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Unpacking Overwhelm

OK! You’ve successfully managed your move to a new home – congratulations! And now you need to unpack.

I think the only thing more overwhelming than packing and moving is the unpacking. Where did all this stuff come from? Why did I keep it? Where on earth is it all going to go?

Never fear! Here are some tried and true tips for making settling in a little easier.

1. Put boxes in the rooms where they’ll live.

2. Make the beds. So you have somewhere to sleep.

3. Unpack the kitchen boxes. Unpack them to a flat surface first, so that you can see the quantity of what you have and can better decide where everything goes. And yes, it’s ok to use the floor, tables, whatever is available.

4. Open the bedroom and bathroom boxes. So you can find the toothpaste and soap sooner than later. Unpacking can come later.

5. Set up the Kitchen. So you can eat (we’re covering the basic necessities here first!).

  • TIP – after you’ve unpacked everything, decide the best places for things to live

  • Use sticky notes to post contents for each cabinet (so others can easily help with the putting away)

  • Put away plates, bowls, glasses, mugs first, then pots and pans

  • Then tackle the pantry items

  • The kitchen is the most time consuming unpacking job – it usually takes 5 -7 hours to do fully. So don’t be discouraged it you don’t finish in one day. At least do an hour or two, and then pick it up tomorrow. It’s OK!!

6. Bedrooms – Put Away Clothes. If you have hanging things in wardrobe boxes, hang those up first (they’re the low hanging fruit).

  • Then use sticky notes to determine what goes in what drawers – and wrangle helpers to put clothes away (bribe them with the snacks you just found in the kitchen … )

  • If you have time it’s nice to set up organizers and fold your clothes a la Marie Kondo – but if not, it’s OK to just put things in the drawers they’re going to live and neaten up later

7. Linens. Put away towels, sheets and other linens in their proper closets. You’ll need those towels very soon for showers.

8. Mud Room. Decide how you want to set up your mud room, or the area in your home that functions as a drop-off/pick-up zone, and storage for coats, hats, gloves, etc.

9. Bathrooms. Take out everything from the bathroom boxes and put away in the areas closest to where they’ll be used. Again, don’t worry necessarily about making it beautiful – just get things out of boxes.

10. Living Rooms, Family Rooms. These tend to be the least important to unpack, since you probably already can use your couch, and chairs. Before the move, make sure you arrange for the TV service tech to hook everything up the first day.

11. Set up your command center. Every home has one, whether you’ve made a conscious decision where to put it or it’s just developed organically. Planning is so much better than the organic version (just seeing where things land) – the time you spend at the outset will pay you dividends almost immediately!

  • Put this as close to the most used door as possible!

  • Decide where the mail will go

  • Create spots for Bills, Action Items, To Be Filed, School Papers, and any other categories of papers that are unique to your lifestyle (I love this IKEA one)

  • Decide where bags/backpacks/briefcase will land

  • Consider a wall calendar or white board for messages or reminders (“Defrost chicken at medium setting for 3 minutes – or go hungry!”) like this one.

  • Have a place for keys, wallets, anything else you dump from your pockets or bags when you enter the home. Keys can go on wall hooks; you may want a shallow bin for the other stuff (NOT too deep or you’ll forget and never see the stuff again)

12. Garage (if you have one). Do the garage last, as it usually is a room that can accommodate boxes more easily than the others.

  • Unpack at your leisure – EXCEPT – if you have a lot of sports stuff

  • Then you’ll want to unpack that first, and decide the best way to store everything.

  • I’m a big fan of a Garage Organizer Wall to keep everything easily accessible and contained (see this one from the Container Store, but you can also get other versions from Home Depot, Amazon and other stores)

It’s a good idea to use one big box to put the other boxes in, after you break them down.

And the sooner you can get those boxes out of your home, the less claustrophobic and stressed you’ll be.

Now you can, on your own time, fine tune the arrangement of clothes in your drawers, get drawer organizers for the kitchen and bathrooms, and put away books and pictures.

TIP- arrange to have guests over about 2 months after you move in, so you will be forced to hang up your pictures and arrange the rest of the décor!

Wishing you happiness, success, good times and much enjoyment in your new home!

* This blog in no way constitutes an endorsement for any products mentioned, or any liability for their manufacturers, functions, or materials. They’re just recommendations, and I don’t receive any benefits from the stores. Just some ideas for you!

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