Many people find unpacking in a new home to be the most stressful part of a move — and it makes sense. You may have a great deal of help packing up your possessions and you probably had friends or professional movers assist you with loading furniture and boxes into a truck or van. But once you’re in the new location, all that wonderful help evaporates, and you’re facing the daunting sight of a mountain of boxes on your own.
But don’t despair! Unpacking doesn’t have to cause you undue stress, and it doesn’t have to happen all at once. As a general rule, move furniture in first and then follow up with boxes. Don’t worry about re-assembling shelves, end tables or other furniture; simply having them in the correct room will give you a reminder of the space they’re eventually going to occupy.
Tackle the unpacking job room by room, and break each room down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Aim to organize a shelf or a closet rather than a whole room. Take quick breaks after you complete each small task, and follow these simple steps to make unpacking easier on the whole family:
1. Start in the kitchen.
Locate the moving box that contains all your unpacking gear — shelf paper, tape, scissors, screwdrivers, hammers, etc. — and start by lining all the shelves and drawers in the kitchen. With that task out of the way, unpack your “kitchen essentials” box so you’ve got the drinking glasses, plates, pans and utensils to make your way through the next few days without too many trips to the fast food joint.
2. Next, stock the bathroom with a few important toiletries.
Make sure you have toilet paper, shower curtain, hand soap and shower soap and plenty of clean towels. Having these essentials in place as soon as possible will make the unpacking process much easier!
3. Assemble all beds in their respective rooms.
Let each family member unpack his or her own bedroom boxes. Hang clothes in closets, put sheets, blankets and pillows on beds and put a few favorite decorative items on walls. These small extra touches are especially important when you’re helping a child feel at home in a new space.
4. Establish comfortable seating for the whole family in the living room or family room.
Then leave the rest for another day! While you may need a place to take a rest during the unpacking process, your first day in a new home isn’t the right time to hook up a TV or video gaming system. Give your frazzled nerves a chance to recover before taking on the complicated jobs.
5. You may find that a few items don’t seem to fit anywhere in your new home.
Don’t let these destroy your momentum! Simply find a handy corner where you can stack anything you’re not quite sure what to do with, and plan to make final decisions in a week or so. Save anything that goes into the garage or onto the patio for last. Those items probably won’t be of crucial importance, and you’ll be happier organizing them after the inside of your home is taken care of.
Finally, go easy on yourself and your family by taking your time unpacking. No matter how efficiently you’ve packed and how motivated you are to finish the job, you’re bound to need a few days — or even a few weeks — to get life back to normal. Make sure you’re resting enough to avoid undue stress on your emotions as well as your body. Try to make the process as pleasant as possible, and enjoy your new home!