So you survived the moving day-the worst is over, right?  Not necessarily.  It’s daunting to be surrounded by boxes and boxes of your things, especially after you might be exhausted from an all day move.  Below are some strategies I’ve used to ensure we don’t spend an entire month staring down the box piles.

1.) Prioritize which rooms need to be done first. Given how overwhelming it can be to move into a new house with more rooms than you might be used to, you’ll need to prioritize which rooms should come first.  For me, our bedroom is always first priority.  After all, at the end of the day, you don’t want to be climbing over boxes just to get in bed.  If you followed my advice regarding labeling your boxes (and if you didn’t, right now you’ll be wishing you did), it should be easy to tell which boxes belong in the bedroom.  If you do nothing else that first night, set up your bedroom and move those boxes out!

2.)  Go room by room, not box by box. This is another area where if you didn’t follow Tip #1, you’ll be wishing you had.  It’s a lot easier to go room by room than to just start opening random boxes and taking things into each room.  Not only does it waste time and energy taking things from place to place, it also leads to a lot of reorganizing when, say, you find that giant box of kitchen items after you’ve already set everything up.  If you followed Tip #1, all of your boxes should be in each room, allowing you to unpack each room in full before moving on.  Finally, even finishing one room can give you a sense of accomplishment and keep your spirits up as you continue to plow through.

3.)  Don’t be afraid of storage. Every time I’ve moved, I’ve always “traded up” so to speak for more space.  You’d think this would mean I could have everything out on display, right?  Not the case.  I’m not a fan of cluttered spaces, and for this reason, I’m not afraid of storing things, whether it’s in the basement or in a storage center.  We all have things that we don’t use every day.  Why stress yourself out trying to make it fit when it could easily be stored?  As you go room to room, start a box for things that don’t need to be out on a day to day basis and work to find a solution to store these things if space does not allow.

4.)  Set a goal for yourself. I know people that moved months ago who still haven’t finished unpacking.  I understand it takes some time to get to know your space and figure out what you want.  However, for me, I wanted everything unpacked within one week of moving in.  Keeping to this goal helped me to prioritize rooms and other weekly activities.  Unpacking within one week is NOT an unreasonable time frame.  In fact, I even logged some extra hours at work during this time and still managed to meet this goal.

5.)  Save the decorating for last. I’ve made this mistake dozens of times.  You come upon your box with all of your pictures/curtains and want to start hanging things up.  However, if you’re not totally unpacked, you run the risk of having to take things down as you continue to rearrange.  Once I cleared all the boxes out of each room, I was able to really step back and see if the furniture made sense where we had it and also assess where we needed pictures aas well as what curtains to use.  I know decorating makes everything feel more homey, however, save this for last if you value your walls and don’t want to put in nails unnecessarily.  🙂

6.)  Share the burden. When it comes to unpacking, I tend to be pretty territorial.  However, it’s unreasonable to think that I could unpack Jared’s office boxes and put things where he wants them.  Have an honest talk with your spouse/roommates about who is responsible for what.  If there’s something they want to be involved in, like setting up the kitchen, find out first before you start.  Also, be honest about your expectations as far as when you expect things to be unpacked.  It’ s not overbearing at all to say that you are hoping to have all boxes out by Sunday, for instance.  Setting goals together helps everyone stay on track.

To be honest, I secretly enjoy the unpacking process.  Take the time to realize how much fun it is to set up your things in a new space.  If you’re organized and stay on track, unpacking can happen quickly and efficiently, while still leaving you time to have a life!