Sold! You’ve bought a new house or moved into a new apartment, and now it’s time to unpack. Do you unpack just the essentials first, or go room to room?
Before you get lost among all the boxes, consider these tips from organizing experts on how to make unpacking as stress-free as possible.
Prepare by packing properly
“Unpacking can only be as easy as how you pack,” says Denise Davis, owner of highly rated Effective Organizing Solutions in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
She suggests labeling boxes to indicate the contents and the room in which they belong.
“I recently moved, and I got those little index cards that are spiral bound where they all stay together, and labeled each pack with the room they were in,” she says. She then labeled each box with a number and wrote it on the corresponding card.
Erin Kelly, owner of highly rated Arranged by Erin in Chicago, prefers color coding boxes with rooms.
“Get color labels. Whether you use construction paper or stickers, color code each room and box so movers put the right color in the right room,” she says.
Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton, owner of highly rated Organizing Maniacs in Tysons Corner, Virginia, suggests unpacking one room at a time to keep stress at a minimum.
“Some people unpack quickly, but other people it can take them six months to completely unpack,” she says. “If you completely finish one room, when you get frustrated with unpacking another room, you can go back to the finished room and it can be a peaceful place.”
Make a playlist to get in the moving groove
Sometimes all you need is a little music to get you in the mood.
Sgrott-Wheedleton says that creating a playlist of upbeat music helps to keep you moving. She suggests picking out songs you love that you know will keep you in a positive mood when you start feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or bored.
Kelly says sometimes people become overwhelmed when unpacking because of the empty boxes that start to pile up.
“Make sure you have a plan on what to do with your boxes,” she says. “Pick a place, maybe a corner of the garage or a specific room, and put the boxes there.”
After you’re done unpacking, find a permanent home for the boxes. Davis says if you don’t plan on keeping them, break them down and drop them off at a recycling center.
Create a reward system
Make a goal, Sgrott-Wheedleton says.
“If I tell myself I’m going to unpack 10 boxes today, after I get done with those 10 boxes, I’ll reward myself with time outside or ice cream,” she says. “Make the reward whatever makes the person happy. Reward is the best way to motivate people.”