Tips on Unpacking – What to Do When You Reach Your Destination

Stack of filled packing boxes in front of glass door

It’s no secret that moving can be a stressful time, and any way to minimize that stress is definitely welcome. When you plan a big move most of the attention is focused on packing up your belongings, hiring a moving van, and getting everything and everyone safely to your new home. But what do you find when you reach your destination? Usually, more work and more stress. Quite often, the process of unpacking can be as stressful and frustrating as the move itself. So what can be done to minimize that stress, and to make the process of unpacking and settling into your new home easy and trouble free?

First Things First – The Inventory

Hopefully, when you packed up the old homestead you planned ahead and made a list, or inventory, of everything you were packing and labeled all of your boxes accordingly. Now that you’ve reached your new home, this inventory will be invaluable. Using this list, you will be able to better manage the unpacking process, concentrating on the essentials and working your way through all of your possessions.


With your moving inventory in hand, it’s time to prioritize the unpacking process. Find the boxes that contain the essentials you will need to get through a couple of days and nights in your new home. These should include bathroom supplies, cleaning supplies, and enough clothing to get through a couple of days. Next, unpack the kitchen. Hook up any small appliances, like the coffee maker and toaster, so you can make a quick snack or breakfast to keep you going as you unpack. Take the time to line the cupboards and drawers before you unpack and put away any kitchen utensils. This will save you some time and energy later.

Move On to the Bedrooms

With the bathroom and kitchen situation seen to, it’s time to move on to the bedrooms. If you get to your new home late in the afternoon, you will want to be sure to attend to the bedroom furniture early in the unpacking process. That way everyone can get a good night’s sleep and the unpacking can continue in the morning. Move the beds into the appropriate rooms, and get them assembled. Unpack the bed linen and make the beds so they’ll be ready when everyone gets tired. Don’t worry about organizing closets or arranging furniture in the bedrooms. Everyone can tend to their own bedrooms as time permits.

The Living Room and Dining Room

Hopefully, when you chose your new home you were given a floor plan and you already have a good idea where most of your big furniture will be going. Decide where you are going to place the larger pieces of furniture, and assemble them if necessary. Again, smaller items can be unpacked at a later date. The important thing here is to get the big pieces of furniture in place, and the boxes off of the truck, so you can relax and recover your strength from the move.

Take Your Time

Once the basic elements of your bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and living area are taken care of, you can pause for a bit of a breather. Remember, all of those boxes do not have to be unpacked the second you arrive at your new home. Take your time, and don’t put any more pressure on the situation than is necessary. Stop for dinner, and let everyone get a good nights sleep. In the morning, assign each person a room, and let them concentrate on unpacking and putting everything away. Dividing the labor will make everything go much more quickly, and will keep people from getting in eachother’s way.

Yes, moving can be stressful and frustrating. While nothing can really make the process fun, there are ways to make it go more smoothly and relatively hassle free. Take your time, plan ahead, and before you know it you and your family will be unpacked and settled into your new home, with the move a distant memory.