Tips From a Pro: How to Unpack After Moving

August 12, 2021Moving Tips
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

When you get to the unpacking part of the relocation, know that almost everything has come to its place – you should just pick your methods on how to unpack after moving to finish with one of the most stressful events of your life. As you start to unfold your boxes, you’ll soon start to unfold a new chapter of your life, so follow our simple guide and make sure everything gets unpacked promptly and adequately.

All those big questions about deciding where to live, how to tell your loved ones that you are relocating, determining your moving budget, and so on should be behind you by the point of the unpacking. There is so little work left, so make sure to summon a little more strength for a few final tasks – it will be worth it.

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Unpacking After a Move – Go Back to the Beginnings

An organized packing process comes before every successful unboxing – in order to unbox quickly end efficiently, you must pack your belongings with unpacking on your mind. That means that several actions should be taken into consideration during the pre-relocation phase of your move to a different state:

  • All your boxes should be labeled. It would be of immense help whether you decide to hire long-distance relocation services or choose to relocate by yourself – both your movers and you will know in which area to put each box. You could write down the room’s name on cartons or use some color code system that will connect boxes with the space they should be put down.
  • Pack the box with essentials that will come with you, not with movers. Boxing up your necessary toiletries, medications, documentation, bedding, cleaning products, and alike separately is one of the most known packing tips. Know that this will be the first box you’ll unload.
  • Declutter and get rid of unwanted items. The damaged ones you should throw right away, but the rest you could sell, gift, or donate to the people in need. Search different sites (GoodWill, for example) and see how you could donate electronics, clothes, or even toys your children had outgrown. Decluttering has multiple benefits – not only will it help you move efficiently, but you will also pay less because you’ll reduce the weight of your inventory.
  • Clean each item. All your major or small appliances, dishes, clothes should be cleaned properly before the move.
A man labeling a box before a long-distance moving
Labeling is the key to organizing unboxing

Organization – Your Ladder to Success

So, you gave a tip to your movers, waved them goodbye, and closed the doors of your new home. Now what? You shouldn’t begin with the unboxing process right away if you don’t want to run around like a headless chicken. From the attic to the basement, you must look through your house to visualize the space needed for your belongings. If it’s your first visit to a new home, you must decide about room layout, whether you are relocating to another state alone or with your family.

Next, you must make the unboxing system that will work the best for you – decide by when you want to finish with everything, which house area is the most important for you, will you dedicate a few hours to unboxing each day, or will you take the bull by its horns and unbox everything in the first week. It will all mostly depend on how much energy you have left for the finishing part of your relocation.

How Long Should It Take to Unpack After Moving?

The key is not to rush too much and tire yourself, but also not to prolong this task indefinitely. There is no need to experience more relocation stress than you already have, but there should be a deadline in your mind –  a date by which the unboxing must be finished. You could decide to throw a party, invite your neighbors and make friends in a different city – it will force you to have everything ready by the time guests arrive. Your deadline could also be the last day you could file a claim about your belongings to your cross-country relocation company, which is usually three months after you moved in.

A family taking a photo while unpacking after cross-country moving
Take your time to enjoy your newest home, but don't wait too long to start unboxing

Where Do I Start Unpacking After Moving – Finding a New Place for Your Essentials

Before your movers arrive with the rest of your stuff, you’ll get to your house with just the essential box – that is why it must contain all that you’ll be using for the next couple of days. There would be no question what to unbox first, so put away your toiletries and medications, essential kitchen utensils, and find a suitable space for all of your electronics.

Make sure that beds are one of the first furniture pieces to be assembled, whether by you or your movers when they arrive so that you have a nice and comfortable place to sleep after the long relocation day. As for the rest of your boxes, you should leave them for some of the next few days.

A bed unloaded and assembled after the long-distance move
Your bed should be unpacked as soon as possible, so you have a chance to relax

How to Unpack After Moving – Using Room by Room System When Arranging Your New Home

After all of your essentials are unpacked and the first day of your move-in is finished, the next on the list of things to do after the relocation is going through the rooms and emptying one box at a time. But, how to decide the order of unboxing? It depends on your lifestyle and areas that are more commonly used than others – if you are relocating with kids, you should keep in mind that children need stability and familiarity, so one of the first rooms to unbox would be theirs. On the other hand, if you are a workaholic and need a space for your work, your home office would be on the top of the unboxing list.

The general rule is – use the reverse boxing up order and finish first those rooms you utilize the most. The order we created is made by following the most common needs of one family or individual, but ensure to adapt it to yourself.

How to Unpack After a Move – Kitchen Comes First

Do you remember all the torment from packing all those fragile items, unplugging your appliances, and going through all those things you forgot about? Well, something similar awaits you again, but with much less intensity. However, remember that the kitchen will probably be the most complicated room to unbox. You could choose to organize your new cuisine once and for all, or you could put your belongings in preferable places and come back later to arrange them – it’s entirely up to you. If you wonder: “How do I unpack fast after moving?” the second option would be your answer.

If you moved into a tiny house or an apartment with a small kitchen, think of some creative storage ideas for your utensils. Don’t forget to pre-determine what will go in each cabinet and drawer – put those items you use more often in the more reachable areas, and find a place for all your small appliances, such as a toaster or a coffee maker. Don’t forget to transfer your utilities, if you already haven’t, so that you could plug in all your major appliances and get them ready to work.

Unpacking Tips for Your Bathroom

Your house should already have all bathroom necessities, such as the sink, shower cabin or tub, toilet, and cabinets. If you unpacked your essentials (toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and so on), you would be left with a small number of your bathroom belongings to unbox, like the rest of your beauty products and towels. As for the shower curtain, we suggest you don’t pack it at all, but buy a new one when you move in – it could be full of moisture and bacteria, which could damage both your health and your belongings.

How to Organize Your Bedroom Boxes?

Your bedroom will be full of your unpacked clothes, so it’s better to dive into it sooner rather than later. Ensure to organize right away at least the clothes for the current season – the rest could wait a few more weeks. The bedroom furniture needs to go next, with all the stuff you put in your nightstand and on the shelves, just make sure to leave decorations for last – give yourself a week or two to determine the best places for different pieces of decoration. The same rule goes for all your rooms.

Clothes unpacked and organized after long-distance moving
Unboxing clothes will give you a chance to organize your wardrobe the way you like

Living Room – Best Ways to Organize Furniture

Many relocation hacks related to this area of your home are connected to the one advice – find a space for essential furniture first, such as sofa and coffee table, and only then arrange the rest of your stuff, including the entertainment area. It could be tempting to plug in your TV to watch TV shows about cars or play the best racing games, but it will serve as a distraction, so prolong turning on your TV as long as you can.

Storage Spaces – Leave Your Non-Essential Things for Last

The best thing about organizing your storage spaces before the relocation day is that you’ll have everything sorted – the only task you’re left with is finding a proper space for them. Take your time without feeling guilty because those cartons don’t contain items you use daily. One more of our relocation tips – try to leave your belongings in relocation cartons. They are already labeled, which could be very useful in the future.

Tools unpacked and arranged after cross-country moving
Garage, attics, and basements should be unpacked last

How to Unload My Car?

If you choose to ignore all the benefits of car shipping and you opt against hiring a USA auto transport company so you could drive on famous routes in the USA, your car will probably be overfilled with your belongings. Again, it is necessary to have unboxing in mind when loading cartons in your vehicle – load ones from garage and basement first, and kitchen and bathroom last. That way, you will still be able to unbox your belongings following our room pattern.

On the other hand, if you choose a car shipping company to move a vehicle to another state, it may let you leave some of your belongings in the car, no matter what transportation option you chose – enclosed auto transport or an open trailer, door-to-door auto transport or terminal-to-terminal car shipping. We don’t recommend you pick this option because it could cause a problem with regular control. However, if you accept that option, don’t forget that those items you packed in your car should find a place in your home, too.

Two people packing boxes in the car for cross-country moving
Think about the order of unboxing when loading your car

A Few More Tips for Unpacking After a Move

We are soon getting to the end of this guide. However, there are a few more suggestions about unboxing that you should consider:

  • Keep your cartons on your way – it will force you to unbox them sooner. Putting them in the periphery of the house is one of the common moving mistakes.
  • Get all the help you can. If your kids are old enough, let them unbox their belongings and decorate their rooms the way they like.
  • Dedicate an area for those belongings you still don’t know where to put. You would find space for them after you finish with everything else.
  • Keep those packing materials you will use in the future, and recycle unwanted boxes.
  • Before you start with the unboxing, deep clean the whole house. It will be easier with all your furniture and other belongings out of the way.

If you need a few more ideas on where to begin and how to clean your newest living space, don’t miss watching the following video.

YouTube video

How Do I Unpack After a Move – The Last Relocation Question

When you are done with unboxing, your relocation is all over – well-done. You are finally free! There is nothing more that can stand in your way of exploring places and enjoying life in a different state. It is time to recharge your batteries, remember all the reasons you wanted to relocate, and begin a different chapter of your life the way you deserve – proud and happy. Good luck!

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