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Well, it’s been 2 weeks since we “moved in” to our new house in Colorado (we arrived a few days before our stuff did) and I’m pretty pleased with myself that we’ve managed to unpack in a fraction of the time that it took us to pack: 6 weeks to pack, 2 weeks to unpack (save for a few boxes of books in the office that are waiting for a certain someone to anchor the bookcase to the wall).
I haven’t done a move in 7 years, and we had a lot more stuff this time around but I think I managed to get a few things right.
Tips for Getting Organized After a Move
Ask for Help
We had help with meals, childcare, cleaning, unpacking, and moral support (many supportive and helpful phone calls and texts from family members and good friends) on both ends of the journey – before we left New Mexico and after we arrived in Colorado.
There is no shame in asking for help. I found that many people are happy to help once they know how or with what! We had neighbors we just met offer to take our kids for the whole day on the day our truck arrived. This allowed us to focus intently on our task and the kids to felt like they were being cared for instead of neglected.
As the boxes and other items are brought into the house, put them in the room they need to be unpacked in so you are not wandering about the house looking for certain boxes. This also helps you prioritize and create a mental inventory of what rooms have the most work or the most important items.
I found that it was least overwhelming to unpack one room at a time. I felt more accomplished at completing a room than I did unpacking random boxes throughout the house.
We chose to make the most important room liveable first – for us, this was the family room/kitchen combo area. The kitchen provided nourishment and because it was organized we could take care of the sustenance our body needed. The family room provided a place to relax and take a break as well as an area for the kids to occupy themselves.
Clean each room after it is unpacked. Unpacking and bringing in boxes tracks dirt and dust throughout a room. A quick wipe down of counters and vacuuming or mopping of floors really helped us feel the room was complete and ready for us.
I am able to concentrate so much easier on the task at hand without getting overwhelmed when I have areas of the house that are neat and tidy.
Items Not Needed Anymore
As you unpack, set aside a box for items that need to be donated. We “decluttered” as much as possible before packing up our old house but we still found several boxes full of items we felt we no longer needed.
There is no sense unpacking and putting this items away in a new house. Instead we set those items aside in boxes in the garage and took a load over to the Goodwill donation center.
What to Do with Empty Boxes
Allocate one area for unpacked boxes that need to be recycled or flattened and stored. Make sure this room is out of the way and won’t create visual clutter that can overwhelm. For us this room was an area of the basement.
If bubble wrap or packing paper is being saved, flatten those items out and stack them in a large box that will not be flattened down or recycled. We spent so much money on packing materials that are used for such a short period of time that it feels good to be able to save these items for later when we know we’ll need them again – saving us on cash and the planet on trash!
What are your best tips for quickly getting settled after a big move?