Easy Tips to Make Unpacking Easier and Stress-Free

By VanLines.com Staff

Packing is not the most favorite moving-day activity.

But unpacking doesn't rate far behind.

Whether you're moving a family of five, or yourself and a couple of dogs, you can feel overwhelmed when facing a house full of unpacked moving boxes.

It can even overwhelm a moving expert like Sandy Payne, author of "Move Your House." Facing her first unpacking job and a bunch of boxes with vague labels, Payne promptly employed a disastrous "take-everything-out-of-every-box-at-once" method.

Says Payne, "After weeks of confusion, long hours and very intense work, we managed to get our house set up in time for the delivery of our second child."

Before you even get started, have a game plan:
  • Draw up a system for nothing any damaged items.

  • Start with the rooms you use first --  the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms (and if you have kids, do their rooms first so they're occupied while you unpack the rest of the house).

  • Make sure anyone who's helping knows the gameplan.

  • Pull together pen, paper and designate "discard" and "donate" areas and associated boxes.

  • And before you pack, use packing paper to wrap items, but newspaper to fill in empty spaces in boxes. This way you know you can just throw away the paper, but that they're an item wrapped in the packing paper that you need to unwrap.

  • Unpack ALL the boxes in each room before going on to the next room. Unpack each box completely before moving on to the next box, and get rid of the box. You'll feel better as there's less clutter in each room.

Living Room:
  • Set up functional zones for working and set those areas with area rugs or accent walls.

  • Make your space look better by closing stacks of DVD's and other stored items behind cabinet doors or in decorative boxes.

  • Get the big items set up the way you want them before tackling smaller items like knickknacks.

  • Most people underestimate how much storage space they need, so don't buy storage items until you know exactly how much you need to store.

  • Try to put all of your things away, ie, off the counters, so that the space looks less cluttered.

  • Make sure your storage products accommodate hard-to-store things.

  • On the fridge, create a family message area with schedules, calendars and to-do lists that everyone can read.

  • Before unpacking this room in particular, clean it, starting with the ceiling.

  • Use a color code system to mark everyone's items -- each family member gets a different colored basket, bin, towel or hanger.

Throughout the House:
  • Make a list of notecards that have simple 10-minute tasks on them. When you have free time, do them! Designate how much time you need to complete the task in the corner of each card.

  • Work in intervals and take frequent breaks.

  • Keep traffic flow between rooms free of obstacles – especially those that have wheels.