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  • Lisa Haynes

UNPACKING: Thoughts about an afterthought

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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