The Commonwealth Blog

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

How to Unpack Like a Pro

Unpacking can be stressful if done improperly, which is why we encourage you to put some thought into preparing for your next big move. In order to settle into your new place smoothly, we recommend you get super organized, set realistic goals, and clean up after yourself along the way. Follow some of these unpacking principles to avoid major burnout.

Before You Unpack

Here are several pre-unpacking steps you can take that will save you a lot of work down the road.

Clean Your New Home

Before you create huge piles of stuff in every room, do a thorough cleaning of your new place. By sweeping, dusting, and scrubbing dirty surfaces before you unpack your things, you can make your home spotless without having to work around miscellaneous objects.

Label Appropriately

Label your boxes during the packing process. This ensures you know exactly where each box is going before you even open it, saving you a good amount of time. We also recommend making an inventory of your labeled boxes so you can easily see if everything arrived safely once your items are unloaded from the moving truck.

Have a “Smart” Box

Pack a special box that contains a first aid kit and tools that may come in handy: screwdrivers, hammers, fasteners, a flashlight, and maybe even a portable radio.

Arrange Heavy Furniture

It’s a good idea to plan your new home’s layout and put large furnishings in place before unpacking any smaller items. Once your dining room table, sofas, beds, heavy desks, and all other bulky items are in the appropriate positions, you can more easily place your small belongings around them—you won’t have to haul heavy objects around little ones scattered across the house. 

Time to Unpack

There’s a golden rule for moving: Unpack room by room. This process allows you to accomplish little goals over a longer period of time so you don’t feel the pressure of having to unpack your entire house in one weekend (talk about burnout)! If you’ve labeled your boxes properly, you can pile them in their appropriate rooms to be ready for each individual unpacking project.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

Unpack essential items in these rooms first. You’ll need a comfortable place to sleep after a long day of moving (and you’ll need to rest up for the remainder of the unpacking process). Unpack bedding, clothing, and toiletry items first. You’ll set yourself up for success if you get a good night’s rest and have what you need to get dressed and get the day going.


Start unpacking utensils, glasses, and dishes first, then move on to other miscellaneous cookware. You won’t need all of your fancy glasses and silverware immediately, so don’t feel compelled to unpack these things first.

Living Room

Set up your couch, coffee table, and TV to create a space where you can relax after a day of lifting boxes and organizing all your things. You’ve worked hard and deserve a place to kick back and relax!

Kids’ and Pets’ Items

If you have children or pets, make sure you pack boxes of items like clothing, toys, snacks, and food that can be unpacked right away. When your kids and fur babies are comfortable, you can focus more of your efforts on unpacking the rest of the house.

Garage and Outdoor Items

These items can be unpacked last—they’re not as likely to be necessary to your everyday comfort. Just make sure you don’t put off unpacking them for too long, otherwise they may live in boxes far longer than they should.

Enjoy Your Success

It can be easy to forget about your everyday life while moving. Make sure you take time to check in with friends and reward yourselves with a break after unpacking a room or two. Moving is stressful enough, so enjoy some downtime to stay centered and energized for the rest of your household projects.

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