Top 10 Tips for Unpacking a Huge Move

By Laurel Brown
Special to Vanlines.com

Unpacking after moving is a time-consuming and often frustrating chore. After a huge move, unpacking can often seem completely overwhelming. You can, however, get through even the hugest unpacking jobs with some time management, organization and of course some good-old fashioned deep breathing. Check out our tips to help unpack those boxes and organized in your new home.  

1. Plan in advance. Make sure you have everything as organized as possible before you arrive at your new home. Label all of your boxes and list its contents, as well their intended destinations. Try to pack together all items for each room. Make sure you have a list of objects in each box for easy access under the move. Pre-planning will go a long way to easing your unpacking work.

2. Make space for your unpacking. If you know which rooms go with which boxes, send those boxes directly to the right places. Alternatively, if you have the space, create an unpacking “staging area” in a central location. Cluster all unopened boxes together and ferry belongings around the house as you unpack.

3. Pack and unpack in order of need. When packing, try to pack the most necessary items together. Kitchenware, bedding, children's toys and seasonally-appropriate clothing are often necessary within a few days of your move. Pack these belongings together and label the boxes clearly so that you can open them first. Next, unpack the secondary items needed within about a week, including furniture, small appliances and cleaning supplies. Leave your less needed belongings, such as knickknacks, books and seasonally-inappropriate clothes for the last stage of your unpacking.

4. Unpack storage containers and shelves. It is easier to unpack your belongings if you have somewhere specific to put them. Unpack and set up shelves, cupboards and storage containers as early as possible after your move.

5. Put away items as you unpack them. You will have lots of boxes after a huge move. Do not plan to open all of them at once —leaving their contents placed wildly around your new home. Instead, put your belongings in the appropriate locations-as soon as you unpack them!

6. Get rid of boxes as you empty them. Empty boxes are nothing but clutter. When a box is empty, break it down for storage or trash. By removing the empty boxes, you can continue to have sufficient space to unpack.

7. Get help. If unpacking your huge move is too much work, ask others to help you. Some moving companies will assist you with the unpacking (for a fee). Alternatively, you can ask friends or family to pitch in for a short period of time. Many people will happily unpack boxes for the price of a pizza or some beer.

8. Keep likely weather conditions in mind. The weather can have a major impact on your move. If the weather will be warm and dry, you may be able to spread your unpacking outdoors for greater space. If you expect bad unpacking weather, make sure you have sufficient indoor area.

9. Consider sleeping somewhere else. A huge move will take over your house, and it may be difficult to find a good place to sleep during the unpacking. If this is the case, find out if you have any other sleeping options, either in a hotel or with friends and family. The benefit to your sanity may be worth it.

10. Take it one step at a time. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the enormity of unpacking a huge move. You can combat this by tackling each step of the unpacking individually. Focus on one box and unpack that-simple, yet effective. Try not be distracted by the dozens of other boxes that surround you. Everything will be unpacked eventually, as long as you keep working and stay organized.