax when they are strewn around my space. In their presence I feel like I am still traveling, like I am not really home yet.
So, I resisted the urge to crash in front of the TV. I did that by reminding myself how wonderful it would feel to have the house in order again. I unpacked everything, including the groceries we’d picked up on the way home. I started a wash. I went through the mail. By the time I’d finished I had re-established order and felt good knowing what bills I had to pay and other personal business I would need to attend to at a later date. It took me 1.5 hours to get everything done. Then I put my feet up, and there was nothing niggling at me.
Clutter niggles. It talks to you and makes it hard to fully relax. Having suitcases that are unpacked keep you traveling, make it impossible to be fully home. You may be crashed on the sofa, but part of your nervous system is aware that something is incomplete, something needs to be done.
With my house restored to order I was able to relax on the sofa, get a good night’s sleep, and get up the next day and get right to work. There were no clutter obstacles. There was the peace of having my home and life in order, of being home. It was a great launching pad for leaping back into work that needed to be done.
If your habit is to postpone unpacking, try unpacking as soon as you get home. Notice how long it takes. Notice how you feel when you are done. Notice your process of getting back into your life. A few minutes of doing something you’d rather resist (unpacking) can yield a much easier and more productive transition from traveling to real life.