Unpack with a Plan

You’ve packed up and moved your things to your new home - your move is now almost two-thirds complete. The last part is unpacking and getting settled into your new home. This can be the phase that takes the longest, but that can also be the most fun. Unpacking gives you a chance to get the house organized - you know, the way you'd like to keep it all year.

When you start wading through the sea of boxes, there should be a method to your madness. The following are a few simple steps to make unpacking easier. And remember, you don't have to unpack everything right away.

1. Unpack One Room at a Time

Kitchen: Begin here so that you can have a snack to fuel your fire. Items that you won't need right away can be set aside to unpack at a later time when you can better figure out where you want things set up. This is also a good time to line your cabinets and drawers.

Bathroom: This room should be next. Get your toiletries out and make sure the toilet, faucets, etc., are operational. A few things you should definitely have are a shower curtain, toilet paper, towel and soap.

Bedrooms: If they aren't set up the first night, don't sweat it. Have a family camp out instead. Then putting things away will be easy. The person whose room it will be should make the area feel comfortable and personal to them. Setting up an organized closet is another great thing to do when moving in.

Living Room: Unpacking this room should be a combined effort of everyone in the household. There will be a lot of items to be placed and electronics to hook up. For safety, use a surge protector for computer and electronics equipment. This is a good time to consider the practicality in your home's wiring. For example, the entertainment center should be close to the cable outlet.

Garage: Having an organized garage is a daunting task for most people. Start by setting up shelves and hooks where you can put tools, yard supplies, etc., and you’ll curb the tendency to pile things up.

Don't forget to collapse boxes for storage or recycling.

2. Take Note

Take inventory of everything you have to make sure nothing has been lost. If you have any broken or damaged items, keep them as evidence. You must file all insurance claims within a limited number of days after the move, depending on your moving company's regulations.

Start a log of home repairs and maintenance that need to be done.

Create a shopping list to make sure you have everything you need.

3. Play Interior Designer

When preparing to shift heavy furniture around in the living room and bedrooms, it's a good idea to make a pencil sketch of the room with squares representing where you would like certain items placed. Erasing an armoire, rather than lifting it, could save you a trip to the chiropractor.

Placing furniture so a room feels open and functional will help you feel settled in your new home. Your house probably won't look like what you'd envisioned for a few more months, but start at the beginning and let your decorating be an artwork in progress.

4. Add style

Here are a few simple ways to add style to your home.

  • Use a different color paint on a couple of walls of a room.
  • Paint rooms different colors
  • Stencil around an archway.
  • Brighten up a room with self-adhesive wallpaper borders.
  • Refinish old cabinets or add new knobs.
  • Add new drawer and cabinet pulls.
  • Add potted plants for extra life and color, and to fill empty corners.
  • Get new towels, bathmat and shower curtain.
  • Try a new look with different covers for your throw cushions.

Go step by step and everything will get done. Remember that little touches can make a big difference. Take time to relax, put up your feet, have a cup of tea and enjoy the new home you are creating.