Boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and more boxes. The thought of unpacking an entire home can be overwhelmingly chaotic for anyone. But remember, after your movers have left, everything will get done eventually as long as you keep working on it little by little. Staying positive and organized will serve to make the whole process much easier and less stressful. Take it from the experts: here are some do’s and don’ts of the unpacking process.

  • Do unpack your “essentials” box first. A great moving tip is to have one box that contains everything you absolutely need for daily living for just a few days. This box will include toiletries, cosmetics, a few different outfits, a towel, and snacks at the very least. Unpack this small but mighty box first, and make a trip to the nearest convenience store if you realize you’ve forgotten something important.
  • Do prioritize unpacking the kitchen early on in your process. With clearly labeled boxes, locating all of your kitchen boxes should be fairly easy, and hooking up that coffee maker will surely prove to be helpful with all of the fatigue-and-hunger-inducing work you have ahead of you. 
  • Do allow yourself to take breaks. Take the time to step back and enjoy your new space and appreciate all the work you’ve done to that point. Taking breaks is great for decreasing stress and will actually increase your productivity levels once you return to unpacking. Consider spending your breaks doing other productive, but more enjoyable activities, like exploring your new city or area. This gives you a chance to get some fresh air while familiarizing yourself with your surroundings which is arguably just as valuable.

Here are a few things to avoid while unpacking:

  • Don’t put together large furniture before you’ve planned where everything is going to be placed in your floor plan. You may have had this planned out months before you arrived. If so, great! Be sure to assemble large pieces as close to their assigned places as possible. Otherwise, wait until you have a plan. Bulky, out-of-place items like heavy dressers or armoires are not only annoying, but they’re hard to move and can even be dangerous.
  • Don’t feel like you need to have everything done in a day— or even a week for that matter. While unpacking does mark the end of a move that’s likely been a months-long process, resist the temptation to rush it. A rushed unpacking can create more of a mess and annoyance than it would’ve been to take your time, creating disarray and unwanted stress.