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I have finally arrived to my new home in Sunny Sigonella! Bobby (my husband) arrived several weeks ago but because of delays with my Visa and other annoying reasons I was forced to stay behind. Anyway, because I am just now arriving, I missed the movers when they came to drop off our household goods. Bobby was here to let them in and of course, did nothing else aside from that. Here I was overjoyed with the excitement of being reunited with my husband and getting the chance to see our new home for the first time and I opened the door to a 3-bedroom, 3 bath, storage unit full of boxes. I immediately got to work the first night. My mission: to unpack as quickly but as logically as possible. In other words, this was my new home and my fresh start so I didn’t want to just work to eliminate boxes while creating more work for myself down the road. Here’s how to tackle the unpack after a move!

How to how to tackle the unpack after a move:

1. Plan ahead

If you haven’t already spent sleepless nights dreaming about how you want to set up your new home, do it now! Before you begin to unpack anything, talk a walk through your new space and decide what purpose you’d like each room to serve. While you’re at it, try to keep in mind items you already have and think about which rooms they’d go best in.

 2. Start with large pieces

Begin with setting up all your large pieces. This includes your living room furniture, bed, desk, dressers ect. (especially your shelves and anything with drawers). By setting up I just mean decide where they go and assemble them if needed. Don’t worry about placing anything on them just yet.

 3. Relocate all boxes to their proper rooms

Now you’re ready to open up your boxes! If you’re boxes are already labeled with a designated room, great! Take them there! If not, hopefully when you packed you either consciously or subconsciously packed items together that belong in the same room. Assuming that you did, cut open the top of each box and just SKIM through to see what’s in them. Then decide what room the box should be unpacked in and relocate the box to that room leaving the contents inside to be unpacked later.

Packing tip: Aside from labeling your boxes with a description of contents or designated room, try also using colored duct tape (one color for each room). When the movers come you can simply tell them to place boxes down in specific places based on the color of the tape. For example, all boxes wrapped with green tape go to the kitchen, pink tape goes to master bedroom.

Fun fact: I learned the above tip from an awesome client of mine!

 4. Prioritize your unpack
Now that you have your boxes dispersed into the rooms or spaces they belong in it’s time to prioritize what needs to me unpacked first. My first spaces to unpack in the order I unpack them are:
1.Linen closet
Note: If you have kids, unpacking some of their favorite toys or games is probably a good idea. This way they can stay occupied while you get to work!
5. Organize as you go

Here’s where some may disagree. I get that the goal is essentially to collapse and toss out those boxes as quick as possible, but here’s my thought…this is your new home, your fresh start. Rather than stuffing your cabinets and cluttering your surfaces, why not organize your space as you unpack so that everything is just the way you want it? I’m not suggesting that you spend your entire day pouring your dry goods into labeled jars so that your pantry is Pinterest perfect, but maybe you could place all can goods on the same shelf or color code your clothes while hanging them. Too many times I hear my clients saying “Well, when we moved here we just shoved it all in there and never got the chance to go back and fix it…that was 4 years ago”.

 6. Keep small homeless items in the box
Even after you’ve tried your absolute best to empty out all your boxes you might still have one or two left. They’re filled with a bunch of small knick-knacks and you’re in need of a place to put them. My advice to you is to leave them in the box until you figure it out! Again, I know you’ll probably be itching to ditch that box but it’s better to keep that clutter contained until you find a solution whether it be purchasing another shelving system perhaps or creating more space out of what you already have. Just make sure you don’t wait too long to take action!
Was this helpful? Be sure to check-out other Harp Deco “how to” posts!


  • Avatar
    Kaitlynn April 11, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Hi just wanted to say great advice!! My husband is in the military too. We are in Northern Italy. We have another year here and I’ll be using this advice when we move !! Thanks! If you’re ever up here feel free to reach out to me!

    • Avatar
      HIShadiaHarper April 12, 2017 at 9:56 am

      That’s awesome! I definitely will! We’re hoping to be traveling up there this summer once we get our tourists passports sent back.


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