How do you return home from a long trip? I have a friend who returns, puts his ditty bag in the bathroom, hangs up his suits, tosses his dirties in the laundry/dry cleaning bags, and goes on about his business. For me, it is a process:
- I accessed the damage – a struggling suitcase gave its all so to the trash with it; a shoulder bag popped a strap and a cocktail dress needs an embellishment repaired so to the seamstress with them; and then the items for the dry cleaner –not too bad for two months.
- Then there is the assessment of the clothes left behind. Besides the out of season and event specific clothing, why did I leave behind the clothes I did? After a good look, more clothes were pulled and set aside for the next cousin box. I inventory my closets twice a year, but I also like these after travel checks when the closet is empty. It helps “keep me honest” to paraphrase Anderson Cooper.
- After all this “hard work,” it was time for a lunch break. I headed downstairs to collect two months of snail mail and grab a sandwich. HINT: Yesterday started a month of $5 footlongs at Subway. So, if you have someone who likes what you like, you can both have a sandwich for $2.50 each. Or if you live alone, you can do what I did which is have them toast only one-half and save the second-half for later.
- Going through the snail mail was fun, relaxing, and informative. I caught up with a cousin who writes regularly; discovered that a friend who has worked on a long-term, multi-year project is almost ready to share it with the world; and a few sales opportunities that seem promising. The best thing about the snail mail? No bills. I pay everything online. It is fabulous to return home after two months and find no invoices.
- Then, paper management. Paper attaches itself to me and is a constant struggle to manage, so the rest of the afternoon was spent corralling the papers and catching up on my TIVO’d shows. I’ve made it through the “C”s, (yes, I watch my saved shows in alphabetical order, it’s easier), and made a dent in the paper war.
- Finally, there is the adjustment of the home. Despite my best efforts, I too can be a victim of clutter blindness. When I returned home from Kansas City, I determined that the Margaritaville bar was a clutter magnet so I had it dismantled. This time, I decided that a room divider needed to go. Silly? Maybe. But I like the constant purging. It makes me feel better some how, and it is always easier after returning from sparsely furnished hotel suites.
So, that is my process. Do I end up at the same place as my efficient friend? Sure. But I like my way better. What is your way?