Moving day is here. Now, all those hours of bubble-wrapping dishes and tagging items room by room has culminated in a new home full of boxes sitting ready to be unpacked. That can be a daunting task. A Duck Brand survey says it takes Americans 182 days on average to unpack their last box after moving to a new house. But, unpacking doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some steps to help you settle into your new home faster – and with less stress.
Pack to Unpack
Miranda Benson, marketing coordinator with national moving company Dolly, has moved nine times in the last six years. She says the key is to plan for unpacking before you pack. Keep an inventory of what’s in each box, she advises, and color code or mark the boxes’ destination on the outside of each box (it’s a good idea to mark top and side). “Keep boxes specific to a room. Don’t load a box with a mix of kitchen items and bathroom pieces, or bedroom decor with living room storage,” she says.
Focus on the Essentials First
Pack an “essentials” box, and keep it close at hand during the move (maybe in your own vehicle, instead of the mover’s truck). Include all the must-haves for your first night in the new home, such as:
- Toilet paper and paper towels
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and other toiletries
- A change of clothes and pajamas for your first night in your new home
- Disposable utensils, cups and plates
- Snacks and water bottles
Start with the Bathroom
Speaking of essentials, get at least one bathroom ready to use right away. At a minimum, hang the shower curtain, and set out soap and toilet paper. Unpack at least some of the towels. At the end of a long moving day, you’ll appreciate a long hot shower.
Set up the Bedrooms
It’s a good bet you will be ready for a good night’s sleep after an exhausting moving day. Be sure your beds are assembled, with linens. Hint: pack a box for each bedroom with sheets, pillows and blankets and mark it “open first.”
Unpack clothes, but don’t stress over having everything perfectly arranged. The goal is to eliminate boxes now; later, you can spend more time organizing closets and drawers to your liking.
Leave the guest room for last. Unless you are having immediate overnight guests, this is one area that can stay low on your list of priorities.
Think before Unpacking
Allied Moving suggests creating a room plan before the move. Decide where you want furniture placed beforehand, and then place your items there on moving day. Your goal should be to not handle the same box multiple times.
In the Kitchen
Because you created that room plan in advance, you’ve already decided how you want your kitchen organized. Make it easy on everyone to help by placing sticky notes on cabinet doors indicating what goes where.
Start by setting up appliances like the coffee pot and toaster. Get the refrigerator plugged in and place food into as soon as it is cool.
In the boxes marked for the kitchen, include drawer liner and disinfectants so they are easily accessible as you start to fill drawers and cabinets.
Living Room and Office
The living room and home office are areas with lots of moving parts that can send you down time-consuming rabbit holes. Save the books, CDs, office files and desktop knick-knacks for later. Start by getting your devices, like TV, printer and computer, set up. From there, use the “big to small” approach to assemble and arrange desks and other larger furniture items, then work your way to the smaller items like lamps.
Clear out the Trash
Your empty boxes will quickly overwhelm your space. Make it a point to break down boxes as you unload them, and move them to the garage or recycle area. Keep a large trash bag or bin nearby while you are working to wrangle bubble wrap and packing paper before it piles up.
With a little pre-planning and moving day organization, you will be enjoying your new home – free of boxes – in no time.
Freelance writer and marketer Sue Durio has been writing about construction, design and related products for more than 18 years.