What To Start Unpacking First After Moving In - Home & Texture
Organize Unpacking Guide

Just Moved In? Here's What To Start Unpacking First

Welcome to unpacking 101.

May 6, 2024 at 9:33 PM PST
Updated on May 6, 2024 at 9:34 PM PST
Organize Unpacking Guide

Just Moved In? Here's What To Start Unpacking First

Welcome to unpacking 101.

May 6, 2024 at 9:33 PM PST
Updated on May 6, 2024 at 9:34 PM PST

It isn’t always easy to settle into a new home, and part of what makes it this challenging is the unpacking process. When it comes to setting up your new place, where do you even start?

For one thing, the last thing you want to do is try to tackle everything at once. Using that approach is a straight ticket to feeling overwhelmed, and ultimately, burnt out. Instead, consider approaching this systematically. Unpacking with a plan will save your sanity — and maybe even a little time!

To learn how to effectively unpack, take a look at our step-by-step guide below.

A smiling couple unpacking moving boxes
Photo credit: cottonbro studio

Step 1: Unpack the essentials.

The key to unpacking is to prep before the move. Before you move, be sure to pack a box of whatever essentials you need for your initial week at your new home. This can include items like toiletries, plates, utensils, bedding, towels, and maybe your coffee maker if you like coffee.

By packing a designated ‘essentials’ box, you don’t have to rummage through multiple boxes marked “bathroom” just to find your toothbrush.

Step 2: Set up your bedroom.

After a long day of moving and unpacking, you’ll definitely want a comfy place to crash. So to make sure you do, setting up your bed should be a top priority.

To properly set up your bed, put your bed frame together, then top it with the mattress. Finally, add your bedding, and decorate with a few throw pillows to make it feel like home.

Step 3: Tackle the bathroom.

Next up, the bathroom. After lifting a bunch of furniture and boxes all day, a nice, hot shower is the perfect way to revitalize. Be sure to unpack your important toiletries — i.e. your toothpaste and toothbrush, haircare, skincare, bath mats, shower curtain (don’t forget the hooks!), and towels. A functional bathroom can really take the edge off the absolute chaos of moving day.

Photo credit: JohnnyGreig

Step 4: Make the kitchen functional.

The best part of moving is ordering takeout. But over time, ordering food multiple times a day can add up fast. To help you save money, that means unpacking whatever items you need to make your bare kitchen functional enough to properly use.

What you’ll want to do is hook up the essential appliances like the refrigerator, microwave, or coffee maker so you have what you need to cook, store, and eat. And keep in mind that there’s no need to get everything in the kitchen sorted out right away. Just focus on what you need to make simple meals. Then, set up pots, pans, dishes, utensils, and maybe a couple of pantry items to hold you over until you can fully unpack.

Step 5: Work on everything else.

Now that you have your necessities sorted out, you can move on to the less critical areas — i.e. the living room, dining room, patio, etc.

When you’re ready to tackle these places, try unpacking your books, artwork, decor, etc. over time. It’ll help you avoid clutter, plus let you think carefully about how you want to organize and decorate your space.

Bonus Tip: Clean as you go.

Unpacking can stir up a lot of dust, which can make moving into your new home a nightmare, especially if you have allergies or other respiratory conditions. To keep on top of this, make sure to always clean as you go.

This means breaking down boxes, folding up packing paper, and taking out the trash regularly. You can also keep a vacuum or broom handy to clean up any dirt and debris that you notice during unpacking.


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