Unpacking your bags (and boxes, and bins) after a move

  |     |   Helpful Tips

Congratulations! You’ve changed your address, completed your move, and transferred all your belongings to your new apartment home. If you’re like many folks going through the relocation process, you started out with boxes that were neatly labeled and bins that were perfectly organized…and ended with loose stacks of paperwork and overflowing cartons of clothing. But fear not! With this “Unpacking” list, you’ll have your new home sorted in no time and set up so you can truly enjoy it.

1. First, get everything in the right place

If you hired professional movers, chances are you’re way ahead on this one—it’s far easier to get a grasp on everything you have (and where it might be placed) if you deposit all the boxes/bins/bags in the correct spot. You may find that you have more “stuff” than you have space in your designated room, but resist the urge to relocate items until you have a solid understanding of everything that’s supposed to land in a particular spot.

2. Create a “transitional” basket to get you through the first few days

If the idea of unpacking everything at once is overwhelming, set yourself up for success. Create a basket of items you’ll absolutely need in the first few days or week after you move. Add food, toiletries, bedding and a pillow and enough clothes to get you through until you can start unboxing your belongings in earnest.

3. Start with the kitchen and bathroom

The kitchen and bathrooms are critical spaces for every home, and even if the entire rest of your apartment is in disarray, you’ll feel better knowing you can find your plates, forks, and bath towels. Tackle these rooms first, creating little oases of calm amidst the Box Desert of your apartment.

PRO TIP: This also gives you your first opportunity to decide what you can downsize, if you find you have too much for your space. Unless you’re talking heirloom china, dishes are extremely inexpensive and easy to replace. Get rid of the items you don’t need (including those kitchen gadgets you’ve never unboxed after three moves!) and give yourself the gift of breathing room.

4. Get that bedroom looking beautiful!

Bedrooms are the next key area to focus on. While you can bunk down on a mattress (or the floor) for a few days, the sooner you get your bed assembled and your clothing organized, the saner you’ll feel. Plus, you’ll get a good night’s rest and be better prepared to tackle the main rooms. Once again, if you find you have too many clothes (or shoes!), consider donating or tossing the items you simply don’t wear. Given that most clothing falls under the category of “fast fashion” these days, you will be able to easily and inexpensively expand your wardrobe later.

5. Live it up in the living room

Your living room is likely where you’ll entertain both your family and friends, so as you consider how to set it up, don’t constrain yourself to the way you’ve always decorated. Try some different layouts for your couches and chairs and electronics, and make the most of the space you have, vs. trying to cram every item you own into the room. If there’s something you can donate easily—do so! New items will flow into your life when you need them.

6. Don’t rush…but don’t drag out the unpacking process, either

While the idea of unpacking everything at once can seem daunting, it’s best to stick with it day by day until you actually finish. We all know people who are still living out of boxes two years after their move…don’t be that person! Set up your space with joy and intention, and really own this lovely new home of yours. The positive energy of your lived-in space will fuel you in everything you do.

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