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Travel Tips: Decluttering after a Holiday

Posted on May 23, 2019 by Eleanor McKenzie
couple unpacking after holiday

One of the things I dislike most about coming back from a holiday is unpacking. In almost every pocket of my suitcase there seems to be all sorts of odds and ends to be sorted out.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs to do some reorganisation once all the contents of my suitcase has been emptied. To make unpacking less tiresome, I’ve been looking for useful tips to ensure my post-holiday declutter happens in a more orderly fashion.

Here are some tips I’ve found to make decluttering after a holiday that bit easier…

Holiday clothes

For the most part holiday clothes can be washed and put away for your next trip.

There is a benefit to storing them in a separate container instead of your everyday wardrobe; then you’ll know exactly where they are. It’s unlikely you’ll wear a bikini and sarong in the UK. So, why keep it with your standard wardrobe and clutter it up?

Also, there may be items in your holiday wardrobe that you know you’ll never wear again. Why not donate what you don’t need to a charity shop, or sell them online?

Holiday reading

Many of us buy books at the airport before leaving and sometimes those books come back with us.

If your holiday reading doesn’t have a place on your bookshelves, they can be donated to a charity, to an old people’s care home, or perhaps you have a local book exchange where you can swap them for new titles. If you were staying in a holiday apartment and have finished your holiday read, leave it there for the next guest.

Sun creams and toiletries

Holiday toiletries seem to give me an endless headache, largely because of the airline restrictions on what you can carry.

Travel size toiletries (less than 100ml) that only have a little left in the bottle should either be disposed of before you come home, or once you get home. They tend to take up lots of space and you will most likely buy new products the next time to travel.

Sun cream is another challenge. How often will you use it now you’re back in the UK? One suggestion is to check the product’s ‘use by’ date and label the package clearly, so you know when it’s no longer usable.


Boarding passes, travel insurance documents and all sorts of bits of paper usually accompany you on holiday.

Once home it is time to clear these out if they’re not important to you after your trip. Shred, recycle or file – just don’t leave them in one of your suitcase pockets, or you’ll find yourself having to dispose of them next time you pack.

Of course, there are those items you want to keep. Sorting out your holiday photos and rejecting the ones that are out of focus or not fit for sharing with friends, is a form of decluttering. As is creating a photo album, whether in physical or digital format.

As for souvenirs, finding the perfect place for them is an enjoyable part of post-holiday organising.

A post-holiday declutter shouldn’t take up too much of your time, and you’ll feel as refreshed afterwards as you do from your holiday relaxation. With a thorough clear-out, your go-to travel items will be ready for your next adventure.

Eleanor McKenzie

by Eleanor McKenzie

Eleanor McKenzie is a Northern Irish writer with a passion for art, literature, and red wine. She's worked at advertising agency JWT, edited a journal for a European social policy think tank and tried to teach teenagers the difference between "there" and "their". Being 50+ has not significantly changed Eleanor's life, although she finds it a handy excuse when she wants to avoid anything too energetic.