Editor’s note: For many people, spring kicks off prime moving season. Wherever you’re headed, being well prepared to relocate will help minimize the upheaval and ensure that you can get settled into your new place as painlessly as possible. Every day this week, we’ll be giving you the resources you need to get ready to move.
Once all the moving preparations have been made, all the arduous moving tasks have been taken care of, and everything has gone more or less according to plan on moving day, you finally find yourself in your new home, surrounded by piles of boxes, tired and glad that your relocation is about to end.
To fully complete your moving adventure, however, you need to unpack your belongings and make your new place feel like home. But how to even begin unpacking?
First things first
No matter how much you want to get it over with as soon as possible, there are several important things to do before you can actually start unpacking.
- Clean and prepare your new home. It’s easier to wipe down shelves, clean windows, and mop floors before your belongings have been put in place. Make sure your home-to-be is spotless when your items arrive. If you can’t get to your new place early enough to do a thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional cleaners to do the job for you.
- Inspect and organize your belongings. Check all the delivered boxes and household items against your inventory sheet to make sure nothing is damaged or missing. Then have each of your possessions taken to the room where it belongs. If everything was properly marked and labeled, sorting out your items will be a piece of cake.
- Open your box of essentials. There should be tools, toiletries, clothes, medicines, packed food, basic kitchenware, and other “lifesavers” in it that will allow you to refresh yourself, open the sealed boxes, reassemble your furniture, and so on.
- Set major furniture and appliances. Position your large furniture pieces and bulky household appliances first. Then you can put any smaller items you unpack later directly in their rightful places. Plan your interior design well in advance so you don’t end up moving heavy pieces around several times.
Tackle the necessities
What matters most when unpacking your items after a move is ensuring that your essentials are immediately accessible. So prioritize your belongings, and unpack only the necessities first.
You may not be able to unpack the entire bedroom right away, but you will definitely have to set up the bed the day you move into your new home. Reassemble it (if necessary), lay down the sheets, unpack the pillows, and spread the blankets so you can get a good night’s rest – you’re going to need it!
Provided that you have a change of clothes and some comfortable indoor shoes (as well as curtains on the windows to ensure your privacy), the rest of your bedroom items can wait until you find the time and the energy to deal with them.
Without a doubt, your personal care items, toiletries, and medicines should top the list of the most important items to unpack after your move. Put out toilet paper and soap, find your toothbrush and toothpaste, hang the towels and the shower curtains, and unpack any other bathroom essentials you’re going to need in order to refresh yourself and wash away the weariness and stress of moving.
Also, fill in the medicine cabinet with the medications you have brought, and don’t forget to take your prescription drugs on time.
You may have brought some food with you, or you may rely on delivery for the first day or two after the relocation, but you’re going to need a fully operational kitchen as soon as possible in order to prepare healthy, homemade meals for yourself and your family.
Kitchens tend to take a very long time to unpack and organize properly due to the large number of items that need to be sorted out and carefully arranged.
As soon as you’ve hooked up the large appliances, such as the fridge and the stove, move on to your smaller kitchenware. Plates, silverware and glasses should be the first to find their places in cupboards and kitchen cabinets, closely followed by cooking utensils, pots and pans, and pantry items.
Kids’ and pets’ items
If you have young children, you should unpack some of their favorite toys, books, games, blankets and such during the very first hours in your new home. Keeping your young ones happy and occupied will let you concentrate on your work and finish it faster.
Of course, you should also take care of your pets’ needs immediately upon arrival. It’s a good idea to pack adequate pet food, water and food dishes, and some of your animal friends’ favorite toys in your open-first box.
When you’ve unpacked the three most essential rooms in your home (bedroom, bathroom and kitchen), everything else can wait a bit. There are no deadlines to meet, so you can set your own pace when unpacking and decorating your new place – just unpack in order of priority and without procrastination.
If you stay organized, set reasonable mini goals and complete them promptly, clean after every unpacking phase, and dispose of the packing materials in a safe and eco-friendly manner, your new surroundings will soon stop looking like a warehouse full of boxes and start feeling like home.
If you have some fun in the process – listen to your favorite music, play “unpacking games” with your kids, and invite friends over to give you a helping hand – the exhausting unpacking endeavor may turn out to be much easier and faster than you expected.
- Checklist: Everybody You Need to Notify When You’re Moving
- Home Away from Home: Moving and Putting Down Roots Across the Country
- 5 Common Moving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Originally published February 5, 2016.