Now that you have moved into your new home, you are probably wondering what to do next.
What should I unpack first? How do I navigate through all of the boxes in my home? How do I turn chaos into order?
Follow these unpacking tips and you will be well on your way to settling comfortably into your new abode. Think of this as a starter guide to your unpacking expedition.
1. Start with the End in Mind
After a long day of moving, you are probably exhausted and ready for a nice long nap. Good! This feeling will remind you to start with the end in mind – sleep. The end encompasses your need to sleep and relax at the end of a long, hard day.
Begin your unpacking adventure by setting up your bed, your children’s beds, and your pets’ beds. If you live with extended family or friends, help them set up their beds too.
Providing everyone with a comfortable place to sleep will make your place feel more like home. In addition, knowing where you’re going to lay your head at the end of the day will relieve some of your stress.
Don’t worry about setting up the entire bedroom. Focus on the sleeping area and clean linens. Focus on having your child’s favorite stuffed animal ready for a bedtime cuddle. Focus on your dog, cat, or bird settling down for the night. Focus on that small nest or haven where you will finally get to lay your head and drift off into dreamland.
You don’t need to have everything in place to enjoy a good night’s sleep. Attend to the basics of setting up a good, cozy sleep area and you will have successfully achieved the art of step 1 – starting with the end in mind.
2. Focus on the Staples and Feed Your Hunger
Now that you have a place to sleep, it is time to focus on your kitchen. Similar to preparing your sleeping area, don’t try to unpack everything at once. Simply unpack what you need and place items in their permanent (or near-permanent) locations.
Gather the staples you need to feed your family and keep your energy flowing.
Even if you don’t plan to cook a grand meal the first night (or the first week) after moving in, unpack the kitchen basics (e.g., plates, cups, pots, pans, utensils, coffee maker, tea kettle, microwave). At the very least, have disposable dishware, utensils, and napkins on hand for when you order take out, make breakfast, or have a snack.
On your first grocery shopping trip, purchase the staples (e.g., coffee, cereal, eggs, fruit, vegetables, pasta, canned goods, frozen foods). If you have the option, skip the line at the store and use a grocery delivery service, shop online and pick up in store, or have your groceries delivered via mail.
No matter your shopping method, purchase enough food for a few days to a week. Order enough to get you through the early transition phase of moving into a new home.
Adjust the lists of previously mentioned kitchen basics and staples to fit your and your family’s needs. Think about what you use and eat often. Let that be your guide to deciding what to unpack and purchase first. Focus on the foods you and your family enjoy, but are easy to prepare.
When you want to have a drink of water, eat a bowl of cereal, or enjoy your morning cup of tea, all you’ll have to do is reach in the kitchen cupboard to get what you need. Having basic dishware and easily preparable foods at your fingertips will save you hours of frustration searching for the things you need.
At the end of the first or second week in your new home, when everything is relatively settled and your family is starting to establish a new routine, make a grand meal to celebrate moving in. Incorporate some of your favorite dishes and comfort foods to make you truly feel at home.
3. Prepare to Entertain (Yourself)
Are you wondering what to do when you need a break from unpacking? Are you searching for ways to keep your children and other family members entertained? Yes?
It’s time for step 3 – prepare to entertain yourself and your loved ones.
The easiest entertainment options include your phone, tablet, computer, handheld video game console, art supplies, puzzles, puzzle books, or your child’s favorite toy. All of these options are easy to set up and require little time or energy.
On the other hand, if you want to experience the full entertainment experience and give yourself a space to relax in the mist of moving and unpacking, consider setting up your full entertainment system, including comfy furniture.
Assemble and organize your entertainment center, television, video games, and sound system. Place your couch in the perfect location. Pull up your coffee table and favorite chair and settle in for a temporary distraction.
As mentioned previously, you don’t have to get everything perfectly settled. A relatively organized space with comfortable places to sit will go a long way towards making your new home feel more livable. As an added bonus, you’ll know exactly where to find your family members as you unpack.
Clear out a space for rest breaks and friendly entertainment. You may even be able to unpack a box or two while you watch your favorite show.
4. Embrace a Clean Slate
One frustrating thing about moving is all the boxes, paper, and crates you have to put away after you unpack. To minimize your frustration, practice embracing a clean slate.
As you unpack, put items in their new homes (i.e., their permanent locations). Refrain from unpacking items and letting them sit around homeless, taking up precious counter and floor space. Focus on one room at a time and put things in their proper places.
Immediately take out your trash and recyclables.
After you unpack a cardboard box, break it down (i.e., remove the tape and lay it flat) and prepare it for recycling or the trash bin. If recycling is an option, put packing paper in a designated recycling bin. Put trash in trash bags. Place everything by the front door and, during the course of your unpacking expedition, take these unwanted items out of your new home as soon as you can and as often as you can.
Think of your trips to the trash bin as a break from unpacking. Give yourself a moment to enjoy a sense of accomplishment.
Constantly clean as you go, and make a clean sweep of your home at the end of each day.
Embrace a clean slate and you will reap the joys of having a tidy house as you unpack like a moving pro.
If you are in the first stages of moving and packing, follow the Order Your Life moving checklist or read the entire moving guide. Arm yourself with knowledge. Make your life easier. Pack and unpack like a moving professional.