unpacking + organizing a new home

I’m going to be totally honest – this post was not in the plan. I sat down to write and literally all I can think about is all of the house stuff that’s on my plate. I had big plans to work ahead and have all my content done through the end of the month before we moved in. We closed on the townhouse on a Friday, spent the weekend working at the lake house, and were at my parents’ house Monday – Friday. I was hoping to use the time away to work ahead and get a lot done, but it turns out I was in desperate need of rest, so I only got enough content finished for last week.

unpacking and organizing a new home

I’m dying to share pictures of the house with you, but I’m waiting until next week! We decided to have a “preview” get together this week so that a few of our friends could come see the house before we start making a ton of changes. I really want them to get the full effect so I’m not giving it away before then, but I did record a home tour video on closing day so that you can see the house before all our stuff was in! I’ll post that on Instagram next week most likely. Until then, I’m following up on my packing tips post with some thoughts on unpacking and organizing.

Our process was a little different since we moved out of our townhouse into a storage unit before moving into our new home. But here are a few things I’ve learned about the dealing with the fallout after a move…

Get help

Duh. Whether it’s movers or your weight-lifting brother, you’re not going to want to do it all alone. Ask for help.

Start at the beginning

I vacuumed the floors before we even started moving things in. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a bunch of stuff from the previous family or the open house/inspection sitting underneath all the furniture and boxes we were moving in. We definitely tracked dirt and mud in during the move so after everything was in, we started at the bottom again. I vacuumed and mopped the living room, kitchen, and laundry room downstairs and vacuumed everything upstairs. I wiped the baseboards and stair treads/railing down. My mom cleaned our windows and wiped out the kitchen cabinets. This is a good time to give your furniture a good dusting too. From there, you can move on to the more obvious cleaning like the bathrooms and kitchen. Especially given that we were moving into an old house, it’s nice to know that what you’re living in is really clean.

Keep what you need in easy access

I mentioned this in my last post, but make sure you’ve got cleaning supplies and essentials like toilet paper, towels, and a few days worth of clothes within easy access and don’t let them get lost in the move! While you’re at it, turn your volume up on your phone because I’ve already lost my phone 12 times in the piles and piles of mess.

Have a moving plan

Friends of ours let us have some boxes leftover from their move and I noticed that along with labeling what was in the box, they also put where the box was to go in the new house. Definitely an easy way to communicate where things go! I decided to go a different route and create zones by type. We’d dump all boxes into our dining room, furniture into the living room, and mattresses + bed frames would be put in the guest bedroom. This saved us time during moving day because we weren’t going up and down the stairs every time we came in the house. Most everything stayed on the ground floor and made it easy for me to sort from one convenient location. Any boxes that needed to go upstairs were left in a pile by the stairs so that if someone was going up anyway, they could grab a box and go.

Organize your piles

Keep the boxes in neat piles where they need to be unpacked or in a central location. All our not yet placed furniture is in the guest room. The dining room has all the unpacked or not yet relocated boxes. The kitchen only has kitchen boxes and the laundry room only has laundry room boxes.

Don’t try to do too much at once

I’m the world’s worst about this, but luckily this move, I recognized it happening. I had big plans to get the master bedroom carpet ripped up the weekend we moved in, but I realized that we were just too deep in the weeds for that to happen so we put it off until we’re less frazzled. I’m still hoping that means this week though - I can only be so reasonable. :)

Keep main spaces clear

For the sake of your sanity, try to keep the living room and bedroom free of clutter. I’m doing the same for my office. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate if there were 12 half unpacked boxes sitting next to me while I’m trying to work or rest - and those are two things you need to do uninterrupted.

Give yourself one goal per day

One of the things that has been hardest for me is that there’s so many things in front of my face all the time that need attention. Instead of getting overwhelmed by that, I set a goal for the end of the day and ignore any other tasks that don’t make the cut. For example, the first day after the moving/cleaning was done, I set the goal of having all kitchen essential unpacked. I didn’t get to the extra cleaning supplies box or my serving pieces, but we have plates and silverware. If there are tasks outside of unpacking that need doing, make that your priority for the day. Otherwise, it’ll never get done.