6 June 2011

10 ways to make unpacking easy after a move

I just moved into a new condo on the weekend. This is my fifteenth move since moving out of my parents' home during college years, so I am getting to be old hat at this! I have to admit, I love change and the new possibilities it brings for decorating and organizing.  I've been unpacking, organizing and decorating non-stop for the past few days- so I am totally in my element! Yes, I love organizing, and setting up in a new home is the perfect time to do things right, right from the beginning. I am firm believer that everything has its place! And I mean everything, right down to pens, batteries, vitamins, paper towel and cell phone chargers.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will post ideas and tips on areas of the home that I have organized and decorated. For now, I will share some tips on making the first couple of days in a new home less chaotic- things I have gleaned from much practice!

1. Set up a drop zone for things that you come across that don't have an obvious home yet, and for artwork and decorative items. Pick a room that will be the last to set up, like a guest bedroom.

2. Think about the placement of large pieces of furniture and sketch it out on paper. You only want to move things like a sofa and entertainment unit once.

3. Work on one room at a time. The bathroom and bedroom are priorities for me, as I want to make sure that sleep and my morning routine go as smoothly as possible. Get towels, toiletries, bedding and essential clothing out and into their places.

4. Next room is the kitchen. Take note of what worked and what didn't work in your old place. Did you like the plates to the right of the oven? Did you hate going out of your way to get plastic containers for morning lunches? Then look for cabinets nearer to the prep area that would work in your new kitchen.

5. If you work from home, the office is next, as you probably can't spare much time before getting back to the grind. Make sure to take into consideration where the outlets are and how much surface space you need for spreading out. Set up the essentials- computer, printer and other electronics, pen and paper, and an in/out box for priorities until your complete filing system is set up. (Check for upcoming posts on complete home office set-up ideas).

6. Break down and remove boxes as you go, so they don't get in the way.

7. Unpack the remaining boxes and then take stock. What kind of organizational tools do you need? Don't get excited and purchase things before you unpack, as this can lead to wasteful spending. Make a list based on things that need baskets, bins, hooks, containers, dividers and shelving.

8. Once you have purchased what you need, take the time to do all similar tasks at once. For instance, hang all the curtain rods at once, when you have the drill and tools out. You will get in the groove once you have done one, and the others will be a snap.

9. Designate a home for every single item that is not artwork, decorative items for display, or books. Every item should have a shelf, drawer, bin or closet to live in so that you can easily find it.

10. Sit back and relax! Take the time to live in your new home for a little bit and rearrange things to make your daily routine as easy as possible. Only then should you turn your attention to hanging art and placing decorative items, smaller pieces of furniture and arranging bookshelves.

Do you have any other great tips to make a move less stressful? Let me know!

Ok, off to assemble more storage boxes from IKEA...

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