Does anyone enjoy moving? After moving 7 times in 14 years of marriage (3 of those to different states), I can unequivocally say that moving is the worst. Especially with kids. And especially when the burden falls on an already busy life and schedule. However, through my many moves I have found some simple systems and strategies that make moving easier. Since starting Reset Your Nest, I've perfected the art of unpacking by helping countless clients create organizational systems in their new homes.
It can be easy to rush through the unpacking process just for the sake of getting it done. But after a lot of trial and error, I can promise you that taking the time to unpack the right way will save you future time. Do it right, and do it once.
How to Unpack - 5 Tips
1. Purge Before and After the Move
Purge on both ends of moving. Doing an edit of what you are really truly using as you pack up, AND as you unpack, helps to set your home up for success. For example, if you haven't used your second set of kitchen utensils in over a year, don't waste time or space by taking them to your new home. While unpacking, if you find yourself forgetting about certain items as you take them out of the box, that may be a sign to let them go.
2. Break Down Boxes As You Go
There is nothing worse than feeling like your house is unpacked and ready, only to have a mountain of boxes looming in the basement or garage. Have a specified destination for boxes to be donated or recycled once broken down. I also like to have two large empty boxes out: a place for garbage items, and a place for donations. Keep box cutters in designated areas ( I suggest one on each floor of the house) so they don't get misplaced.
3. Map Out Your New Home
Be intentional about where things get placed. Doing this before you unpack will save you from having to go in and reorganize a few months down the road. Take advantage of the empty space! Map out the areas of your home that make sense to you (especially if you have helpers). Prioritize the items that are the most important to you and require prime real estate in your closets and cabinets. For example, use Post-its to signify where you want your dishes and silverware to go ahead of time. Once dressers are placed in the right bedrooms, use Post-its to lay out what clothing items go where.
4. Work in Zones
Unpack in zones. Tackle the kitchen first, then bedrooms and bathrooms. I recommend doing this because the kitchen is the hub of the house - you'll feel more settled and at home once it's done. It's easier to live out of suitcases and boxes in the bathroom and bedrooms. Once a space is close to completion, create a punch list and shopping list for immediate needs, then move on to the next space.
5. Take Your Time
Don't get overwhelmed. Unpacking takes hundreds of hours. When we unpack our clients, we come in with a team of organizing professionals and it takes multiple days. If you are doing it on your own, it will take a significant amount of time and that is ok. Celebrate the little victories. Have a bag packed with essentials to get you through the first few days (think toilet paper, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and clothing), and recognize that getting settled takes TIME.
Do you feel a little more prepared for your move? I know it feels daunting - but look at it as a fresh start to put new, and lasting, systems in place. If you need help, we offer unpacking and organizing services so you can focus on turning your house into a home.
Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, a Professional Home Organizing business in Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves creating order and systems out of chaos. Her specialty is finding a way to continue the aesthetic of any home to every cupboard and drawer. She shares her tips and tricks on Instagram @reset_your_nest.