Would you like to know the secret strategy to unpack your home in one day? I’m sharing my top tips here because I was shocked when I read the latest survey from Duck Tape Brand. Did you know it takes the average American 182 to unpack the last box after moving into a new house? 182 days! That’s six whole months! That’s crazy, ya’ll. And it’s a long time to not have all of your stuff out where it’s easy to get to. It’s a long time to not fully be settled into your new spot, where it can start to feel like home. And the other crazy thing is…it doesn’t have to be that way. This doesn’t have to be you. What if I told you that I was able to unpack my six-bedroom home in one day? Yep! I was able to unpack the two main floors plus my basement By. My. Self in ONE day. So, I know it doesn’t have to take six months when it can take less than 24 hours. Keep reading and I’ll tell you how I did it. Plus, you’ll want to grab my free Unpack In A Day Checklist.
How to Pack So You Can Unpack in a Day
Create a Plan
So, the first step to unpacking quickly really comes before you even get the keys to your new home. You have to start with a plan. Taking the time to create this plan is key. This packing plan is what’s going to make your move be stress free.
The first step in creating a plan is understanding your moving timeline. You’ll basically backwards plan from your move in date back to today’s date. I highly suggest you break out a calendar and highlight those two dates. Then, add in holidays and any other special days that might impact your packing. Key dates like birthdays or holidays where you might not be able to focus so much on packing. Then you’ll add in weekly activities that take up your time – any special projects at work that might have you work late (or be exhausted when you get home), your kid’s sports activities or recitals. It’s easy to forget about how much time these take. But, it’s kinda hard to pack if you’re not at home. So, write these down too.
Then, you’ll be able to see what days you’re free to pack. And this is where you’ll fill in the necessary packing activities. You’ll start to add things like ordering your moving boxes, packing out of season items and interviewing and reserving a moving truck.
Take pictures – taking pictures of furniture, appliances, dishes and pots and pans is a good way to start to inventory what you have. Knowing how many dishes or cookware you have will help you determine how many boxes you’ll need, and in what size. Boxes are expensive, so there’s no need to order more than what you need. And going back and forth to the box store to get more or exchange out the wrong size is just a bunch of waisted time.
Draw a floorplan – Sketch out a floorplan of your future home and take pictures of the rooms. You’ll refer to these often as you think about where you want things to go, what you need to purchase or replace, and how to label your boxes. As you go about your day to day, pay attention to how your current kitchen is set up. See what works and what you’d like to change. With this information handy, use your floorplan sketch and pictures of your new home and label all kitchen cabinets from A-Z. Being very detailed, take pictures of your new kitchen and focus on the cabinets. Use graph paper or plain white paper and sketch an outline of the kitchen and write out what dishes you’ll put in each cabinet.
Label cabinets – while you were planning, you labeled the cabinets in your new kitchen. This planning will go a long way in making the kitchen just as easy to unpack as any other room. While you’re at the new house, stand in the kitchen and face the stove as if you’re cooking. Think about what items you want in the cabinets next to you. Now stand by the fridge and pantry and do the same thing. Think about where the items are in your current kitchen, what works and what could be better. For more details on labeling cabinets, grab my Unpack In A Day System!
Measure the furniture – measure your old furniture and check dimensions for any new furniture you’re thinking about purchasing. Then use blue painters’ tape to mark on the floor where you plan to place the furniture in the new house. Alternatively, you can also place moving boxes around the house as a visual and 3D outline of how the space will look like. The goal is to make sure your furniture fits and you’re happy with the look.
What items to do you plan on replacing – in other words, what furniture or accessories do you plan on donating or selling? The goal is to sell as many items as possible to clear out your old house. So, if you don’t plan on keeping the items, there’s no need for them to travel with you to your next house. So, you’ll need to find another way to get rid of them. Having a yard sale helps you clear your current house and lets you get rid of items that you no longer use or no longer fit your style. The other benefit is that you can put the money you get from selling towards moving.
Trash – this is easy. If the stuff you have isn’t useable, then go ahead and trash it. Believe it or not, there are companies that will actually move your trash for you. If you have a lot of trash or large items that aren’t useable any more, you can get quotes from 1-800-JUNK.
How to Get Unpacked Faster and Easier: Get Organized!
Schedule pick up for donate items – consider donating any items that didn’t sell at the yard sale. Many companies will accept large items like mattresses, beds, tables, chairs, sofas, loveseats or garage tools. To give you some ideas of organizations that will pick up household donations, in Metro Atlanta they include AADD, Goodwill, Habitat 4 Humanity ReStore, and Furniture Bank.
Inventory remaining items – now most of the items that remain should be going with you. Take a good look at your current space, how it’s laid out and think about what you might want to change. Write this down and then think about your new space and layout. As you think about where you’ll want each item in your new home, begin to move the smaller items together. This way you can get a feel for the boxes you’ll need. If you know you’re going to want to move heavier items, get smaller boxes. For larger items that are lighter you can get bigger boxes. To unpack quickly, pack by room and don’t include items from another room in the same box. Then write down each item, it’s value and serial number.
Confirm moving company – by this time, you should know who will move your items. Either you’ll rent a U-Haul and do a self-move with some help from family and friends, or you’ll hire a professional moving company. I’ve got a list of questions you should ask in my Unpack in a Day System, but to keep it short and sweet here… make sure you understand what the professional movers will and won’t do during the move. This information will help you plan what you need to do with the rest of your time.
Get moving supplies ready – once you’ll know what services your movers will provide, you’ll know what, if any, moving supplies you need to go. If you’re planning to pack and box things up yourself, you’ll need to purchase all the standard moving supplies like boxes, duct tape and bubble wrap, just to name a few. I’ve got a list of items that you’ll need on my resources page.
Tips for Efficient Unpacking
The quick tips I have to help you efficiently unpack are:
- Set things up properly – before the truck is unloaded, make sure things are set up properly in your new home. I suggest you either do this during your final walk through or immediately after closing. Either way, you’ll want to label your rooms and cabinets to match the labels you have on your boxes. And the labels you have on your boxes should match the labels you have on your floorplan.
- Review the plan – make sure you include in your schedule an hour by hour schedule for moving day. Share your plan with your movers (whether family or the pros) and make sure they’re all on board. Give yourself some buffer room, time to eat and rest.
- Start with the most used or most important room first – yes, I believe this will really help you unpack faster! And here’s why. As much as I’d like to hope that everyone who isn’t helping will stay out of your way for a full 24 hours, this probably isn’t the case. So, if you unpack, say the kitchen, and your kids comes home from school later that afternoon, at least there’s one space in the house that they can use. You might even be able to bribe them with their favorite treats if they just stay in the kitchen and out of your way. With that said, your most used or important room might actually be the kid’s playroom.
The Secret Strategy To Unpack Your New Home In One Day
I just shared my secret strategy to help you get unpacked faster and easier. Like I said earlier, I created this system to help me unpack my home in a day, so I know it works. Unpacking in a day requires you to spend a bit of free time preparing, organizing and labeling what you have and where it will go. But the hard work pays off in the long run as you quickly get settled. If you’re ready to take the next step, grab my free Unpack In A Day Checklist.
And please, take a few minutes to leave me a comment below and let me know about your moving and unpacking tips.
- 20 Tips For Moving Into Your New Home Stress-Free
- How To Move Into Your New Home (And Avoid The Overwhelm)
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