Tag Archives: travel

Clear Travel Clutter for Peace and Productivity

We just came back from a wonderful week of vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina. As44883952_s 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.

Travel Re-Entry — A Grounding and Clutter Clearing Opportunity

Travel creates clutter. There are suitcases to unpack, clothes and toiletries to be put away, IMG_2394papers associated with travel details, souvenirs accumulated. Getting ready for the trip can be hard enough, making sure you pack all you think you’ll need during your time away. But, unpacking and restoring order post travel is much more difficult. After all, the excitement and anticipation of a trip can motivate packing. But, what provides motivation for unpacking?

Why has my brain landed on this subject? I’m just back from the vacation of a lifetime, a trip to New Mexico for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. It was a magical, spiritual and fun experience beyond words. Therefore, re-entry has been VERY difficult. I didn’t want to leave the pleasure and freedom I experienced during that week with Bob, my husband, and Pattie Toad, my best friend since age 16. So, as is my habit when I’m struggling emotionally, I’ve been watching myself navigate this uncomfortable re-entry process.


Debbie & Bob

I could have just gone to ground — dropped my suitcase, backpack, purse and hit the sofa, ignoring the need to unpack. If I had followed the direction of my feelings (sadness, anger, irritability), that’s just what I would have done. But, instead I used my swirling feelings to motivate action to resist parking on the sofa indefinitely and kept thinking about how much better I would feel when I was unpacked and really home (based on my memory of past experiences).


Debbie and Pattie Toad

When you’re not unpacked, you aren’t home yet. You aren’t grounded in your current life. Your bags and associated papers hold the energy of the trip in place — a past event. Your space and your brain are cluttered with things and thoughts associated with the travel. It’s hard to be present, productive, back on track in your life and moving forward when the things around you keep you stuck in the past.

Over time I’ve developed the habit of unpacking and creating order within the first 24 hours of returning home. It helps me get grounded physically, mentally and emotionally. My work with clients has taught me that many people have a very different habit. They drop their suitcases and immediately launch back into their lives. Spewing suitcases take up residence in bedrooms and mail goes unopened. I’m sure it’s due to the ho hum, boring aspect of unpacking. But, I also wonder if part of the reason for not unpacking and fully landing back in real life is also a function of not planning enough time for re-entry.

The saving grace of my re-entry from my Albuquerque trip is that I scheduled a day off after we arrived back home. That day provided me with time to unpack and re-establish basic order in my home which made it possible to work through my unsettled feelings and prepare myself to step back into the roles and responsibilities I’d set aside while on vacation. When I did return to work the following day, not only was my home in pretty good shape, but so too was my mood and attitude.

So, having just experienced the benefit of my day off post balloon-heaven, I offer you this travel strategy to prevent physical, mental and emotional post-travel clutter.

Strategy: Schedule an extra day off following a trip, especially a major trip, to unpack, clear travel clutter, and get grounded in your life. Make unpacking and grounding yourself a priority on that day.