Having just made a move to a much bigger place, I've been spending a lot of time looking up helpful tips for unpacking after a move. I never realized how much stuff the Better Half and I had squeezed into such a small space, and now that we have tons of room, it's hard to know where to put everything. Because the idea of living out of boxes for longer than a month or so is most definitely not awesome, everyone who moves somewhere new can likely do with some help, so if you need some tips for unpacking after a move, I hope these will motivate you too!
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Whether you do it as you're packing up your old place or as you're moving into your new place, cutting the clutter is one of the best tips for unpacking after a move. If you spy something you haven't used or worn or even looked at in years, chuck it. If it's something you've had in storage because you didn't have space, it's okay to keep it, but if you forgot you even owned it, then it's just one less thing to unpack.
Hopefully, as you packed up your old place, you created an inventory so you know exactly what you have. Doing so is essential for two reasons: it lets you keep up with what you own and what's in each box, and it helps you make sure the movers haven't lost anything. Even if your inventory consists of detailed scribbles on your boxes, start checking. It helps with the rest of the process.
See, if you have an inventory, then you know what's most important. That way you can start by unpacking the essentials you need the most. For instance, bathroom toiletries, medications, underwear, your computer (if you're me!) – all of those things are necessities. You need those boxes right away.
What rooms are most important to you? Most people make sure that their kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms are put together first. You don't have to unpack all the little details and decorations, but you'll want pots, pans, plates and glasses for the kitchen; towels, washcloths, and toiletries for the bathroom; and linens, pillows, alarm clocks, and lamps for the bedroom. Even if you're waiting on other rooms and smaller details, make sure each box belongs to a room.
When it comes to unpacking all the finer things, putting up pictures, adding décor, et cetera, take it one room at a time. If you have a dozen open boxes in three different rooms, you'll quickly get overwhelmed and come to a standstill – and then you will end up living out of boxes for a while. Take it slowly, decide what's most important after your necessities, and unpack and decorate one room completely before moving on to the next.
To that end, make sure you and the people with whom you live have designated tasks. For instance, one person can be charged with rearranging furniture, someone else can put up wall décor and pictures, and someone else can take care of all the appliances and gadgets. That way you're all working together to get all those endless details completed.
You'll have to buy some things. For instance, you might need a new trashcan, some cleaning supplies, or even a plug for the tub. However, if it's not hugely important, just make a list. Buy it when you need it. If you need a shelf for the bathroom, don't go buy it until you're ready to start actually decorating the bathroom. This will also keep you from going to the store, buying a million things, spending way too much money, and creating extra clutter.
As you unpack, don't just leave things sitting. Once something comes out of a box, put it away – and don't just shove it somewhere, unless it legitimately needs to go in storage. “A place for everything and everything in its place” is a cliché that often drives me insane, but it is helpful when you move. By putting everything in its proper place as you unpack it, you're making your new place clean and free of clutter from the start.
And as you unpack each box, get rid of it. Store it if you plan to keep your boxes, give it away if you know someone else who is moving, or break it down for recycling if you don't need it. There's no reason to let empty boxes clutter your new house; you'll be too tempted to start filling them up with odds and ends, “just for the moment.”
Finally, don't be afraid to get help. Unpacking is hard! Whether you're downsizing or upsizing, you probably have a lot of stuff. If you need help hanging pictures, moving furniture, or mounting TVs, your friends are likely happy to help you – and just remind them of the awesome housewarming party you'll throw when everything's complete!
Your space will come together beautifully; you will not have a fortress of boxes haunting your dreams for the rest of your life – I promise. Patience, a plan, and more patience are your best tools. Remember, the picture you have of your beautiful new place is all the motivation you need to tackle every box and bag and basket. How long does it take you to unpack?
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