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unpacking sanity achieved in 5 steps

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Step 1: Freak out! - You’ve decided to go this alone and you’re sitting in your new home crying in front of 200 unlabeled boxes. Ok, so hopefully it’s not that bad but don’t worry, we’ll figure this out.

Step 2: Triage – You need a place to sleep and if you have family members, they also do. That means putting down mattresses on a clear space of floor, finding sheets, pillows and blankets. After figuring out sleeping arrangements, next up is going to using the bathroom/ taking a shower – you’ll need toilet paper, towels, etc.

Step 3: Separate – Hopefully your boxes and containers are labeled but if they’re not, you’re going to need to open them. Then, use the least important space – if you have an extra room, use that and if not, the living room – to organize the boxes by category. This will be your place to put things until you can deal with them one by one. That way when you’re ready to deal with kitchen, you know you have 15 boxes to open and deal with.

Step 4: Allocate – Once you’ve dealt with bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen, it’s now time to deal with the rest: your books, sports gear, etc. When putting stuff away, the best real estate (i.e. your eye level) goes to priority items. The more important something is to your life, the more accessible it should be to the person who uses it most often.

Step 5: Finesse – Once the craziness has calmed down a bit, the smaller and arguably less important tasks can happen. You can hang up photos, purchase new furniture, etc.

It’s important to remember that this won’t all happen in one day. Yes, unpacking can happen quickly but the process of molding your new home into a place where you feel completely comfortable can take a while. Give yourself the time to buy the perfect, not just one that is easy to acquire.

Bonus: If you only have time to do one piece of prep-work before the move, pack a suitcase like you’re going on a trip. Include the clothes you’ll wear for the next week as well as your most important items – current medications, laptop, chargers, etc. Also include important documents like your social security card, passport, etc.

Try my tips and tricks above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.


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