The moving day has come to an end and it is just you, your family, and a sea of cardboard. I’ve been in this situation many times. The key is to NOT PANIC! There are ways to get unpacking done efficiently so you can have your life in your new home feeling perfect, well as perfect as life can be, in no time flat!
First things first: I always make the beds first. You might be judging me right now, but that’s okay. I make all of the beds first for a few reasons. First of all to have beds ready for people to sleep in that night whenever they finally hit the wall and need to go to sleep. You want to prep the bed before you are flat out exhausted. Second, bedding stuff takes a lot of space. Comforters, blankets, sheets, and pillows all take up a lot of space. I always get a great sense of accomplishment when there is a chunk of floor space clean. Also, having a freshly made bed makes a place feel like “home” that much quicker.
Get your routine ready to roll: This aspect of unpacking was drilled into me by my dad. He insisted on having all of the basics for the entire family’s bedtime and morning routines set up. That meant toothbrushes set out, towels on racks, coffee pot set up, radios plugged in, lamps on nightstands, alarms set, etc. Everybody had their essentials lined up and ready. This process was quick and amazingly helpful. Once you have yourself set it is easier to help others and tackle the process of unpacking the rest of the house. Kind of like the concept of putting on your own oxygen mask on the airplane before helping others. Obviously, I don’t mean ignore your kids and hope your toddler find his toothbrush at some point, but you get my point of having the basics ready to roll before you do other stuff.
Prioritize your rooms: Whenever I unpack or help friends unpack, I always find out what they want done first. Most people with kids say their children’s rooms and whatever they use as a playroom to keep kids busy. That makes sense that you need to get the kiddos occupied so you can work in other parts of the house. After that the kitchen and bedrooms come first. So often kitchens take a long time unpack because you have to wash or wipe down everything as you unpack it. That’s why I have the kitchen as an ongoing unpacking project while I migrate to the bedrooms or family room areas while dishes are going through the washer. Make Oprah proud and multi-task so you can get your house is working order quickly even though you are exhausted and would much rather do pretty much anything else.
Boxes have got to go: My goal in life with every move is to get those awful brown boxes away from me as soon as possible. I want empty boxes stored in the garage ASAP. To do this, I would get “in the zone” and just start taking everything out of 4 or 5 boxes at a time, collapsing the box, and then tossing the box away. Once the box is collapsed and tossed into the empty pile, there is no going back. You’ve committed and now have to find a home for whatever just came out of that box. No matter how painful or annoying it is, everything has to have a place to be. Can’t find a place? Then you can’t keep it. Being a packrat myself, I find that rule harsh yet helpful. The longer you avoid unpacking boxes, the less likely you are to ever unpack that box. Don’t become complacent and accept living in “box city”! Grab your box cutter and commit to clearing out all of those ugly boxes out of your nice, new place.
The rest of the unpacking process is so subjective that I won’t begin to give you tips! If you’re like my mother, you’ll want curtains hung. If you’re like my husband, you’ll want to get things hung on the walls. If you’re like me, you’ll want your TV’s set up and closets organized. I just hope some of this has been helpful for you! Moving is never easy and far too often isn’t any fun. Hopefully you’ll have an easier move next time if you take some of my advice. Since moving has become a sad annual or semi-annual tradition, I’ve had to pick up a lot quickly.