Unpacking: How To Get Settled In Quickly

Boxes can be organized into two sections in each room: “open” and “put aside”. Unwrap fragile items over padding in case they’re accidentally dropped. Flatten every piece of packing paper to ensure that nothing is wrapped in them. Plug-in a few lamps before its too dark to see what you’re doing.

UnpackingStart by unpacking the boxes marked open first or most important. If you’ve labeled and numbered each one, you shouldn’t have a problem finding what you need.

Partners may have different styles when it comes to unpacking. One might want to unpack everything right away, the other might be more deliberate. Instead of fighting, take advantage and delegate accordingly.


After putting soap, toilet paper, and hand towels in the bathroom, add the shower curtain, bath towels, bar soap/body wash, and hair products. Pack these items together.


Get the bedrooms set up early – you’ll be glad you did at the end of the day. Moving is stressful on children, so having their room setup quickly helps them adjust.

Beds will need to be reassembled unless you are paying the movers to do it. This will need to be arranged before the move. You’ll have to decide whether paying them extra is worth it or not. Once reassembled, the sheets, blankets, and pillows can be added.

Set up a nightlight in the hallway the first few nights until everyone gets more familiar with their surroundings. The path to the bathroom should be clear so no one trips.


Put everything away as quickly as possible in a logical manner. Start putting items directly into cabinets, drawers, or pantry. Label the kitchen drawers with sticky notes until everyone gets used to the new arrangement. Nothing has to be perfect right now, the goal is just to have a functional kitchen again so you can begin cooking.

Organize your kitchen by placing tools and equipment where they’ll be used most often. For example, pots, pans, and utensils can be stored in cabinets next to the stove. Plates and glassware are best in cabinets next to the sink or dishwasher. Cleaning supplies can go below the sink.

Items used on a regular basis should be stored within arm’s reach. Examples include dishes, glassware, pots, pans, and utensils. Anything used less than once per week, such as cookie sheets and cake pans, can be placed in harder to reach places, such as high cabinets, low drawers, and deep corners.

Every item should have a designated spot so your kitchen stays organized. Keep surfaces cleared so you’ll have plenty of space for cooking and serving.

Equipment and supplies used once a year or so can go to deep storage. These are usually items only used for holidays and parties, such as punch bowls, serving platters, and turkey roasters. They can be left inside of the boxes down in the basement, garage, or attic.

To maximize your space, shelving, racks, and containers can be used for accommodating food, utensils, and other items.

Remember that your arrangement doesn’t have to be perfect in the beginning. You can always make changes later.

Children Can Help

Children can be kept busy by unpacking their own stuff. It gives them ownership of their new space, plus it teaches responsibility and organization. Children usually enjoy opening boxes. By keeping them busy, you’ll have more time to organize the rest of your place.

Children enjoy playing with empty boxes and leftover materials, especially bubble wrap. The packing paper can be used for craft projects and drawings. They can even be wadded up and used for a snowball fight or a game of basketball.

If Movers Are Unpacking

Some moving companies do offer an unpacking service for an extra fee. This consists of opening boxes, unwrapping items, placing them on a flat surface, and removing debris.

If you do hire them to unpack, you’re going to be left with a disorganized place once they’re finished. They’ll unpack every box, but you’ll be responsible for putting most of the stuff away. They will take clothing from your wardrobe boxes and hang them in the closet. Just make sure the boxes are in the right rooms.

They’re trained to unpack quickly, but you can tell them to be more cautious if you think they’re being a bit careless. One or two items being damaged isn’t a big deal, but a lot of them is. Call the moving company if you don’t think they’re responding to your instructions.

Crated Items and Appliance Hookups

If large mirrors, glass-top tables, or artwork were crated, a special services person will be sent to un-crate them. They can also also hook up the refrigerator, ice maker, washer, and dryer.

Moving Heavy Furniture

Use sliders or cardboard to move heavy furniture across carpet and hardwood floors. Lift up one side and place the slider underneath the legs, then lift the other side and do the same. This is at least a two person job. Even if you’ve planned the furniture arrangement, you could change your mind later on.


Much has to be done once you move in, so cooking may not be a priority. Fast food may be unhealthy, but it’s convenient. Besides, you’ll likely be burning off a lot of calories during this time because there’s so much to do. Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Use paper plates, plastic utensils, and cups if need be. The last thing you need at this point are dishes to wash. If you don’t have a refrigerator yet, use a cooler for storing drinks. A neighbor or two might also bring food as a welcoming gift.

Removing Boxes And Supplies

Unpackers will take all the materials and empty boxes with them if it’s stated in the contract. If another move is in the near future, you may want to save some packing supplies and boxes. Flatten and bind the boxes so they’ll take up less space.

Another option is to sell them. This is a great way to recoup some of your initial investment. Here are two marketplaces where you can do this:

You can also give them away to someone who wants them. Craigslist is a popular way to advertise free boxes. The last option is to have them recycled.

Arranging And Decorating

You might think that decorating isn’t high on the priority list, but it really helps to get everyone comfortable with their new surroundings. Something as simple as hanging up a few pictures can make a difference.

Ask friends and family for for decorating ideas. Magazines and books are helpful as well. Perhaps taking a nap and getting your mind off the house for awhile might spark your creativity.

Take some time to get a good feel for your place before decorating or making any major renovations. This will allow you to get more familiar with the space and come up with more ideas.

Use colors you haven’t used before. Arrange your furniture differently. Be creative – a new start calls for changes.


Finish unpacking in a timely manner – procrastinating will only make it more difficult. Unpack one room at a time. Make a to-do list each day and stick to it.

As a rule of thumb, unpacking takes twice as long as packing, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a few weeks. If you only have nights and weekends available, do a little each day.

If starting a new job, delay the starting date for awhile if possible so you can work on getting settled in.

Take some time to relax and enjoy your new home. Do something together as a family.

Have food and drink for movers and anyone else helping you move. They’ll be grateful and work harder, faster, and more careful.

Do whatever you can to make your family feel at home right away. This could mean setting up the family/living room first so they can watch TV or hanging up decorations from the old house. Surround yourself with familiar items like pictures of friends and family.

Listen to some music to help you get through packing and bring some familiarity to your home.

A new place may not feel like home for six months or longer.

Mow the grass and attend to the landscaping if need be.

Wait a week or so after the move before opening any bottles of wine so the sediment can settle. To prevent the cork from drying out, store the appropriate bottles horizontally. Ones with screw tops can be stored horizontally or vertically.

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