When you hear someone say “Let’s unpack this” you hope they are going to take a complicated issue, separate it into its parts, identify the common thread, and prioritize essential elements. They will see the big picture, discard the extraneous, and focus on productivity.
When someone looks at a post-vacation suitcase and says “Let’s unpack this” they often mean that they are going to look for something in particular. It may be a wallet, or a phone charger, or a favorite pair of earrings. Unpacking the whole suitcase in an organized fashion is not likely to happen in a hurry.
While looking for that particular necessary item, the laundry will be tossed on the floor, the mementos will probably be put on the dresser, and the clean but unworn clothing will go onto the bed awaiting a decision about its future.
The suitcase could then, in theory, get put back into its storage location, except that it would still contain miscellany. The pockets will have documents like itineraries and receipts and last-minute packing that didn’t make it into the main suitcase cavity. Those things will include, for examples, shorts and flip-flops. They will have been worn in the hot country until the very last minute before the traveler changed into clothing appropriate for the colder country they will be in by the end of the day.
So, the suitcase will stay in the central part of the house or the bedroom for quite a while before the traveler decides to move it to storage, with or without the documents. If they are a frequent traveler, it may never make it into storage, but a less-frequent traveler could let it sit around for a couple of weeks or more before moving it out of sight.
The laundry will get done probably within a week or so, depending on the supply of clean underwear. The clean-but-not-worn clothing is more problematic. Unpacking those items means deciding whether or not they are too wrinkled to put back in the closet or drawer. If they are too wrinkled, the question then is whether to launder them anyway or break out the iron. By bedtime that day they will definitely be off the bed, but if they end up on the floor they will become laundry. If they get piled on the dresser, they will probably get put away eventually, but there’s no rush.
Unpacking things, whether they are complex ideas or heavy suitcases, requires a lot of small decisions. It also requires a sense of order and priorities. Mostly, it requires urgency, which is often lacking after a vacation. After all, that’s one of the things we got away from. And, now that we have remembered how to lounge about, we aren’t in any hurry to lose that feeling.
Any resemblance to any actual person’s unpacking behavior is purely coincidental.