Unpacking can be tedious, but AHRN.com has 5 ways you can get a head start on an organized home with an unpacking plan!
The myriad of details involved with setting up a home can make unpacking one of the more overwhelming aspects of a move. All too easily, a few boxes here and there can end up living for months in a corner or a less used room. Buried in packing paper, your new, unfamiliar home can be strewn with household goods that have not found their places. But unpacking with a plan lets you start your time at a new duty station with an organized move.
1. Start With the Packing
When you’re busy packing up your life and figuring out how you’ll get through a move, it can be difficult to think about how you’ll unpack those boxes. But a little planning at this point will make for a much smoother move. If you are doing a DoD contracted move, supervise your packers to ensure that boxes are appropriately labeled with both the room and contents. A DITY move gives you even more control. Labeling the boxes with colored duct tape (a different color for each room) is an easy way to quickly check that boxes get to the right part of the house the first time.
2. Your Essentials Box
There are some things that you will need right away: bed linens, toilet paper, shower curtain, a lamp and the two or three pots and pans you use the most make a good start for your essentials box. You want to separate the things you know you’ll need in the first 48 hours or so in your new home so that you have time to be organized and strategic about your unpacking.
3. Unpack with a plan
Professional organizers advise that you unpack with a plan – starting with the most necessary common areas and working your way throughout the home. Your plan will depend on how many people are in your home, the age of any children, and how much dedicated time you can spend on your unpacking. Your plan might look something like:
- Place your large furniture first
- Position and install appliances
- Unpack your essentials box(es)
- Make the beds while you still have energy so they’re ready for you at the end of the day!
- Focus on one common area at a time, beginning with the kitchen.
- Unpack bedrooms.
- Garage and outdoor space unpacking and organization.
4. Give yourself time
You need more than just time – you need time to focus! If possible, give yourself some distraction-free time to concentrate on your unpacking and make the most of it. Older kids might be able to take younger ones to the park or a friend might host a play date (eventually, you’ll find yourself arriving at duty stations with plenty of friends from previous assignments). If you don’t have a fenced back yard, you might want to consider boarding any dogs until things are settled. If you are focused on common areas during the day, concentrate your group packing effort on one room at a time, allowing each individual the evenings to unpack and set up their own space. Even young children can help to put toys on shelves and make their room feel like home.
6. Garage Organization
It is easy for the garage (and closets or other storage areas) to be used as depositories for unpacked boxes when you move. As we settle in and life gets busy though, this can make for very crowded and unorganized spaces! Take the time while you are unpacking to sort and organize storage spaces as well. If you choose to leave some things packed up, itemize what is in the box and tape the list to the outside (the movers are rarely specific enough to make items to easy to find later).
A little organization now will get you started on the right foot in your new home!
We want to know:
How long does it take you to unpack after a move? What is your least favorite part?
Tara Crooks says
My least favorite part is the breakdown of the boxes and the sore hands from all of the paper. It typically takes us about a week to be all set up. We do not believe in leaving ANYTHING packed. If we don't need it, then we don't need it!
I typically ALWAYS start with the kitchen while hubby starts with large furniture being placed and putting together things as well as getting laundry set up. Garage is always last as it is a catch all until we are finished. There are always multiple trips to Lowes. This past move our oldest daughter was able to help us and do her room and her sisters. That was a HUGE help! I MOST DEFINITELY SWEAR BY organizing BEFORE you move. I cannot tell you how many things I had in ziploc bags or painters taped together so I didn't have to organize again and they could pack it like that. Good luck!
Correy Smith says
Unpacking with a plan sounds like a pretty good tip for both my wife and I to keep in mind. Well, we have plans on moving all of our stuff into a military base. We did all of our packing and now, it's just comes down to waiting for the removal service to come pick up our stuff. I guess while they do that, we might have to come up with a plan on where to put several of our things into certain rooms.
Lenore Coffin says
Definitely great tips! My sister is moving soon and I’m sure she’ll be very glad to have your advises on mind. She’s quite organized person and she’s trying to keep her move organized too. Thanks for sharing all this helpful information!
You’re very welcome, Lenore!
Adam Barnett says
These are some really helpful tips, but if you don’t feel like doing the packing and unpacking all by yourself, just hire pros to perform the task for you. Simple and easy!