The last couple days we've been chipping away at boxes after the girls go to bed. Little by little we are making progress toward settling in. Here are a few tips we've learned during the process, and as I'm still in the midst of it, I'd love to hear some of your own!
1. Clean first - Dust off the shelves and drawers before putting stuff in them. If you are able, spend some time before the movers come to do a deep clean of the bathrooms, kitchen, and floors. Much easier to clean an empty house than one full of boxes.
2. Have your supplies ready - box cutters, scissors, trash bags, and some cleaning supplies to clean as you go are all handy. You may also want a marker to write on the outside of boxes of things that you want to store away and remember exactly what was in there.
3. Prioritize the most essential rooms to unpack first - for us it was the girls' bedroom and their playroom! We wanted them to be surrounded by familiar things and feel at home right away. From there on we moved to our bedroom and then the kitchen. We ordered food or made sandwiches the first couple days.
4. Finish one room before starting the next - it is tempting to dig into a box in one room and then get distracted by a box in another. I tried to finish tackling the majority of boxes in one room before moving on to the next to minimize the number of half unpacked rooms!
5. Save some of the boxes to hold packing paper trash - use some of the boxes to stuff in all the packing paper (there is a TON) left over from unwrapping your belongings. Flatten the other boxes and stuff them all in a big box. This helped us eliminate the amount of trash buildup in the house.
6. If possible, move all the flattened and trash filled boxes to one room of the house (or your garage) until you set them out for trash collection. That will help free up space in the other room and make you feel like you are making progress!
7. Designate a holding area for the stuff you don't want to deal with yet! We are using the extra guest bedroom as a (hopefully) temporary storage room for boxes of stuff that need to be sort through and organized before storing away.
8. Stow artwork and framed photos in a safe place until you are ready to hang them - I want to give us some time to live in our new home before we decide what to put up and where
9. Put things away in a "good for now" arrangement - it's going to take some time to figure out what you want where and how to organize and store it. I have been focusing on getting stuff out of boxes and into drawers / cupboards and plan to rearrange as we go along.
10. Take another pass at getting rid of stuff - unpacking is the perfect opportunity to take a carload to Salvation Army! Even though I tried to weed out stuff before our move I'm finding plenty of other things that we probably don't need. We're already starting to fill up our new home and I'd ideally like to cut back on some stuff to allow us some room to grow.
I should caveat all these tips to say in no way do I consider myself an expert unpacker! I'd love to hear from you - what tips do you have to help us make this unpacking process a little less painful?