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The Best Way to Unpack After a Move

The Best Way to Unpack After a Move: Tips for a Smooth Transition

May 02, 20247 min read

Moving is an exciting milestone, especially in a growing dynamic city like the Kansas City metro area. However, even the most organized homeowner dreads the post-move unpacking phase. Finding the best way to unpack after a move often delays the feeling of truly settling into your home.

But, unpacking doesn't have to be stressful. With a few strategic tips and a shift in mindset, you’ll unpack those boxes efficiently. This guide provides the best unpacking tips for you. You'll have a place for everything, and everything in its place, in no time.

Tip #1: Shift Your Perspective

Instead of dreading the task, view each box as a chance to curate your belongings and create a space that reflects your lifestyle. Remember, you're not just placing items; you're building the new home you’ve always dreamed of.

Tip #2: Declutter as You Go

Don't let unused items or duplicates clutter your new Johnson County haven. As you unpack, make decisive choices about what stays and what goes. Is that unworn sweater taking up closet space? Consider donating it to a local shelter.  

Unused kitchen gadgets cluttering a drawer? Sell them on a platform like Facebook Marketplace and use the extra cash to treat yourself after unpacking. Letting go isn't just about physical space. It clears mental space and sets the tone for long-term tidiness.

Tip #3: Label Your Boxes

Labeling is your best friend during the unpacking process. Don’t just put room names. Indicate the contents of each box (e.g., "Master Bedroom Linens," "Holiday Decorations," "Kids' Books"). Consider using color-coding, inventory list apps, or a combination of methods to make finding specific items easier. This lets you focus on creating a functional home, not hunting through boxes.

Tip #4: Put The Essentials Box On Top

Before the movers arrive, carefully pack essential boxes with everything you'll need for the first few nights in your new home. You can put toiletries, cleaning supplies, a change of clothes, basic tools, medications, and pet supplies. Label this box clearly and keep it accessible during the move so you can quickly find what you need without rummaging through everything.

Tip #5: Clean Slate, Organized Start

Give your new home a thorough cleaning before unpacking a single box. A fresh space feels less hectic and allows you to place items thoughtfully, minimizing piles and clutter. If possible, you can pre-schedule professional cleaners to help you organize your home. 

Tip #6: Prioritize Essentials First

Start by unpacking the things you need to make your Johnson County home functional right away. Focus on bedrooms, bathrooms, and a basic kitchen setup. Unpack bed linens, towels, toiletries, dishes, and cookware first. This ensures a comfortable first night's sleep and prevents scrambling for essentials later.

Tip #7: Organize Rooms One by One

Don't spread unpacked boxes everywhere. Choose a single room and completely unpack it before moving on. This room-by-room approach gives you a sense of accomplishment as you see your home transform into an organized space.

Tip #8: Unpack Before Entertainment

It's tempting to unwind with TV after a stressful move. However, prioritize unpacking first. Setting up a functional home first leads to more long-term relaxation. You'll enjoy shows and movies later without constantly reminding you of unpacked boxes surrounding you.

Tip #9: Create a "Maybe" Pile

You'll likely find items you're unsure where to put or even if you need them. Don't get stuck on these decisions. Create a designated "Maybe" zone. Revisit this pile once you've unpacked most of the boxes. With your organized space clearer, you can make informed decisions about these items without slowing down unpacking.

Tip #10: Decide on a Rough Furniture Placement

Get your major furniture pieces roughly in place in each room. Don't worry about perfect placement yet. You can fine-tune it later after unpacking smaller items. This initial placement helps you visualize the room's layout and avoids the hassle of moving heavy furniture multiple times.

Tip #11: Maximize Space with Smart Storage

Make the most of your house in Kansas City by exploring creative storage solutions. Invest in shelving that suits built-ins and adjustable units. Use baskets and bins to organize smaller items on shelves. Utilize under-bed storage for extra linens or out-of-season clothing to free up closets.

Tip #12: Label for Easy Maintenance

Don't let cluttered shelves and drawers undo your hard work. Clearly label all boxes, bins, shelves, and drawers. This way, you and your family can easily find what you need, keeping your space tidy.

Tip #13: Get Help When You Need It

If unpacking feels overwhelming, there's no shame in getting support. Ask friends or family members for even a few hours of unpacking help. If you have a limited timeframe or have downsized significantly, consider hiring a professional organizer in Kansas City. They will help you come up with long-term organizational systems.

Tip #14: Unpack the Kitchen for Efficiency

Prioritize a functional kitchen. Unpack essential appliances first such as the coffee maker, toaster, etc. Then, tackle cabinets and drawers, creating zones for dishes, cookware, and pantry items.  Organize the layout for how you cook so you can create a meal without having to sort through your moving boxes.

Tip #15: It’s Time to Add Personal Touches 

Bring warmth to your space even with boxes around. Unpack cherished photos, hang a favorite piece of art, or display a bowl of colorful fruit. These touches personalize your house and make it feel like home.

Tip #16: Don’t Treat It As a Chore

Unpacking can be stressful, but find joy in the process. Play music you love, take breaks to explore your new neighborhood, and reward yourself. Order a takeout after a major room is unpacked so you’ll have the energy to continue unpacking later.

Make Your Dream House Feel Like Home

A well-organized Johnson County home is a haven for relaxation and a springboard for enjoying your new life. Follow these expert tips for the best way to unpack after a move. Organize your belongings strategically, minimize stress, and create a space that reflects your style.

Ready to make your dream home a reality? Unpack with a plan. Prioritize essentials, organize rooms one at a time, and don't hesitate to ask for help. Celebrate your progress, with each completed room, you're closer to enjoying your beautiful new space.

Frequently Asked Questions 

My new home is smaller than my previous one. How do I handle downsizing during the unpacking process?

As you unpack, be ruthless in deciding what brings joy or serves a purpose in your new home. Donate items and consider selling valuable items online. Focus on essentials and maximize storage in your smaller space.

I'm exhausted after the move. Is it okay to take a break from unpacking?

Unpacking is a marathon, not a sprint. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. A short walk or enjoying a coffee in your new neighborhood can recharge you and make unpacking more enjoyable.

My kids want to open their toy boxes right away. Should I let them?

Unpack essentials for their rooms first (beds, clothes), then let them have some fun with one toy box. This gives them a comfortable base in their new room and a designated play area to keep the rest of the room from becoming a chaotic toy zone.

What if I come across items I'm not quite ready to decide about?

That's where your "Maybe" pile is needed. Set aside those items into a marked box or zone. Once the majority of your unpacking is done, you can revisit these items with a clearer perspective on your space and needs.

I'm not sure how to organize my kitchen in the new space. Any tips?

Before unpacking, observe your kitchen layout and how you typically cook. Group items based on function (baking zone, coffee station, etc.) and place them in cabinets/drawers that make sense based on how you move around your kitchen.


Karen has been a professional organizer in Kansas City since 2015. With her experience in sales & marketing, complemented by a lifelong side gig as a fitness instructor, she discovered that maintaining organization is her method of cultivating tranquility in her life and thoughts. Her frequent family relocations were managed with ease thanks to her organizational prowess, a talent she now imparts to her clients.

Karen's enthusiasm is rooted in devising systems, overseeing projects, and utilizing her meticulous attention to detail to craft spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. As her enterprise flourishes, so does her team—comprising only the most professional, efficient, and discreet organizers. She's selective, ensuring her team exemplifies their high standard of service. For her, organization transcends the mere purchase of attractive storage solutions; it's about equipping individuals with the means to alter their habits and revolutionize their lives.

Karen Swart

Karen has been a professional organizer in Kansas City since 2015. With her experience in sales & marketing, complemented by a lifelong side gig as a fitness instructor, she discovered that maintaining organization is her method of cultivating tranquility in her life and thoughts. Her frequent family relocations were managed with ease thanks to her organizational prowess, a talent she now imparts to her clients. Karen's enthusiasm is rooted in devising systems, overseeing projects, and utilizing her meticulous attention to detail to craft spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. As her enterprise flourishes, so does her team—comprising only the most professional, efficient, and discreet organizers. She's selective, ensuring her team exemplifies their high standard of service. For her, organization transcends the mere purchase of attractive storage solutions; it's about equipping individuals with the means to alter their habits and revolutionize their lives.

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“I cannot recommend Karen Swart and her team enough! We were in the Kansas City area for a full summer, filming “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” and Karen and her team were our behind the scenes death-cleaner helpers! They helped our Death Cleaners move quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly through people’s homes - and they did it with heart. Thank you, Karen! Stay Gentle!”

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