Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Happy January, friends!
Many of you, much like myself, went traveling for the holidays. As military families, we frequently travel during our block leave periods because we don’t live near family. And while there are many tips for traveling, today I’d like to talk a bit about my ‘resetting’ tips. One of the stressful parts of going out of town is actually coming back and gearing back up for the chaos. In order for me to fully enjoy vacation, I have to be prepared to set myself up for success for work/school/etc as soon as I come home.
For reference, this year my husband and I packed up the kids (1&4YO) and drove about 11 hours to Lincoln, Nebraska to spend some time with my family for a few days. We thought driving through the night would be the best for the boys and our sanity. We were wrong. Coming back wasn’t much easier, honestly. But what always helps me regain sanity is following these steps to ‘resetting’ in a timely manner.
Resetting From Vacation:
1. Download the vehicle. Priorities are living creatures (the kids + dog for us), perishables, and toiletries. Those are the ONLY 3 things I focus on if we are getting in late. Then I move to step 2. However, if you are getting in at a decent time, download the entire vehicle. I generally have a grocery bag to pull out all of the trash at the same time so the truck is one step closer to being clean.
2. Get everyone settled. At night, this usually means putting the boys to bed & letting the dog out. During the day, it’s making sure all diapers are changed, kids and pets are fed, and they’ve found an activity to keep them occupied while you finish downloading.
3. START A LOAD OF LAUNDRY. Right now. If you’re like us, you’ll have a ton of laundry and not enough time to get it all done. I focus on work and school clothes first along with anything soiled, then move on to each person’s laundry.
4. Put away perishables, snacks, and toiletries so they are ready that evening.
5. While laundry is going, pull out the next work/school day’s clothes/uniforms/necessities (for us, this is blankets/diapers/wipes for the boys). If you are on a time crunch, ensure you do this before you finish unpacking. This will make the next (already stressful) day back a little easier on everyone. At this time, also ensure all wallets, phones, and keys are in their proper places so they are easy to find in the morning.
6. Grab gas! I can’t explain to you how stressful being low on gas can be. If you can get it on the way in, great! Otherwise, don’t try to roll into the new week with a half tank in hopes of making it. It’s worth it to stay up a little bit later grabbing gas to reduce stress the rest of the week.
7. Finish unloading + unpacking, continue laundry (does laundry ever stop?). Pack suitcases/bags away so they aren’t laying out every time you walk into the house. And pat yourself on the back, because you’re done!
Pro-tips (for those who are just amazing) :
1. Meal plan on the way home and hit up the grocery store en route home so you don’t have to do it later. We didn’t do this on the way home from Nebraska because we were in my husband’s Chevy Silverado with two car seats, one Husky, all our clothes, blankets, snacks and Christmas presents and didn’t have room. However, on other long weekend trips, we managed to run to Publix so we didn’t have to fit it in later. If you live somewhere bigger, instacart is your best friend.
2. Prep work laundry before you leave so you aren’t doing it when you get home. I personally don’t bring my uniforms when I go on vacation, so I ensure they are all clean and set up with my belt and patches before I even leave. Then I only have to focus on vacation laundry. [pro-pro-tip: do laundry WHILE on vacation so you only have about one load!]
3. If you have a car vacuum, do a quick swipe after you clean out the vehicle. I just got one for Christmas and it’s alleviated clutter/kid snack anxiety for when I get into my truck! BONUS!
What works for you when you get home from vacation? Let us know!