How to Make Unpacking Easy After a Move

The movers have loaded the last box on the moving truck, you wave goodbye to your old home, and you heave a sigh of relief. The big move is almost over.

Wait – not so fast! We hate to break it to you, but packing up was the easy part. Now comes the daunting task of unpacking all of your stuff, organizing it, and making sure that nothing gets lost along the way. Luckily, we have you covered! These 13 tips are the most comprehensive guide to staying sane and making the unpacking process easy after you move.

Clean before you start

If you have the keys to your new place, consider going over ahead of time to clean out the bathroom or the kitchen (at the minimum) before moving day. You never know what kind of cleaning situation you could be walking into, and it’ll be that much easier to move everything in without worrying about having to clean up later.

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Establish an unpacking schedule

Simply put, set a deadline for yourself! As daunting as unpacking will seem at first, don’t push it off! The longer that you leave boxes unpacked, the harder that it will be to feel settled in at your new place. Set the maximum number of days that you want to spend unpacking, and stick to it!

Unpack your “open first” box

Chances are that you packed an “open first” or a “moving day” box containing all the essentials that should cover you for the next couple of days – a toothbrush, a few changes of clothing, toilet paper, soap, etc. Unpack everything in that box, and store it in the appropriate location for easy access.

Set up your bathrooms

Setting up your bathrooms should be your first stop. Start with the basics, and make sure that your bathrooms are stocked with the bare essentials – toilet paper, towels, soap, a shower curtain, and a shower rod. After a long day of moving, a warm shower will be just what you need!

Next in line… the kitchen

To start, hook up all of your appliances (believe us – your microwave will come in handy the first week after moving). Unpack all of your food first so that you and your moving team will have enough food to fuel the fire over the next couple of days. Move on to unloading dishes, cups, and silverware. Next, unload any small kitchen appliances (like blenders or toasters) and pots and pans, as you see fit. If you plan to order in a lot over the next couple of days, you might want to move onto something else.

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Set up your bed

After all of your hard work, setting up your bed will probably be one of the last things that you’ll want to do. Even if you don’t set up your entire bed frame on the first night, set up a makeshift mattress with clean pillows, sheets, and blankets so that you can sink right in after a long day of hard work.

Sort boxes into their appropriate rooms

As a packing pro, you’ve labeled every moving box and which room it belongs in (and if not, Smart Move Tape works great for this!). As you unpack, sort your boxes by placing them in the room that they belong in. From there, you should have a better sense of which room may need more unpacking attention by the number of boxes in the room.

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Don’t unpack one box at a time

Once all of your moving boxes and furniture are moved into the appropriate rooms, open up all of the boxes in the room. Sort all of the items in your moving boxes into categories (example: bedroom dresser contents, nightstand contents, closet contents), so that you can plan where everything should go in the room before you put it away.

Set up your lamps

If your new place lacks for overhead lighting, you’ll want to make sure that you have a few lamps set up in dimly-lit areas. While daylight is in your favor, find your spare light bulbs and distribute lamps across your new place.

Purge… again

We know, we know – you already packed and purged when you moved. However, moving into a new space can put a new perspective on things. You may come across items that you no longer need or even belongings that don't fit into your new space. If you can’t find a spot for something in your new place, don’t be afraid to toss it.


Keep all of your packing materials together

After unpacking, your home will probably look like a mini tornado. Expect that empty moving boxes, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts will be EVERYWHERE. Keep yourself sane, and establish one place, possibly the garage or even a corner of a room, to house all of your used packing supplies. From there, you can decide what materials you may be able to reuse (possibly for your next move) and what should be recycled.

Enlist family and friends to help out with unpacking

After all, many hands make light work! While unpacking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, you probably have a few friends who could be tempted by free beer (if age appropriate!) and pizza in exchange for a few hours worth of furniture assembly. The more, the merrier!

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Give yourself some time to breathe

While we recommend unpacking as soon as possible, it’s also important to take some time to refresh! After a long moving day, unwind with our favorite movies to watch on moving day, or listen to our moving day playlist. Either way, it’ll give you the charge that you need for another day of unpacking!

There you have it! With these tips, you'll be well on your way to an easier unpacking experience at your new place.


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