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The Unpacking Order: What Should You Unpack First?

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the correct order to unpack your boxes

After the movers leave, you may breathe a sigh of relief. However, your move is not over if your home is piles of boxes and disassembled furniture parts. It's essential to get your belongings unpacked as soon as possible so you can begin enjoying life in your new home.

The best way to successfully unpack all of your belongings at your new home is to have a plan well in advance. If you didn't have a plan for your packing process, then you know how crazy things can be without having an order. By prioritizing, you can more easily unpack your goods and get settled in your new home.

TIP: Don't procrastinate! After a long, exhausting move, the last thing you want to do is tackle those towering stacks of boxes, but keep yourself motivated. The faster you start unpacking, the faster you'll finish.

Before moving day, create a plan detailing where everything should go

You should also make a list of the items that you will need for your first day. If you know where these items are, you won't get stressed out looking for them amid all of your other boxes.

Create an unpacking schedule and stick to it. By unpacking everything according to a plan, you might not be as overwhelmed as you would be if you were to face a house full of boxes with no method for unpacking.

  • Plan out what rooms you will unpack first and when
  • Set a deadline to finish each room by
  • Assign a certain time per day to work on the project
  • Stay organized throughout the process

TIP: It will be almost impossible to unpack everything on the day you move in. Remember to not overdo it by trying to unpack your entire household in one day.

Unpack your boxes in the proper order by room

When creating your unpacking schedule, consider what areas of your home are most essential to your day and begin there.

The first step of unpacking is to unload all of the large and bulky furniture that will impede your daily life -- beds, sofas, dining tables. Once the large items are unpacked and moved to their right places, you can focus on unpacking individual rooms. Always unpack the most important rooms and commonly-used rooms first.

But how do you determine which items are your most important ones and which ones can wait a few days before being unpacked?

  • Go through your inventory list and prioritize each room. The rooms that need to be used on a consistent basis and with a higher frequency, like the bathrooms and the kitchen, should be given priority over other rooms like the living room and dining room.

  • Organize your boxes by room and place each box where it belongs. Before you even begin unpacking, move all your boxes to the room they belong. This will help you organize your belongings and unpack each room in an orderly fashion without haphazardly opening boxes to find the items you need.

  • Determine which items you can't live without and unpack those first. These things can include your toothbrush, food, cooking tools, bedding to sleep with and a change of clothes. Once you have the most important items unpacked, you can start working on the lower priority items.

TIP: If unpacking seems overwhelming on your own, invite some friends over and host an unpacking party.

Unpacking your kitchen

Since the kitchen is often the central hub of any home, and because you will have to eat at some point, this should be the first room you work on.

  • First unpack any necessities, such as silverware, and your most-used appliances, like the coffeemaker
  • Place all of your pots, pans and dishes into the cabinets
  • Sort through and put away any perishables

Things you can set aside until later: Any infrequently used fragile glasses and fine china can be kept boxed up to avoid breakage.

Unpacking your bedrooms

After a hard day's work, you will want (and need) a good night's rest. Accordingly, the bedroom should be the next room you unpack. You should have already set up the bed frame, headboard and mattress. Find your bed linens and pillows as you will need them for a good night's sleep.

Put aside a couple changes of clothes for your first few days without unpacking all of your clothes.

Things you can set aside until later: You don't need to unpack your full closet right away. Before unpacking, confirm that you have enough hangers. Carefully remove each item from the wardrobe box and put it directly into the closet. If you put your clothes on the floor first, they could get wrinkled or dirty.

Unpacking your bathrooms

While you should unload the essential items (toilet paper and hand soap) upon arriving, all of your other toiletries can be unloaded later in the day. Be sure you do this before you go to sleep though. You probably won't want to dig through boxes to find your toothpaste after a long and tiring moving day.

Things you can set aside until later: Anything you won't use in the first week in your new home -- an extensive make-up collection or seasonal towels -- can be stored in a linen closet until you can sort through these items and organize them to your liking.

Unpacking lamps, mirrors and other fragile items

Since delicate items can be tricky to pack, they can also be tricky to unpack. You don't want to leave them in boxes that can be easily kicked over or damaged.

Lampshades, lamps, and the light bulbs and hardware are often packed separately. It may be a good idea to bring the boxes to the individual rooms that each lamp will go in and assemble them there. Your delicate lamps will be less likely to get damaged if they aren't moved around outside of their boxes too much.

Mirrors also require special care when removing them from boxes. Instead of placing the box directly on the floor, put it over foam sheets or cushions. Then, open the box and slowly take the mirror out. Don't pull too hard or force if it's wedged into the box. If necessary, carefully cut the box open until the mirror can be safely removed.

Unpacking everything else

By the end of your first day in your new home, you should have all of the necessities unpacked. In next days and weeks, you can unpack everything else.

Once you have the interior of your home set up and packed away, you can shift your focus to the garage and outside of your home. Before you unpack your garage items, install sufficient shelving or get good storage boxes to help you keep it organized. The time frame for setting up your outdoor furniture and other fixtures should depend on the season. If you move in the fall or winter, you might want to keep your outdoor items in the garage or storage facility until they can be brought outside.

Kelly Martini  Posted by Kelly Martini on December 6, 2018

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