A new home means new beginnings, new opportunities, and a chance for you to finally get and stay organized. After all, studies have shown that moving out is one of the best times to declutter. Naturally, this makes moving in one of the better times to get organized.

After the arduous process of packing, moving, driving, and all the stress and emotions of saying goodbye, we totally understand if unpacking is not the first thing on your mind. But the faster you unpack, the faster you can start enjoying your new home. With a plan, some focus, and optimism, you can get your home unpacked and reorganized in no time.

Here are some tips for quickly unpacking your new space and keeping it organized:

1. Unpack Your Essentials First

We have always been fans of the “open me first” box, which should be full of things you absolutely need on your first few days or nights in your new house. Your essentials box should be one of the first boxes you unpack, with just enough to help you get by.

2. Unpack Room by Room

The task of unpacking an entire house can be overwhelming, but many experts (and we agree) recommend unpacking room by room over several days. This will help you break up the frustrations of unpacking, and also allow you to return to the unpacking and reorganizing process with fresh eyes every day. Here’s what experts recommend for unpacking order, after you get the bed set up. Remember, these are tips for just the first few days of unpacking:

  • Kitchen: The kitchen is nexus for many families, but it’s also one of the more complicated places to set up. Be sure to line your cupboards, hook up major appliances, and get the most-frequently-used cooking items into their rightful place. Your family will appreciate having quick access to food, especially once the take-out gets tiresome.
  • Bedrooms: This is something that multiple members of the family can do on their own while the kitchen is getting set up too. If you have kids, have them start with their bedrooms.
  • Bathrooms: Bathrooms should be pretty easy, since most of the stuff you immediately need will have been unpacked already from the “essentials” box.
  • Family room / living room / dining room: These are obviously interchangeable depending on which rooms are most important to your family.

3. Pack A Separate Tool Box

Furniture plays a huge factor in getting that home-y feel back into a space. As you’re putting your furniture back together, you’ll likely need a number of tools. Rather than dive into all your boxes for the right tools, we recommend packing your essentials together in an easily-accessible box beforehand, so that you can quickly find it when it’s time to tackle the furniture.

4. Make the Space Feel Like Home

The first night in a new home can feel bare and sparse, especially when you don’t have all the decorations up. Hang pictures and place family photos around the house early in your unpacking, and put up lamps to temper the lighting. This will all help make your new home feel like a place you recognize.

5. Reevaluate and Organize As You Go

Don’t just blindly take everything out and set it around your house. If you planned correctly, you already got rid of a lot of excess things before your move. However, we think it is important to go through this process again as you are unpacking. Force yourself to evaluate every item as you take it out of the box. Set aside a few boxes for donation, storage, and discard.

6. Label Storage Containers

Just as you did when you were packing up (hopefully), label your storage containers or use clear bins. This will help your storage space feel like less of a black hole, and more like an organized, thoughtful library.

7. Resist the Urge to Immediately Buy Things

Essential toiletries and groceries aside, hold off on going to the store until you are nearly done unpacking. You’ll have a better idea of how many baskets or how big a rug you need once you have had the chance to settle in for several days.

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