How to Get Organized After a Move
You've just moved into a new home. Congratulations! But, now what? You might be busy over the next couple of weeks, but you will still need to sleep, eat, and shower! By unpacking efficiently and taking the necessary steps to settle in, you can minimize the chaos during your first few weeks at your new location and make sure that your life continues in a smooth, uninterrupted manner.
Preparing to Unpack
Set a deadline to be completely unpacked.For an apartment, one or two weeks should do the trick, but if you've just moved into a house you should expect to take about a month. It is important not to procrastinate unpacking--the sooner you decide to get it done, the more likely it is that you will actually do it.
Assign rooms their purposes.Make a list of all the rooms in your new home—any bedrooms, bathroom, the kitchen, the dining room, etc. Make a short list of the pieces of furniture and types of belongings you plan to keep in these rooms. Be sure to assign each room a clear purpose—not just “extra room” or “general storage." This will go a long way in helping you consolidate your belongings.
Clean your home.Cleaning before you begin unpacking rather than afterwards will ensure a much better experience as you will be able to identify and access problem areas much more easily.
- Clean the sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
- Vacuum the carpets and the refrigerator vent, which can become a hazard due to the buildup of dust.
- Clean the furnace.
- Dust the lighting fixtures, especially the ceiling fan blades.
- Clear the dishwasher filter.
- Sterilize the washing machine and clear the dryer's lint trap and its slot.
Inspect your property.Make sure that all of your boxes and pieces of furniture are accounted for and intact. The sooner you know that something has gone missing or been damaged, the more likely it is that you will be able to fix it.
Decide where the largest pieces of furniture will go.This will create space for you to unpack your smaller objects in an organized manner, and also give you a much better idea of where you want everything else to be stored.
- Place the most cumbersome objects, like couches, tables and storage units, first. Try to keep most seating spaces and storage units against the walls to create an open space in the center of your rooms, and consider placing tables close by somewhere to sit whenever possible.
- Make sure that when have a concrete plan as to what you intend to keep inside each of your storage units before you place them. This will minimize clutter and disorganization.
Break out a trash bag and a pair of scissors.You'll want a trash bag for discarded tape and packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or other protective materials during unpacking, and a pair of scissors for cutting boxes open. Making sure these tools are accessible right away will prevent you from having to frantically search for them later, when you really need them.
Unpack what you need to eat.Unpack your essential kitchen appliances and any perishable foods. Moving and unpacking requires a lot of energy, so even though you will be very busy over the coming weeks you need to make sure you are able to eat whenever you feel the need. Be wary of relying on takeout—it will sustain you for a little while, but it doesn't have as much nutritional value as other, healthier foods.
Unpack your bedding.Unpack your sheets, pillows, pillowcases and blankets, and make your bed. Make sure you have a change of clothes comfortable enough to sleep in. You will be extremely tired after you are finished moving all of your things, and if you fail to prioritize what you need in order to sleep, you may find yourself exhausted with nowhere to collapse at the end of your first night.
Unpack what you need to get ready every day.It won't look good if you're late or absent from work during the days following your move simply because you can't find your toothbrush! You don't need to break out your razors and lotions right away, but you should have at least a few necessities on hand.
- Put any medicines that you regularly use and your set of keys in a safe, accessible place right away so that you don't miss a dose or accidentally lose an important key.
- Unpack your toiletries; moving might be a time-consuming process, but it is still extremely important to maintain personal hygiene so that you can continue to keep up with your life outside of your new home.
- Make sure you have at least a couple of changes of clothes available, even if you decide not to unpack the rest of your clothes right away, so that you can go out with your friends and attend your job even though most of your possessions are packed away.
Unpack everything else according to how soon you are going to need it.Prioritize! You are going to want access to the most important things right away so that you don't have to go without them for very long.
- Unpack the most frequently used items first, like your entertainment systems and the clothes that are currently in season.
- Get to out-of-season and other rarely used items last; that way, after the first couple of days of unpacking, it won't do any harm to rest for a couple of days before starting again.
- While you are unpacking everything, be sure to declutter while you go through every box.
- Wait to decorate until you are completely finished with everything else—when your home is otherwise completely in order, you will have a perfect idea of where your decorations should go.
Inspect your home.It is important to know if any problems exist in your home; after all, you can't do anything to fix them unless you know they are there! If you discover any of the following issues, immediately contact your realtor or leasing complex for assistance.
- Check for obvious cracks or serious inconsistencies in the bases of the walls; these could indicate a problem with your foundation.
- Check the ceilings for water damage; water damage marks indicate a leaking problem.
- Check the bathrooms and basement for mold.
- Investigate the age and condition of your furnace, stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator.
- Save any home system or appliance manuals and keep them in a safe place, like a drawer in your kitchen set aside for this purpose.
Determine plans for fires and other emergencies.Create an evacuation plan for extremely dangerous natural disasters. Agree with your new housemates upon an escape plan in the event of a fire, or familiarize yourself with your living complex's emergency protocol. Know where your local fire station and police station are and how to contact them in the event of an emergency.
Set up any utilities you still need.This includes gas, electric, cable, internet, water, and any security or trash collection services you may require. It is important to get this done as soon as possible; living without the means to cook, stay warm, bathe, or entertain yourself will create a lot of unnecessary stress which will doubtlessly interfere with your attempts to organize yourself after your move.
File change of address forms.File change of address forms with the post office and update your address with your banks and your credit card, insurance, and utility companies. It is also a good idea to update the address on your driver's license, voter's registration, and car registration.
Meet your neighbors.Make the first move and introduce yourself to your neighbors! Taking initiative can be a little nerve-wracking, but it will paint you in an extremely flattering light. One of your neighbors could be your new babysitter, job lead or even best friend, so it's always prudent to start forming connections.
- When you're unpacking, if you see anything that you haven't used in over a year, consider throwing it away. Also consider throwing away any broken objects. Moving house is a great opportunity to get rid of clutter.
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