We have teamed up with the lovely Chrissy from Organise My House, who will hopefully be contributing her expertise on our blog on a more regular basis. Chrissy describes herself as a recovering perfectionist, with a penchant for lists and excel and strongly believes that getting organised can fundamentally change your life.
Moving house is up there with divorce and having a baby as one of the most stressful life events you can experience. As such, any ways to make any part of the process a little easier has my vote!
What better place to start than with your stuff?
Packing, moving, and unpacking all your belongings in one go is a huge undertaking.
I wanted to delve deep today and explore the reasons why unpacking slowly may be the answer to a less stressful move
– and why it includes looking at how you pack your things in the first place as well.
PLAN WHAT YOU PACK
I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your packing the right way when you leave your old home, as it can help so much once you get to your new home.
So many people simply throw things into boxes with the thought that it will be easier the other end to sort it out, but they couldn’t be further from the truth.
Not only are you possibly taking things that you don’t want any longer (and paying more to move the extra stuff), but you are also giving yourself a LOT of extra work at the other end
of the process – just when you will want to put your feet up and relax….
After all, you will have spent weeks sorting out the move, so the last thing you will want to be faced with is a huge number of boxes - not knowing what’s where, what will be needed straightaway, and what can wait.
If you don’t take time at the start to pack and label correctly in your old home, then you force yourself to have to open every box as soon as you move into the new one, and I know that’s not something I would relish at that point in the move.
So – planning your packing right from the start will totally change how quickly you need to unpack at the other end. It can save you time and effort, and alleviate the stress of unpacking everything as quickly as possible – giving you a chance to get other things done more easily (which I’ll come onto later…).
HOW TO PACK – TOP TIPS
To pack successfully so that you can unpack more slowly at the other end – here are my quick tips: -
- Pack up each room in turn (start with the least used rooms so that you won’t miss the items as quickly).
- Get rid of any items you don’t want any longer (charity, rubbish etc…) – save your money and effort now instead of moving them with you.
- Separate any items that you use on a regular basis – the day to day essentials. For example – in the kitchen you would pack kettle, toaster, cutlery, plates etc… - things you will need immediately.
- Pack the rest separately (items that are nice to have but not necessary such as ornaments, books, pictures etc…), and pack like with like.
- Label all boxes clearly (on all sides so you can see at a glance what’s what) – ensure you write on them the room they are from and roughly what items are there.
- For the items that you need on a day to day basis – the things you need to live each day – label these boxes “ESSENTIALS”.
Doing it this way means you know that you have packed exactly what you want to take to your new home, you have clearly labelled things so will be able to find what you need more quickly, and you have identified the items you will need immediately for your normal day to day life (ESSENTIALS).
On moving day, you can simply unpack those ESSENTIALS boxes
and get started on living in your home.
Well, they can be opened a little at a time.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO WAIT TO UNPACK, ANYWAY?
You may assume that you would be better off unpacking everything as quickly as possible, so you can return to normal life more quickly – but think again!
I have moved a few times in my life, and a staged approach to unpacking has served us well
every time – here are the reasons why:
#1 – ALLOWS YOU TO CLEAN THOROUGHLY
Unless you move into a new home, you don’t know exactly what the level of clean was from the previous owners (even a new home may not be as clean as you want it as there may still be dust from the build etc…).
You will more than likely want to clean the house yourself before you move everything in, but as soon as your boxes and furniture land in the new house and get unpacked, the process of cleaning becomes so much harder.
It will take less time and effort to clean before unpacking, and if you wait to unpack, you can use that time for things like getting the carpets cleaned and thoroughly cleaning all the cupboards, cabinets and surfaces as well.
That way, when you do unpack, you know for definite that all your stuff is being placed somewhere that’s clean - a great start in your new home!
#2 – ALLOWS YOU TO WORK OUT HOW YOU WILL LIVE
You may have grand plans for how you will live in your new home – maybe you’ve been planning it in your head ever since your offer was accepted – it’s exciting to say the least!
But – waiting to unpack for at least a while may be the best thing you could do for yourself – let me explain…
You may have been swayed in how each room is to be used by how the previous owners used the space (for example - their dining room will automatically feel like a dining room to you because that’s the furniture you saw there).
However, if you take more time when you move in to understand the space more and how you would benefit from using it – from a blank canvas - then you may well decide that things could work better another way around.
If you unpack everything before taking this time, then the process of moving items from room to room becomes so much more time consuming because you will have so much more to move around that you may not even bother – such a shame…
#3 – ALLOWS YOU TO UNPACK SLOWLY
We are busy people.
We live in a world where we always seem to be rushed and are always looking to find that extra hour from somewhere.
Finding the time to do all the unpacking straight after the move can be a daunting prospect to say the least.
Doing it all in one go, even if you’re quick, can still take several days.
The answer is to unpack more slowly and give yourself time to do it properly and in a less rushed and stressful way. You can more easily find pockets of time than a large amount in one go.
Because you spent time packing properly, you will be able to put the non-essential boxes in a room that you don’t need to use straight away such as a spare bedroom, and go through them over time, opening them when you can.
Give yourself some breathing space and it won’t become such a hassle to complete.
#4 – ALLOWS YOU TO BE ABLE TO REDECORATE OR DO RENOVATIONS
This one is my favourite reason to unpack slowly – and has the most impact.
If you’re thinking of doing work on your new home straight away, then why would you unpack everything so that you must work around it all?
When I moved into my current home, we only moved in with about 20% of our stuff on day one (the essentials).
The rest was kept in storage for a while, because we ended up making LOTS of changes to the house, including full redecoration, new bathroom, new lighting and changing some walls even!
There were so many advantages of having less in the house: -
- The trades doing the work could complete it much more quickly.
- There was less disruption for us as we didn’t need to keep moving things out of the way.
- There was less of our stuff to clean each day (brick dust gets everywhere!).
- Our stuff was safely stored away so didn’t risk getting damaged.
Once you’ve done the work you know you want to get done then you can get the rest of your things and unpack.
It’s the perfect solution, and waiting to unpack fully means you gain the home you want that much more quickly and with a lot less hassle.
That’s my guide to the benefits of unpacking slowly. I hope that it has inspired you if you’re moving house soon, and that your move goes well.
Don’t forget though – being able to unpack slowly is a reward that can be done when you have packed up your old home well – so get that sorted and you’re halfway there already!
You can move in, enjoy your home, and take your time to settle in – what could be better than that…
Discover more moving home
articles on Safestore’s blog
where you’ll find a range of topics; from homeowner advice to expat tips and more. Or, if you require storage during a move we have a range of self storage options in over 100 locations – find your nearest store
for a quote today.