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Quick Tip – helping kids unpack from a trip

Popping in with a quick tip today!  Really quick since I’ve already stayed up WAY too late watching the season finale of HGTV Star (had it recorded and have been dying to see who won!).  I need to get over my HGTV addiction.  And my Pinterest addiction.  And my Container Store addiction.  And my turkey sandwich addiction.  And maybe while I’m at it I’ll get over my planner addiction.  
But that’s a story for another day.  
For now I’m sharing a quick tip on how to help your little ones unpack their own suitcase after a trip.  In an organized way of course.  :)  If you say to kids (especially young kids) after returning home from a trip “go and unpack your bag” they usually don’t make much progress.  I know this because of the countless times I’ve told my girls to “go and unpack your bag” and have witnessed them do nothing more than dump their clothes on the ground and maybe move them around a bit.  The reason this often happens is because they are overwhelmed by the task (or because they just don’t want to work.  But for the sake of sounding like a great mom who’s kids LOVE hard work, I’ll give them {and me} the benefit of the doubt and say that they must be overwhelmed).  So I taught them a simple way to unpack.  This is actually how I pack and unpack my own clothes for a trip and how I sort laundry.  

I have my girls take their clothes out of their suitcase and put them into piles.  Time to categorize!  All dresses in a pile.  All skirts.  Then pajamas (here’s where I always wonder why we have a bigger pile of pj’s than we do clothes?).  Swimsuits go in their own pile… and so on and so forth.  It is much easier for my kids to categorize everything first.  It breaks the chore down into a more manageable task.  Then they can get to work putting away their piles.

Here’s a pic of Ad I snapped while she was unpacking from our Utah trip last week.  Once she has her clothes in piles she can grab some hangers and hang each group of clothes up together.  Our drawers and closets are organized the same way (like clothes are grouped together) so once the clothes are in piles, it’s a breeze to put everything away.  
 Skirt pile simply gets placed in the skirt drawer.  

 Shirts are hung in the shirt section of the closet.  
 Dresses with the dresses.  
You get the idea.  

 This way our closets and drawers stay organized and unpacking is a piece of cake!

When I do laundry, I have my girls do the same thing.  I give them a pile of their clean clothes and they take the pile to their rooms and separate them into categories before they put them away.  Such a simple thing to teach your kids to do, but by breaking the task down into manageable pieces (or should I say piles?) it doesn’t feel so overwhelming and the task actually gets done.

In an organized manner no less.  
Most of the time.  
xoxo, Erin
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19 thoughts on “Quick Tip – helping kids unpack from a trip

  1. This sounds great and very manageable, but how do you come home with clean clothes? When we unpack, almost everything goes right to the laundry area, so it is very simple.

  2. I was thinking the same but then I assume she was probably at her mom’s and could wash before she came home! ;) Mine unpacks his bag and puts the clothes in the washing machine for me!

  3. Thanks everyone! Most trips are to visit family so yes – I use my mom’s washing machine and do laundry while we’re gone. But if I come home with dirty clothes the kids do the same thing with their clean laundry. :)

    Reenie – I’ll have to check those out!

  4. Great idea (as I’m unpacking from a trip where it was kind of all thrown into the suitcase!). I’m such a fan of breaking things into small steps, increments! Soon on our way to see Mary Popppins in St. George :).

  5. Hi Karen! I bought the girls’ suitcases at Pottery Barn Kids a couple of years ago. We have LOVED them. Great quality and so fun!

  6. Erin just curious I see in the last picture the left side with the totes. There is a tote that says wooden park? With a wood tree in it. Would love to know where you got it from? I love wooden toys for my girls! Love all your great tips!!

  7. Ha – this post is so timely Erin – we flew home late last night and I took the girls’ cabin bags (we travelled light for only a few days away) to their rooms around midday and asked them to make a start…and then forgot about it (ie. got busy with laundry etc!) until bedtime when I saw clean floors – and realised they’d done it all themselves! They got big hugs for that! Isn’t it great when they get big enough to help and enjoy helping out? Long may it last! xx

  8. P.S. I got a giggle out of your “organised manor” typo…a good name if you need one for a new blog in your new house perhaps??! :)

  9. Great idea! I have everything organized by outfit for my boys, but my older son is getting too old for “outfits”. This gives me inspiration to organize his closet now. Thanks so much Erin!!

  10. What a great way to keep little ones organized. I think it would even work for young teens, who tend to lose their sense of organization when they get busy. I like the system of creating piles.

  11. Thanks so much everyone!

    Julie – yes! suitcase on wheels. :)

    Julie #2 :) – Nice! Ha ha… I’ll have to change “manor” on my post – but you are right! What a great title! :)

    Roxanne – thank you! That little wooden park was a gift from Kenny’s parents years ago for Christmas. Sorry I don’t know where it’s from! But I love wooden toys too. :)

  12. I was seriously thinking, what? Unpacking clothes to put away? We just come home and through everything in the hamper. But heck I can’t even get my kids to put their clean clothes away on a regular day!

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