Moving into a new home is an exciting experience! Especially if it’s a space that’s been remodeled or designed just for you. But for too many people, moves are a stressful time, from packing to coordinating the logistics of the actual move to finally unpacking and settling into their new space. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Today we’ll look at how you can skip the chaos and stay organized after a move. We’ll break it down into three phases: preparing, unpacking, and living in your new space. Keep reading to learn more.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s a cliche for a reason: it’s true! And it’s especially true when it comes to moving into a new home and staying organized and sane. For every extra hour you invest in preparing for your move, you’ll save at least two hours of frustration when it comes to unpacking and moving into your new home.
Leave it to the Pros
When you look at the bottom line cost, hiring a moving company can seem expensive. But if you value your sanity and peace of mind, it can be a investment that more than pays for itself.
Professional moving companies move houses everyday, whereas you’ll probably only do it a handful of times throughout your life. Their experience is incredibly valuable. They can provide the tools, equipment, trucks, and manpower needed to move the the heaviest, most unwieldy items in your home. And they know how to pack your valuables so they stay safe throughout the move!
Most moving companies offer customized moving packages that will allow you to do as much or as little as you like. If you’d prefer to handle packing or unpacking of your belongings (perhaps as a family bonding experience), a moving company can just handle the moving. This can save a bit of money, too. Or you can have a moving company do it all, which really cuts down on the stress and the chaos.
Donate & Discard
After the move, there’s nothing more demoralizing than unpacking boxes and saying, “I don’t even know what this is,” or “Does anyone remember why we own this?” And then imagine finding a place in your new home for possessions you don’t need or even like.
Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring movers, the first thing you should do is ruthlessly discard and donate. If you can’t remember the last time you used a kitchen tool, wore a piece of clothing, or why you bought a gadget the first place, you probably won’t need it in your new home.
Make it a fun game with your family. Go room by room and make piles for donations and discards. Encourage your kids to donate unused toys and help them find an organization that needs them! They’ll learn a lot and you’ll have less to deal with when you’re unpacking.
Develop a System
If you’re packing your own belongings, create a system that’ll make unpacking them easy. A common strategy is to label each box with its contents. I suggest taking this a step further and making sure the room in your new home that the box belongs in is also clearly labeled. That way you or your movers won’t be stuck carrying a heavy box not knowing where to put it.
A great trick if you’re really looking to take your preparation to the next level is to assign one of your family members to write or type up notes as you pack. Consider including information like:
- A unique number for each box
- The box’s contents
- The room that box belongs in
- A ranking (high/medium/low) for the priority of unpacking the box
By determining priority for unpacking each box, you won’t waste time on your first night in your new home sleeping without blankets or waking up the next morning having to hunt around for your coffeemaker.
Odds are, your new home will be quite different from your old space. Maybe you’re upgrading from a small apartment to a starter home or to a larger house to accommodate your growing family. Or maybe you’re downsizing to a condo or smaller home to enjoy retirement.
That’s why, no matter where you’re moving, a smart unpacking strategy is key to avoiding post-move chaos.
Start with a Plan
Luckily, you followed my advice for preparing for your move, so you know where everything is and where it should go, right? If so, you’re ahead of the game and will find unpacking to be a fun, low-stress activity.
If not, you’ll need to settle down and make a plan. Start unpacking in your largest room and organize your possessions. Don’t just run around putting things away as fast as you can. Unpack as much as possible and develop a plan to keep from just stuffing your possessions into whatever space is available.
Make the Best Use of Your New Space
Consider the available storage in your new space and make the best of it. Don’t just put everything back the same way it was in your old home. Now’s your chance to use the features of your new home that made it so attractive in the first place.
Do you have more closet space? Consider organizing clothes by season, or create a place for supplies for guests (linens, toiletries, etc.). Is your kitchen bigger? Think about hanging your beautiful copper pots and pans instead of hiding them under the stove.
Be Systematic & Relaxed
Depending on the size of your new home, getting settled in and relaxed probably won’t be a morning project. Start by unpacking the essentials so you can live your life. Then chip away at the rest. Make a schedule and stick to it. Don’t get overwhelmed and don’t rush. Take your time, think through your options and make smart choices. The more relaxed you stay throughout the process, the easier it will be. And if you stick to your schedule, the end of the move will be in sight and you’ll be able to anticipate and look forward to enjoying life in your new home.
Enjoy Life in Your New Space
Once you’ve moved in and finished unpacking, there’s one key to enjoying your new home.
Don’t fall back into old bad habits. A new home is a new beginning and it’s your chance to get and stay organized and avoid inviting chaos into your life. Just because the move is over, don’t stop planning, organizing, and keeping everything running smoothly.
Moves are stressful, but they don’t have to be– and they shouldn’t be! They should be a time to celebrate an exciting time in your life!
So prepare for your move, don’t move anything you don’t need, have a unpacking plan in mind, get the essentials put away first, take advantage of your new space, and then slowly but steadily get everything else put in its place. And those are my keys to skipping the chaos and staying organized after a move. Are there any other tips that helped with your last move? I’d love to hear about them.
Erin Davis is owner of Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland Oregon. For more information and tips visit http://mosaikdesign.com/ or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.