Fortunately, unpacking once you are in a new home goes much quicker and easier than the packing up and moving beforehand. Having said that, many people find this is still a rather unpleasant task and only do a bit here and there, allowing the unpacking to last for weeks or even longer. Certainly, constantly wondering where something is and learning to do without is no way to live. Follow these rules for unpacking and your new house will become a home—your home—in no time flat.
General Rules for Unpacking
Everyone seems to have their own unpacking 'system.' Still, here are some good general rules to follow, especially when in doubt:
- Just get started!
- Start with those boxes containing essential items
- Focus on bigger items first, then the smaller ones
- Don't worry too much about getting everything exactly in its perfect spot...yet
- Break down boxes as you go...this gives a sense of closure and just feels great!
Essential Items First
Obviously, there are certain things you simply need to have in order to make modern life comfortable. This includes things like toilet paper, soap, towels, toothbrush (and don't forget the paste, either), deodorant, trash bags, paper towels, scissors (don't forget these, or opening the boxes will be more difficult), pillows, sheets, at least one change of clothes, pet food and bowls. It helps to have these items in your 'go back' that travels with you while the move is happening.
Kitchen & Bedroom
Start with the food and get it into the fridge and cupboards. Try to get it at least somewhat organized since this is a place where you will be spending a fair amount of time. Also unpack the dish washing supplies and everything else that has more or less of an immediate need, including (more or less in this order, depending on personal preference):
- Drinking glasses
- Everything else
Once the kitchen is finished, then focus on the essentials in terms of the bedroom. Assemble any beds and put on sheets, pillows, pillow cases and other linens as needed. From here, you might want to focus a bit on the bathrooms, but these may be pretty much ready just based on taking things out of your 'essentials' bag.
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Closets & Dressers
If you are moving in during the winter or a cool spell, spend a little bit of time unpacking coats, sweaters and things like that. Fill up the coat closet, if you have one in the home. The alternative to this is to unpack and organize the clothes closet(s) and dressers. Do the main bedroom first and then focus on any childrens' rooms.
Once this is accomplished, you will start to feel like you are really getting things organized. You will no doubt have some dirty clothes and getting them at least close to the washing machine will make you feel good. You might even consider running your first load of dirty clothes at this point.
You will want to take your time with the home office (if you have one) since this can be pretty stressful. Of course, this assumes all of your equipment is with you and the services are turned on. Just make sure to proceed slowly and carefully, focusing on all the wires and cables.
Dining & Family Rooms
The dining room should be pretty easy and low key. Just get your things out and put them in order. The family room can be a bit frustrating, due to the TV and cable and all the peripherals that might be attached. Just take it slow and easy, like the home office.
In the game of unpacking, slow and steady wins the race. The main thing is to get started and begin with what you really need immediately. After that, it will seem as if normal life is gradually returning.