1: Locate the cat bed that, three times a year, doubles up as a suitcase. It's advisable to give it a vacuum for moustachioed thermals can cause discomfort.
2: Extract from the dirty linen basket all the must-have wardrobe items that you forgot to wash before departure. This operation should be undertaken discreetly.
3: Fling said items plus all other necessities in a pile. For best results this pile can be begun the night before to give you more time to appraise it.
4: Remove from the pile approximately a third of your daughter's choices and double the quantity of underpants contributed by your son. Don't worry if you haven't got round to shopping for your beach body. So long as your brolly coordinates with your tankini you can still cut a dash on Britain's sands.
5: Find a temporary hidden home for the sculptures that tower on your kitchen draining rack so that the cat sitter won't judge you.
6: At this point you may feel panic rising. Positioning two cubic metres of luggage into 1.6 cubic metres of Skoda involves advanced mathematics and unusual cunning, but remind yourself that children, like Ikea shelving, are adaptable.
7: So, now you're all ready to set off. Oh, but hang on, I always forget this bit! Think back to what's in that suitcase. If you've packed more than two pairs of shorts and fewer than two pairs of cable-knit tights, you'll need to leave the family in the car and dash back to the house for one last imperative: