As far as I’m convinced, if you’re reading this post, there are only two possible reasons: either you’re a regular reader of this site and clicked on the latest post, or you’re suffering from the same neurotic inability to unpack that I am and googled for help…thus landing here.

Because really, when you think about it, nobody needs a how-to article about how to un-pack. Packing, yes. Unpacking, not so much. It’s a simple process after all, and it goes something like this:

Step 1: Take stuff out of suitcase.

Step 2: Place items in laundry hamper, bathroom, closet or storage.

Step 3: Well there is no step three – the process is that simple. You’re Done.

But if it really is so simple, then why does my bedroom floor look like this?


My bedroom floor.

This, my friends is my post-vacation dumping ground. Where I put my luggage after I get back from a trip. And where it stays until…well, until nothing. It’s just where it stays.

The most embarrassing part of all of this is that what you see is actually the partially un-packed remnants of not one, but three separate trips – the most recent of which was a week ago and the oldest of which was last December (yes, that’s about eight months ago).

For my husband, this is all an amusing game to see which trip’s stuff I’ll unpack first. For me, it’s starting to become a symptom of an irrational disorder we’ll call unpackaphobia.

Now, I should point out that this is highly unusual behavior for someone like myself. I am a self-professed neat freak and I hate clutter. I can’t even start work if the bed’s not made. So naturally, the unpacked luggage on the floor is a distressing degeneration of order that is indicative of deep psychological disturbance.

What are the symptoms? Well, there’s:

1. Using a different piece of luggage each time I travel so I don’t have to unpack the previous piece.

2. Cleaning the grime off the luggage rather than unpacking it so it doesn’t collect grime in the first place (I admit, I used the vacuum cleaner dust attachment to suck up the dust bunnies that had gathered on and around the bags without sucking up the travel gear itself).

3. Shifting the luggage around the room so I can make way for my yoga mat then shifting the luggage back in place when I’m done.

4. We’ll just stop at three, shall we, so you don’t think I’m completely crazy.

But anyway, enough about me. This article is intended for you – to teach you how to unpack.

So here it is:

Step 1: Unpack your luggage the moment you walk in the door. This is key. It doesn’t matter if your eyes are watering from jetlag and exhaustion, if you want to avoid unpackaphobia, you must unpack immediately. Any part of my luggage that has ever been unpacked was due to it being unpacked the moment I arrived home. So do not wait until the next day. Do not even sit down. Hesitate and all hope is lost.

Step 2: Put your belongings in the laundry hamper, bathroom, closet or storage.

Step 3: Congratulate yourself on maintaining your sanity.

Trust me when I say for the love of God, follow those three steps. Because if you don’t, there’s no 12 step program to save you.

N.B. Before you go wild in the comments, I should note that most of the stuff lying in my “pile” is actually paper clutter (receipts, travel documents, foreign newspapers & magazines etc.) and general travel nick-nacks (labels, locks, souvenirs and the like) – definitely not dirty laundry, to be clear!  I think we can all relate to paper cluttering up our lives, right? And just so you know, after I wrote this post, I finally did muster up the motivation to unpack… so I guess there is one solution to unpackaphobia after all: public humiliation!