You’ve gone through the ups and downs of purchasing a home. Now, it’s time to face the unpacking and organizing that will help you truly make the most of your new space. What can you do to make these important tasks easier? First thing’s first, let’s sort some things out.
Home Buying: A Journey and a Destination
Buying a new home is one of the biggest personal and financial experiences that most of us will ever have. It’s a thrilling and life-changing process, in so many ways.
So, if you’ve recently sealed the deal on your new home, we think a big “congratulations” is in order! After all, just think of all that you’ve been through! From searching through listings, to finally discovering “the one,” to getting your loan, to finishing things up at the closing table, you’ve gone on a real journey.
So: What comes next?
Now, you’re nearing the end of the road, and it’s finally time to make your new house into a real home. That may mean packing up your things and moving from your old place into your new one. Or it could mean going on a bit of a shopping spree, purchasing new furniture and storage to help fill up your new rooms. Or, maybe, a little of both.
In any case, there’s a bit of work that you’ll have to do before you and your family can really start filling this new spot with fun experiences and happy memories. Chief among your jobs will be unpacking your things and setting up your new space. This can seem daunting. After all, these early days mark your chance to lay out your rooms in the way that really works for you. This is your opportunity to get things started on the right foot, and make transitioning into your new home easier in the short-term, while also setting up the space to meet your long-term visions and goals.
How to Keep Your New Home Feeling Organized
How can you move house, unpack, and set up your new home — all while staying organized and keeping things functional? Here are a few guidelines that may help:
1.) Make the Most of Your Time
It’s important to realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t expect your Chicagoland house to be, either!
Be realistic as you get settled in your new home and come up with a plan of action for unpacking. For example, you may want to set daily goals for yourself and family members, along the lines of “unpack two boxes per day.” Figure out what you need to do and when, and then prioritize each job.
For example, after a long day of work and school, you may want to handle a smaller task, such as unpacking family photos. On a free weekend, you can then turn your attention to bigger projects, like setting up the entertainment center or hanging shelves.
2.) Have the Essentials Ready to Go
Will you be ready to hit the ground running when you set foot in your new home? Many home organization and moving experts recommend preparing boxes with the “essentials.” You may even consider having an essentials box for the whole family, and then have each individual pack one of their own.
Your family essentials box should be filled with things you’ll need right away. Ideas might include cleaning supplies, important documents, dishware, and basic cooking utensils. Each member of the family can also personalize their own box of essentials, which might include a change of clothes, a clean towel, medicines, and so on.
Make sure these boxes are clearly labeled. You may even consider keeping them with you as you hit the road. For example, leave enough space so that you can load the absolute essentials into a car with you, rather than entrusting them to the moving truck. This way, you’ll have the bare basics on hand, even if anything goes wrong during the move.
3.) Work from Room to Room
When you first get started preparing your new home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. With so many boxes and piles of stuff, it can be hard to know where to get started. And then, once you do get things going, it’s easy to feel distracted, especially if you’re constantly hopping from the bedroom, to the living room, to the office, and back again.
Instead, you may want to compartmentalize, by focusing your attention on one room at a time.
To make things easier on yourself, you may want to put boxes in the appropriate rooms right away when you first start moving in. This way, you won’t have to deal with sorting things out later. Then, prioritize your rooms by importance. What will you need, and when will you need it? For example, many home experts recommend starting with kids’ bedrooms, in order to make the transition to a new living space as easy on them as possible. Then you may wish to focus on the kitchen, then the bathrooms, then the living room, and so on.
4.) Have a Plan for Clutter
Moving into a new home is a great opportunity to get rid of things you no longer want or need.
Give yourself ample time before moving into a new home to declutter. Donate, sell, or give away what you can, and responsibly dispose of everything else that you no longer want or have a use for. Some things to target might include extra clothes you no longer wear, duplicate kitchen and bathroom items, toys that the kids have outgrown, and so on.
As you unpack and set up your new home, you may also want set up clutter zones, or staging areas for things that should be thrown out or donated. Even if you’re thorough about decluttering before you pack up, you may still find plenty more things to get rid of as you start to unload in your new space.
5.) Set Your Space Up for Success Down the Line
Start things off on the right foot by organizing as you unpack. Think of this new home as a clean slate, and take advantage of that by laying things out just the way you want them. Have you ever had a dream living room set-up? Or wanted your home office to be oriented in a certain way? Now’s your chance to design the rooms you’ve always wanted!
And don’t forget about organizing. As you unpack and set up your new rooms, go the extra mile ahead of time and organize items in a way that makes sense to you. For instance, in your kitchen, arts & crafts room, or work studio, you may want to store equipment and tools by use, so you’re not scrambling to find things when you need them later. At this point, you may also wish to take advantage of storage containers, and label everything in a way that works for you.