• lisa1372

As a move management company, we work with hundreds of clients as they downsize, pack and move. Here’s a common observation: Our clients are often so intensely focused on packing and the move itself that unpacking often is relegated to the back seat. “I’ll worry about that when the time comes” is a common theme.

But once that stack of boxes lands in your new home, the large task of unpacking looms.

As professional packers – and unpackers – there are steps you can take both before and after the move to make unpacking easier and more stress-free:

1. Purge before you move: One of the biggest challenges is when there are too many belongings for the new space. Take time up front to evaluate the storage space in your new home and purge items that won’t fit. A few places to start: clothing and shoes that don’t fit or are no longer in style; kitchen gadgets, serving ware and dishes that are no longer used; and sentimental items that are no longer sentimental.

2. Label boxes clearly: Use thick permanent markers to label boxes with the contents and the room the box should go in in your new home. Instruct your movers to put the boxes in the correct room. The better the boxes are marked, the less time you will waste looking for things while unpacking.

3. Pack 1 or 2 “essentials” boxes. An essentials box is filled with all of the things you will need for the first few nights in your new home. It is the first box you open and should include items for food prep, personal care, making the beds and home set-up (i.e. paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, garbage bags, etc.) For a complete essentials box list, please email:

4. Have an unpacking plan. Once your essentials are unpacked, it’s best to unpack room-by-room. Having one room complete before you start another helps minimize that overwhelming feeling. The order we recommend is: kitchen, main bathroom, bedrooms, closets, entertainment, extra spaces, artwork and décor.

5. Manage the boxes and paper as you go. When you empty a box, break it down and stack it in an out-of-the way location such as the garage or a spare room. Packing paper can be flattened, rolled up and stored in large garbage bags, making it easier to store until you are able to recycle it.

Unpacking can be a physical and mental challenge so be sure to take plenty of breaks and get help from family, friends or a professional if you need it.

To learn more about A Bridge Forward’s packing and unpacking services check us out at:

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With the onset of spring and an increasing number of people who have been vaccinated, our thoughts turn to inviting friends and family to our homes again. If clutter has crept into your home while you have been cooped up the past 12 months, now is the time to take action.

This Guardian article offers several good tips from experts for getting started. My favorite is:

“Walk around your house with the biggest cardboard box you can find and just shove it all in there,” she says. “Doesn’t matter if it’s unopened mail, paperwork or files. Whatever it is, get it all into one box. Because then, mentally, you are only dealing with one box. And then when you’re ready to deal with that box, you sit there, in front of your favorite TV show, and you can start going through that paperwork.”

As we work with clients who are decluttering, here are five strategies we recommend:

1. Start small, commit to one drawer or cabinet a day. As you see progress, many people are motivated to keep going. When I have a personal decluttering project, I devote 15-20 minutes to it right after the dinner dishes are cleaned up. You should find a consistent time that works for you.

2. Whether donating or throwing away, here are 10 things you can get rid of now:

  • Excess serving dishes

  • Extra vases

  • Old spices

  • Mismatched storage containers

  • Specialty ingredients used once

  • Extra mugs and reuseable water bottles

  • Old coats, shoes & handbags

  • Expired over-the-counter medications

  • Unused and unwanted personal care items

  • Excess or duplicate home office supplies

3. Clear off and keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bedroom dressers and tabletops have a tendency to accumulate clutter. After you clear them the first time, keeping them clean takes daily effort. Receipts, coins, and junk mail keep coming, so stay committed to putting these things away or disgarding them before they have a chance to take over the space again.

4. Fill your trash and recycling containers every week. Take out a box of junk from the attic or basement, old food from the pantry, excess cardboard shoe or shipping boxes. It is expensive to have a junk pick-up so start early and take advantage of resources available to you.

5. Give yourself permission to let go. If you don’t love it – or haven’t used it lately -- let it go. The fewer things you have, the easier it is to keep them organized … and your living space decluttered.

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As Senior Move Managers, we work with clients before, during and after a move. From experience working on hundreds of moves, we’ve learned how to avoid some of the pitfalls and make the move process as smooth and stress free as possible.

Stress associated with moving can be triggered by the many changes brought about by the move, worry about the cost of the move, and how much time it requires to get everything done. Planning ahead and arranging for help if you need it are two of the ways you can minimize stress.

In addition, there are a few things you can do to avoid adding to an already stressful event. From personal experience – and a few mistakes along the way – here’s what we have learned:

1. Book your mover early. The best movers book up quickly especially during peak moving seasons and at the end of the month. Because you don’t want to settle for second best, do your research, get price quotes and make your selection as soon as you know your move date.

2. Understand the mover’s base insurance coverage. Although we all hope our move goes smoothly and nothing is damaged, that is not always the case. Make sure you are not surprised about how you are compensated for damage if something goes wrong. Most moving companies include insurance at the rate of 60 cents per pound. If you do the math, that doesn’t add up to much. If you have items of value, find out the cost for full value insurance. Also, be sure you understand any timing restrictions for making a claim.

3. Declutter, declutter, declutter. Everything you move costs money to pack and move so avoid moving belongings you don’t use or love. It’s easier and more cost efficient to purge before you move.

4. Move valuables to the home of a trusted relative or a safety deposit box before having packers, movers or repair companies in your home.

5. Label your packed boxes clearly and indicate the room they will be moved to in the new home. Being in your new home surrounded by packed boxes can be daunting. Unpacking will be much easier if the boxes are placed by the mover in the correct room.

6. Be 100% ready for the movers when they arrive on move day. The movers will want to get started quickly. Make sure any last minute items are packed before they arrive. If there are boxes or furniture pieces that are not be loaded on the truck, make sure they are clearly marked.

7. Persoanally move your own prescriptions, checkbook and any important papers with you to your new home on move day. In the hustle and bustle of the day, you want to keep track of these important items.

8. Moving day is exhausting so have a plan or extra help on hand to make sure the shower curtain can be hung and the beds made. You also should have a kitchen and bathroom moving box that is labeled “UNPACK FIRST.” These boxes should contain items you will need right away including toilet paper, paper towels, a few trash bags, the coffee pot or tea kettle and personal care items.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Ask friends or family members for help. If you need outside help, consider hiring a Move Manager. Make sure the company is bonded, insured and willing to provide references. With planning, preparation and good partners to help during the move process where needed, you will be settled comfortably in your new home with the move a fading memory.

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