The Dos & Don'ts of Unpacking

Boxes, boxes, packing peanuts and—you guessed it—more boxes. If the thought of unpacking disorder after a move makes you sweat, you're certainly not alone. Even the most even-tempered can become overwhelmed by the enormity of organizing a new home. Keep in mind that after the movers have gone everything will be unpacked eventually, as long as you keep working, stay organized and maintain a positive attitude. Consider some dos to get the unpacking process underway in no time:

  • Do unpack the "essentials" box first. This 'lifeline' of sorts should be the first off the moving truck and perhaps even transported with you in the car. The small (but mighty) box should contain everything you need for a couple of nights including medication, extra toiletries and towels. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way—if in dire need, a convenience or drug store is likely minutes away in any new city.
  • Do unpack the kitchen early on in the process. If all boxes have been clearly labeled, you should be able to locate what you need fairly easily. Having major food appliances like the coffee pot and toaster hooked up makes life a little easier in what can be an exhausting (and hunger-inducing) process.
  • Do take time to enjoy your new space once you've unpacked the main essentials. Breaks are ideal for easing stress levels, getting to know your new neighborhood even sooner and avoiding too many open boxes being strewn about at one time. Set aside time each day for unpacking but also a few hours to explore.

A few key points to avoid in the unpacking process include:

  • Don't assemble large furniture until you've planned where it will be placed. If you obtained plans to your new home prior to moving, arranging furniture should be fairly straightforward. However, large armoires or tables in random places are not only annoying, but dangerous if constantly being dodged. Always try to put furniture organization toward the top of the unpacking to-do list.
  • Don't assume you have to unpack everything in one day—or even in one week! While unpacking marks the end to a long move that's likely been in the works for months, resist the urge to conquer the unpacking process too quickly. It's a completely normal reaction to want to put everything in its proper place as quickly as possible, but always think ahead before diving in. Adjustment to the new home will begin, regardless—spare nerves in the process.
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