Here are my best tips for how to unpack quickly after moving. We have moved several times (without kids and with kids) and we have definitely learned a thing or two about packing and moving!
Moving can be such a stressful time. We have moved three times and two of those times have been with kids. I think that I have our moves down to a science. I had everything completely unpacked and the home decorated in just a few short days.
I know that moving can be hard and I wanted to put together a to-the-point post about how I packed an unpacked when we moved to our house (several years ago).
Before I start, let me give you my “moving history”
2004- My husband and I got married and moved to North Carolina. Our house was being built, so we stayed for a month with my brother and his two room-mates. My brother moved to the living room and let my husband and I have his room.
Later in 2004- We moved to our first house: I LOVED it! It was perfect for the two of us! (here we were then)
Two years later, in 2006, we found out that I was pregnant with our first son and my husband was transferred to a neighboring city, so we decided to move to a house closer to his work.
2008: When our oldest son was a year from Kindergarten, I wanted to move back to the school district where I taught. I wanted to be in the town where we were most comfortable, so we moved back to the town that our first house was in and we’ve been here ever since….
We had three boys at the time of the move.
So, anyway… back up a few years. When we moved to this house, we had three young boys.
I had our house completely unpacked (& decorated) in six days. This was longer than it took me for house #1, because for house #1, we did not have kids. With house #2, I was on bed rest with our second baby, so everyone had to unpack for me.
I have always unpacked really quickly. Most people ask us how we always unpack so quickly and here is the reason: IT IS ALL ABOUT HOW I PACKED. It saves us so much time!
I packed exactly the way that I would unpack. I packed up one drawer at a time (in every room in the house). When I packed up the kitchen, I did not separate into categories, I just packed it exactly how I had it at the old house. The cups all were put into one box (I didn’t even use much protective wrapping, I just moved it carefully. We left the very heavy stuff to the movers). I labeled it “Kitchen cups” and I had it unpacked in five minutes.
I think that this makes moving SO easy. They say that moving is one of the most stressful times in your life, but I think that if you make it easy, it can be less stressful.
When moving our clothes, I didn’t take them off of the hangers and fold them- I just put them into our car, on the hangers, and put them right on the new closet racks.
When moving toys, I just moved the whole toy box. I didn’t take it out- I just moved it. I moved the ottomans (filled with everything). I moved desks (filled).
If you pack just as you want to unpack, you will have it all ready when you get there- you just open a box and transfer it to its spot. (Don’t take your clothes out of the dresser, just take the drawers out and leave the clothes in the drawers- no need to re-stock them at your new house. They will be ready to go.)
My husband worked during moving week and I just unpacked while he was at work. The kids had a blast playing with the boxes and in a new house, so they were easy to keep entertained (they were very young at the time) I also worked on the house a lot at night. I stayed up until 2:00 am or 3:00 am until I had it done. I just can’t stand having boxes around, so I had to have it unpacked and “live-able” for our family as quickly as possible.
Here are a few more tips that I think might help you…
- – Plan on ordering meals (we had take-out… mostly from Subway) for about 3 days straight. The reason? Until you get your food moved in and your kitchen the way that you want it. It was also much easier to not have to prepare a meal for our family when I knew that I wanted to use my time unpacking. I also stocked up on non-refrigerated foods that we could eat for lunch quickly (PB&J, fruit, etc…)
- -Keep your cleaning supplies in a box that you can unpack first. You will want to have this box handy.
- – Have friends help you to move the boxes (buy them dinner when they are finished- we just picked up a few pizzas and some beer/wine/pop for my family and friends)
- -Unpack the kitchen first (you will use this room the most) – here is how I organize the kitchen(cabinets & drawers)
- – I moved to our bedroom second (how I organize the bedroom) and the living room third (How I organize the living room).
- -The kids rooms were so easy to move- just dressers, beds & a few toy boxes. (organizing the kids room)
- – Put all of the toys in the play room (if you have one)- Here is how I organize and set up the playroom
- Have a place for everything & put everything in its place. You will keep the same system, just move it to a new house, which is what will make this easy.
- – When you come across a decoration (picture, etc…) just hang it up. Don’t let it sit for months because you “can’t decide”- just pick a place & hang it up. You can move it at any time down the road.
- NO ELECTRONICS for a few days! Just focus on getting organized! Wait to get online or watch TV until you are unpacked. These things slow down your work-pace because you can easily lose focus on what you are doing.
I hope that this was helpful!
Ps- We ended up having our daughter in this house, too. 🙂