Unpacking Tips

Unpacking Tips

Unpacking tips can help minimize the pain of the unavoidable evil that is moving day. No one wants to get stuck living out of boxes. Before you’re up to your head in packing peanuts, use these steps as a guide to make move-in day chores a bit more palatable.

A Clean Home is a Happy Home

Before you start rifling through those boxes, put some elbow grease into cleaning your new home. Perhaps the previous owners, renters or landlord vacuumed and wiped down the counters (if you’re lucky), or maybe your home is brand new. Either way, while you have the space clear of belongings, dust, sweep, vacuum, mop and wipe down your counter tops and cabinets. There’s no shame in being a ‘grime-fighter’. Rest assured you don’t have to clean the bathroom right after it’s been set up.

Check the List

Before anything is opened, make sure you have a copy of your home inventory list to check against boxes as you unpack. Carefully check off the contents of each box while proceeding with the unpacking process.

Your Survival Kit

To start with, unpack the “essentials” box. This should be one of the first boxes off of the truck (because it was the last box loaded on) or perhaps you transported it with you in the car. This box should contain everything necessary for the first couple of days in your new home. Your survival kit should enable you to provide small meals, clean, deal with small emergencies and possibly entertain while you are unpacking the rest of your home, or if the movers are delayed. Your survival kit should include:

  • Toilet paper
  • First-aid kit and prescriptions
  • Flashlight / candles / matches
  • Garbage bags
  • Scissors, box openers and a portable tool kit
  • All-purpose cleaner (sealed)
  • Paper plates, paper towels napkins and plastic utensils
  • Water bottles and snacks
  • Sheets, pillows, towels
  • Toiletries
  • Clean clothes and pajamas
  • Important paper work such as medical records, passports, leases, financial info., etc.
  • Cash
  • Medication

Choose Your Initial Spaces

What rooms are important to you? Most people make sure their bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms are set up first. Don’t worry about unpacking the décor and small details. Instead, start digging through those boxes marked with “open first” or a star.

Essentials should be unpacked first in each of the rooms you’ve chosen before you whip out the family photos. For instance, you’ll want pots, pans, plates and glasses for the kitchen; towels, washcloths, and toiletries for the bathroom; and linens, pillows, alarm clocks, and lamps for the bedroom.

Even if you’re waiting on other rooms and smaller details, make sure each box is located in the proper room.

One at a Time

When it comes to unpacking all of the finer things, adding décor, hanging up pictures, etc. keep it to one room at a time! Personalizing is important, but if you rifle through a dozen open boxes in four different rooms, you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed and come to a standstill. This is how people end up living out of boxes for a month or two!

Exhale and take the process slowly. Decide what is more important after your necessities. Unpack and decorate one room completely before moving on to another.

Divide and Conquer

Put together a list of tasks. Make sure you and all the people with whom you live have designated duties. Perhaps your son can be charged with rearranging furniture, your daughter can put up wall décor and your spouse can take care of the appliances. Teamwork will help accomplish all those seemingly endless tasks on your “to do” list.

Rest in Peace – May We Suggest You Start with the Bedroom?

Set up your sleeping quarters right away. Assemble your bed; dress it with fresh linens and your favorite pillow. At the end of a long day, having a clean, cozy bed to collapse into is imperative. Remember to set that alarm clock before you doze off to dream land.

Gather Around the Kitchen Next!

You’ve got to eat, right? Typically, the kitchen contains the lion’s share of boxes. Get out the plates, glassware, utensils, pots, pans and dish soap! (You’re probably tired of paper plates by now, it’s just extra trash)! Getting the kitchen unpacked and cleared away will make a noticeable dent in the moving process.

Definitely Not Least!

Next, unpack the bathroom. (We hope you’ve already stashed the toilet paper in here when you unpacked the “survival kit”). You’ll feel more at home after you hang up the shower curtain, put out the shampoo and soap, fill the medicine cabinet and hang fresh towels.

Don’t Go Shopping Just Yet!

“Dang it!” You forgot to buy new trash cans. You also noticed you could use a couple of cleaning supplies and a plug for the bath tub. If it’s not an item you need urgently, add it to a list.

If you need side tables for your bedroom, don’t buy them until you’re ready to start decorating. This will prevent you from running to the store, overspending and buying superfluous items which may lead to clutter. You might later find that your significant other plans to get his or her mother’s antique side tables out of storage. Stick to your list and make one shopping trip.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

As you’re sorting through boxes, don’t leave your belongings idle on the ground. Once it’s out of the box, put it away. Don’t shove it somewhere for the time being out of convenience. We’ve all heard the cliché “a place for everything and everything in its place.” By putting belongings in their appropriate spot, you’re keeping your home clean and clutter free from the start!

Say Goodbye to Boxes

After you unpack each box, get rid of it! If you plan to keep your boxes, break them down and store them. If you know someone who is moving, give them away. Post an ad for “free moving boxes” on Craigslist or Freecycle for a community member to pick up. If they’re in good condition, you can also drop them off at a local U-Haul.

If you have no need and no takers, break them down and set them aside in one area until you’re ready to recycle. There’s no reason to let empty boxes clutter your new home. You may be tempted to fill them up with this, that and other knick-knacks, “just for the moment.”

Friendship Means Caring and Sharing… the Workload

Moving is a tough task. Most people can empathize with how difficult unpacking can be. If you’re like most Americans, you have a lot of stuff! Whether you need help mounting TVs, assembling furniture, or someone to watch the pets and kids, a true friend is happy to lend a helping hand! Just be sure to reciprocate and promise to throw a fantastic housewarming party when you’re settled.


Patience and planning are your best friends as you move through each unpacking tip. Take lots of breaks and picture your beautiful new home completed to stay motivated. Once you’ve unpacked the essentials, set aside a couple of hours each day to explore the area and get to know neighbors! Simple Moving Labor wants your move to be easy and stress-free as possible. Do you have any unpacking tips? Did any of ours help you? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.