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Ahh, moving. One of the most stressful times of your life. Although you may be excited about the new house or apartment you’re moving to, the thought of packing – and then unpacking – the innumerable domestic and personal items your family has accumulated over the years, is likely enough to make you want to run for cover. It may make you feel better to know that this feeling is universal.
It may also make you feel better to know that there are plenty of ways to make this traumatic event, less so. It all boils down to planning and organization.
Have you ever visited someone who had moved to a new residence a few months or more earlier, only to see unpacked boxes and cartons still all over their place? This happens often — unpacking can be sometimes more daunting than packing. But, as counterintuitive as it may sound, the way to headache-and-hassle-free unpacking actually starts with packing. And it goes like this:
Packing – room by room
Sort & Toss. As soon as you know you’re going to move, start going through your house, looking for things your family has not used in years. If an item has been left untouched for a couple of years, chances are it will just end up being boxed up in the attic or the basement of the new location – forever.
Pack & Label. Pack room by room. Designate a day for one or two rooms to pack completely. And consider splurging on store-bought cartons – they will hold and protect your cherished belongings better, and are easier to close and open. Label each box with not only its new destination to guide the movers, but also with the items – or at least the types of items – inside each box. But, most importantly, have one box marked “essentials” for each room – this will save you much time and effort in looking for whatever you may need right away after you move into the new place.
Once all the boxes, furniture, appliances, etc. are moved in…order a pizza and relax. Trust me, you and your family will be drained, frazzled and exhausted at this point. That day you should probably just open the “essentials” boxes for the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, so you can sleep and have breakfast in the morning.
Unpacking, step by step.
But, the next day, it’s time to work. Try not to procrastinate – sometimes delaying the unpacking leads to stacks of uncomely boxes blighting your new home permanently. So, as with packing, designate a day for each area(s) of the house to unpack. And the following scheme should prove helpful.
The kitchen – a priority space: You’ll need to be able to prepare meals as soon as possible, so unpack the kitchen first. Before you put away your pots and pans and miscellaneous dishware, it’s best to clean and line the cupboards first. Then hook up the big and small appliances, stock up the pantry, and you’re ready to cook!
The bathroom(s): Also a priority place but certainly usable even when unpacked. Still, you will need things like medications, a shower curtain, towels, hair dryers, etc. to be accessible, or you will be left puddles of water all over the new bathroom and a bad hair day!
Kids’ bedrooms/play room: These areas are also important to get ready fairly soon, especially if you have young children. Having their own place ready will keep the kids out of your hair and will save your sanity. Older kids will probably want to unpack their own rooms, so this should be an easy one for you. The only tough work here is making sure that they actually do it!
The master bedroom: For this room, getting the closet and chest of drawers organized is the big priority. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find the right clothes/jewelery/shoes when you’re getting ready for work. Once that is done, you should move onto decorating and making the bedroom cozy and comfy before you proceed with the other areas. It will be a nice haven to go to while the rest of the house is still in disarray.
The living/family/dining rooms: These spaces will likely be almost all arranged for you with large pieces of furniture placed by your movers. So, all that’s left here is to hook up your electronics, unpack and place decorative items/good china/books, and you’re living spaces are ready to make your family feel at home.
The home office: If you work at home, make this area the second area on the list of priorities for unpacking. Unless you or your husband/partner is a techie, connecting all the wires and cables to computers/printers/scanners/faxes, etc., could prove to be the Waterloo of your move. Sometimes movers might be able to help, but it’s best to arrange for someone tech savvy to come to your rescue.
Unpacking should not be a scene from Nightmare On Elm Street (or whatever the name of your new street is), if you plan your move well. One of the most important stages of this process is getting rid of all the stuff and paraphernalia that’s been gathering dust at your old place for years, so there is less to pack and then unpack. You can give some of these items to charity, but you should toss the junkier stuff out. You can easily rent a bin to collect and hold all that trash, and arrange with a junk removal company to have it removed, or remove it yourself. The bottom line is you should really say goodbye to your old clutter and start living in your home with a truly clean slate!