Where to Begin
When viewing the moving-day disorder, the normal urge is to put everything in its proper place as quickly as possible. However, nerves can be spared and good relations maintained if you keep two important points in mind:
1. You don't have to unpack everything in one day or even one week.
2. Unpacking after moving can be fun, so make the process feel like the end of an enjoyable adventure.
To start out, consider your family's basic and most essential needs (food, rest and bathing) and begin to unpack accordingly. Additionally, focus on one room at a time to stay on course.
Unpacking the Kitchen
Once the kitchen is unpacked and set up enough to function, it can become a port where everyone can congregate and take a break from the jumble in the other rooms. Resist the urge to unpack everything in the kitchen right away. Instead, start with the essentials and leave less frequently used gear in boxes until you decide what will go where.
Unpacking the Bathroom
Next, tackle the bathroom. If you have children, consider unpacking a bathroom that can be used as a communal bathroom. Otherwise, unpack the master bath. Make sure the plumbing works — you may need to turn on the water outside — and then put toiletries in place.
Unpacking the Living Room
Once the kitchen and the bathroom are operational, the rest of the unpacking can proceed without urgency. Shift your focus to the living room or family room. Before you begin unpacking or moving furniture, take a moment to sketch the room and draw how you want to place your furniture. It's much easier to erase and re-sketch a rectangle that represents the couch than it is to lift and move furniture around the room.
Unpacking the Bedroom
If you don't get to the bedrooms on the first night, don't be upset. Drag mattresses and pillows together in one room and have a family camp-out. It will add to the sense of adventure. Share the burden of assembling the beds and moving heavy furniture, but allow each bedroom dweller to unpack and arrange their personal belongings. Professional movers will reassemble any beds that were taken apart.
Unpacking after you move may seem like another in a long series of huge moving-day tasks, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming if you take your time and make it fun. It's also one more great opportunity to evaluate your belongings to see whether more items can be donated to charity.