Are you a clutter bug? Are you a souvenir junkie? When you bring more stuff home, it adds to the clutter you already have in your house. Decluttering looks like an unnecessary addition to your list of to-dos when you feel exhausted, but your trip away also informs you of what you need and don’t need in your life. It’s time to take that perspective and re-evaluate your space. From unpacking to taking care of items around the house, here are a few smart things to declutter after traveling.
Your travel basics are likely the same as your everyday basics. Why keep a bunch of clothes around that you will never use or use once every five years?
Raid your seasonal clothes and donate what you don’t use or rarely use. That includes fancy travel clothes that don’t serve a real purpose. Say goodbye to the sub-zero coat and too expensive cover-ups you never wear to the beach when you pack them. Stop vowing only to pack what you will wear instead of those just-in-case clothing items — donate the extras. That also applies to your beloved shoe collection!
Is your luggage too bulky or about to fall apart? Do you have too many options to choose from for different kinds of trips?
It’s time to downsize and declutter after traveling — get rid of the travel luggage and bags that you don’t use. Each family member gets one piece, and you can hang on to one or two larger pieces of luggage if a family member travels more often than the others. Maybe all you really need is a backpack.
Do you live in the dinosaur age? Most travel guides and books now take the form of helpful apps and blogs. All you need is a good device connection to bring the info you need up.
So, ditch the travel maps and books. Use this time to go through your book collection and tackle those leaning book towers. Take the books to a used bookstore and see if you can sell them to save up for your next trip. Recycle any extra paper menus or pamphlets you also collected during your travels.
Did you supplement your toiletry bag with Ziplocs, and do you really need to take all that makeup with you on your trips? Declutter after traveling by tossing out cotton swabs, balls and the like. Go through old bags and empty them.
Did you kidnap a few hotel shampoo bottles and other toiletries? Check the expiration dates on your older products at home, from shampoo to makeup, and toss what’s outdated. Reduce your collection. Get rid of the old stash of miniature travel sized shampoos and conditioners. They’re cute and hold memories, but old products are gross.
Replace containers that don’t travel well any longer. Spills happen and can ruin your products, clothes and travel experiences. Wash out your containers and replace the old ones with newer screw top travel containers which reduce risks of spills. You may not want to give up the suction cups on your silicon flip-top containers, but what do you want more — convenience or no spills?
Here’s an upside to decluttering after traveling — you can declutter your to-do list. What items really need doing on the list, and what’s a true waste of time? Instead of shopping for more paper towels, perhaps you decided to go green and use cloth napkins. Instead of putting up all those clothes you packed, you turn your old travel bag into a donation bag for unused clothes.
Finish off the rest of the to-do list as a part of your transition back home. Unpack your clothes and run a load of laundry if you need. Look at your to-do list strategically, and organize it by priorities for the week versus today. Organize it in a way that will keep you engaged. Include a few self-care items, such as taking a long hot bath and fixing yourself a nice dinner or ordering a pizza.
Traveling makes you realize how little you can live with and what you can’t live without. Declutter after traveling to simplify your life and make future traveling easier.