Professional Organizer
Unpacking After a Move

Unpacking After a Move: 10 Essential Tips for a Smooth Transition

May 02, 20247 min read

Moving into a new house in areas like Overland Park, Leawood or across the state line in Kansas City can be very exciting. However, unpacking after a move doesn't have to fill you with dread. A few simple strategies, implemented before, during, and after the move, make an overwhelming task easier.

These unpacking tips help you organize your rooms, belongings, and decorations after a move. With some pre-planning and smart techniques, you can start life in your new home. 

Let’s get started!

1. Pre-Move Preparation

Before moving, there are ways to make your unpacking easier. For example, taking photos of your current home before you pack anything away serves as your reference point when unpacking. 

Take pictures of how you've arranged furniture, the way you've organized shelves and closets, and the setup of any complex electronics. When it's time to recreate these layouts in your new home, those photos will be your guide.

How To Plan Your New Home Layout

Familiarize yourself with the layout and dimensions of your new Kansas City home. Access online photos, floor plans, or any other resources that help you visualize the space. Plan where you'll place your major furniture pieces. For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, create a simple floor plan of your new home and use painter's tape to mark furniture locations on the floor.

2. Label Your Moving Boxes

Each box should indicate the room where it belongs, along with a list of its contents. For faster identification, consider using a color-coding system. For example, assign a specific color to each room: blue for the kitchen, green for the living room, etc. Color-coded labels provide a quick visual reference for you and your movers.

Identify your "Essentials" boxes containing items you'll need immediately upon arrival at your new home. Make sure the boxes are marked and inform the movers of their importance. 

3. What Should Be Inside Your ‘Essentials’ Box

Stock it with must-haves like toiletries, basic medications, phone chargers, clean towels, and a change of clothes. To ensure a restful first night's sleep, create a dedicated "First Night" bedding box. This box should contain a fitted sheet, top sheet, pillows, pillowcases, and a light blanket or comforter. Having everything you need for sleep in one identifiable box guarantees a good night's rest amidst the unpacking chaos.

4. Organize a Functional Kitchen

Focus first on the essentials for daily cooking and eating in your new kitchen. Unpack your coffee maker (or tea kettle), everyday dishes, utensils, and a few basic pots and pans. These items let you prepare meals amidst the busy unpacking process.

Kitchen Appliance Setup

Set up your major kitchen appliances. Start with the essentials such as refrigerator, stove, and microwave. Make sure they are plugged in and functional so your perishables stay cold and you have ways to prepare food.

Stock Up Your Pantry

Examine any food items transferred from your old pantry. Discard anything expired or well past its prime. This clears space and prevents outdated food from cluttering your new pantry.

Next, assess which pantry staples you'll need to restock, such as flour, sugar, rice, oils, and your favorite spices. Create a detailed shopping list to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store during the busy schedule.

Use clear storage containers to see what's on hand and keep items fresh. Label these containers for even easier identification of contents.

Line Cabinets and Drawers for Easy Cleaning

Before loading in your dishes and cookware, line your kitchen cabinets and drawers with a shelf liner. Then, organize dishes and glassware within cabinets. Group items by type (plates, bowls, glasses) and then further by occasion (everyday, formal, holiday). Keep frequently used items within easy reach and find special-occasion serving pieces by following this tip.

5. Arrange Your Bedroom

Protect your mattress from stains and spills by installing a mattress protector. This added layer of protection extends the lifespan of your mattress. Next, make your bed with a neatly fitted sheet followed by the top sheet, blankets, and comforter. Finish with pillows and any decorative throws for a restful night's sleep.

Organize Your Closet

If time permits, give your bedroom closets a quick vacuum and wipe-down before unpacking. You’ll be so glad you did. Then organize your closet using the tips below.

  • Unpack and hang your clothing, grouping items by type (shirts, pants, dresses) and then arranging them within each category by color. 

  • If closet space feels limited, invest in space-saving hangers or closet organizers. These handy tools create additional areas for accessories, belts, or out-of-season items.

  • Store out-of-season clothing or extra blankets and linens on high closet shelves. Use storage boxes or bins to keep these items organized and dust-free.

Create a Bedside Sanctuary

Place a lamp on your nightstand to provide light for reading or relaxing before bed. Choose a lamp that complements the style of your bedroom and offers adequate brightness.

Add essentials to your nightstand like a book, a glass of water, a journal and pen, or any other items you might need throughout the night. Include a few personal touches, like a framed photo or a small plant, to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

6. Arrange Furniture Based on Your Pre-Move Plan or Markings

Refer to your pre-move furniture plan or floor markings to guide the placement of large furniture pieces in your living room. Consider traffic points (like a fireplace or window), and conversational groupings when determining furniture arrangement.

Next, choose curtains or blinds to enhance the privacy and style within your living space. Select materials and colors that complement the room's decor and offer the light control you want.

Finally, accessorize with cozy details for added comfort and personality. Decorative throw pillows and soft blankets introduce pops of color and texture. Moreover, incorporate a few houseplants to liven the space, improve air quality, and add a touch of nature indoors.

7. Organize the Dining Room

Start by placing your dining table and chairs in the dining area. Refer to your pre-move plan or floor markings, if you made any. Consider the size of the space and how you envision using the room for everyday meals and larger gatherings.

Unpack and arrange dishes, glassware, and serving pieces within china cabinets or other accessible storage in the dining room. Group items by type (plates, bowls, glasses) and then by occasion (everyday, formal, holiday) to make the table setting easier.

Add Placemats, Napkin Rings, and Centerpieces

Personalize your dining space with details like placemats and decorative napkin rings. Choose colors and styles that complement the overall aesthetic of the room. For instance, create a welcoming atmosphere with a simple centerpiece. Consider fresh flowers, a bowl of seasonal fruit, or a curated collection of candles to add elegance to your dining table.

8. Ask for Help From Family and Friends

Involve family members or enlist the help of friends to help you unpack efficiently. Delegate specific rooms or tasks to others during the transition into your new home.

Maintain a positive atmosphere by putting on some upbeat music, ordering pizza, and taking breaks for fun and relaxation. This makes unpacking less overwhelming and encourages a team mentality.

9. Take Breaks and Celebrating Milestones

Schedule regular breaks throughout your unpacking sessions. Step away from the boxes, go for a walk, or enjoy a change of scenery to prevent mental and physical exhaustion.

Celebrate small victories throughout the process. Acknowledge the completion of a room or the successful setup of a functional kitchen. These small rewards boost morale and motivate you to continue unpacking.

10. Personalize Your New Home

Unpack and display cherished family photos around your new home. Hanging photos in the living room, hallways, or bedrooms personalizes the space.

Add Sensory Touches Throughout Your Home

Introduce pleasant scents throughout different areas of your home. Choose essential oil diffusers or scented candles (when appropriate) to create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere. Here are some examples of using scents and flowers in different rooms:

  • Living Room: Uplifting scents like citrus or lemongrass can energize this common space.

  • Bedroom: Relaxing scents like lavender or chamomile promote a restful environment.

  • Kitchen: Go for neutral scents or avoid strong fragrances altogether to prevent interfering with food aromas.

  • Bathroom: Invigorating scents like peppermint or eucalyptus can add a spa-like feel.

  • Fresh Flowers: Liven up various rooms with pops of color and a touch of nature using fresh flowers.

Settle Into Your New Kansas City Home

Moving is filled with endless tasks. But unpacking after a move doesn’t have to be difficult. If you use the strategies outlined in this guide and hire a professional organizer in Kansas City, you’ll unpack all those boxes in no time. You'll be well on your way to enjoying your new living space.

Remember, settling into a new home is a process. Take your time, celebrate the small victories, and don't hesitate to ask for help if you need additional support. Now, relax and start creating happy memories in your new home in Kansas City.


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.

Back to Blog
Professional Organizer Logo

Organizing-Etc. - Professional Home Organizers - Serving Johnson County and Greater Kansas City

© 2024 Organizing-Etc. LLC

“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!”

— J.J. DUNCAN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF “THE GENTLE ART OF SWEDISH DEATH CLEANING”