Does anyone enjoy unpacking after a move? This portion of the moving process can feel like a trip to the DMV or dentist, but it really isn’t. When you think about it, you have already done all the hard, time-consuming labor like packing and unloading the heavy boxes and furniture.
Now all you have left is the home stretch of unpacking!
Here are a few tips for a more organized unpacking process that can not only help get things done in a systematic manner, but at the same time can help to reduce some of the stress and anxiety that builds up when faced with big tasks.
Tips for an organized unpacking
Obviously it pays to have packed in an organized manner. Ideally you decluttered prior to packing and took some time to label boxes properly. Even if you skipped those two aspects, these steps will certainly make unpacking a smoother ordeal!
- Clean first – A great idea before you even start lugging boxes into your new house is to give it a thorough cleaning. The bathrooms and kitchen should be given primary attention; it is hard to put stuff away in a dirty environment. A simple dust and vacuum should suffice for the rest of the house.
- Boxes in the proper spot – Ideally as you unload you are placing all the furniture and boxes in the rooms they will end up in. If that is not the case make sure to shuffle boxes until they are where they need to be. For bathrooms you might stack boxes outside of the room due to space issues.
- Start in the bedroom – If you have kids’ start in their room first then go to yours. Setting up the beds with fresh linens means you have a cozy place to rest when all your work is done. If you have kids then getting them unpacked first means you have a place for them to play (out of the way) while you work on the rest of the house.
- Get the clothes out – Clothing can quickly transfer from boxes to the closet and dresser. Not only does this make you feel more settled in but it is a fairly quick process making you feel more accomplished. Ideally the bedroom is a sanctuary for people and the sooner that room is settled the sooner you will feel “at home”.
- Open every box – Rather than working one box at a time, it makes more sense to open every box in a room. This prevents shoving boxes aside for later which can result in searching for something that you forgot to unpack and can make for more economical movements.
- Reorganize as you go – If you didn’t declutter prior to the move now is the time to set aside the excess. You can easily create a few boxes for the attic to hold things you don’t really need out.
- Move to the bathroom – After the bedroom, the bathroom is the next room to check off. It is a small room so it won’t take too long and again, it helps make you feel “at home’. With an organized bedroom and bathroom you have the peace of mind that you can sleep and get ready like you normally would.
- On to the kitchen – Many people think the kitchen should be set up first, but let’s be honest – you are probably ordering take-out food. Often the kitchen has the most number of boxes to unpack as well, so saving this project until after a few other rooms are finished can help with motivation.
- Other rooms – After the kitchen the best progression is laundry room, coat and linen closets, dining room, porch and home office. People often accumulate a lot of dirty clothes during a move so getting the laundry room set up with a few loads going while you work makes sense. Closets are small accomplishments that can make a dent in the wall of boxes. The dining room is often a low-key room that then gives you a place to have dinner. A porch or patio offers a nice outside breather with typically a simple space to set-up. Finally the home office or similar room has more equipment with wires that can take some time which is why it is near the end.
- Save the den for last – Den can be the family room or whatever room it is that you set up your television and go to relax. The reason is simple, that room is a trap for relaxation. You might think a marathon of Housewives of Beverly Hills or a sports game in the background wouldn’t hurt, but any distraction slows you down and later in the day that couch looks very tempting.
- Artwork – One of the last things to do it hang up art and other knickknacks. This step should always be near the end as you might adjust furniture and other items as you settle in.
- Storage areas – For the garage, attic and other storage space save them until everything else is completely unpacked and settled. Often people add items to these areas during unpacking so waiting saves time during final organization.
As you complete a room, take the time to break down boxes and put them in their own place (garage, outside, etc) in a neat pile. That way as you work you will be able to see your accomplishments in the form of organized, moved-in rooms. It is much easier to stay organized if you start organized so use these tips to help the next time you move!