You made it! All the boxes and furniture and people have relocated to a new home. Now what?
Target needs first. Beds set up and made will make for a good night’s sleep. The bathroom and kitchen are often the next, as far as immediate needs. Hygiene and coffee, right? Targeting the priorities will be more effective, so don’t even think about the den or craft room until later.
Set up a calm space. I generally aim at a settled bedroom first. It is an oasis in the midst of chaos, and it helps with mental and physical rest until the whole house catches up. In your house it may be an office or the kitchen or a child’s bedroom. Decide what will have the biggest impact, then unpack and set up that room completely. The goal is to be able to enter it and not know you are still in the middle of moving.
Unpack boxes completely. As much as possible, try to unpack the whole box and put all the items away. Pulling one item from here and two items from there leaves a wake of clutter that is working against you. Clean out the box, fill the shelf, and put the box outside the house (or in the garage). Now you can see your progress.
Avoid big projects immediately. Some repairs or renovations need to happen right away — or even before you move — but usually it will help to give yourself space and time to settle in to a new environment and really see how you will use it before you tackle most projects. Once the dust has settled, you can see more clearly as to what you want to change and what works just fine, actually.
Remember how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. One box at a time. You are making progress with each box unpacked, so settle in to the one in front of you and deal with the others in time. They don’t all need to be done at once; you will eventually make it through the mountain of cardboard (or plastic totes). It can be done, one at a time.
You packed up and are now ready to go. Often this move happens primarily on one day, and these tips address that situation.
Make a list of tasks. Any furniture still need to be disassembled? Appliances and boxes and lamps may be going in different places. Do you need big stuff first, heavy stuff first, or what? Cleaning needed? Any items need special handling? Ordering pizza for lunch?
Whether you have a professional mover team or a group of friends, it is helpful to have a hit list and assign teams to what needs to be done. It doesn’t take six people to move the washing machine, so plan ahead to divide and conquer. It doesn’t take mega-muscles to do every task, so know what can be done by various capabilities. Children can be vigilant door-openers.
Accept help. You need it! Take it with gratitude. There is lots to do, so spread the joy. Wouldn’t you enjoy helping your friends? Don’t walk alone.
Use your floor plan and list. You set it up; now is not the time to forget it. You already thought about where you want the couch; it can go straight there when it arrives.
Have a point person at each location. It’s helpful to have one person who knows what is going on at both the old and the new location. If that is cross-country, it can easily be the same person, of course. The point person has the floor plan and the task list, so most questions can be answered on the spot. Boxes and furniture go into the right room the first time. This keeps things moving and ensures anyone there to help is not wondering why they came out to just stand around.
Label your rooms. Make a sign for each room (Girls’ Room, Bedroom 2, Office, etc.) and stick it to the door. This will help everyone know where they are going instead of asking each time.
Know it will take longer than you think. Really. Every time. You always have more stuff than you think you do. Just plan on a long day from the start.
Keep breathing. It will get done. It’s messy, but you’ll get there.