Congratulations! you have made the first step in settling in to your new home: you arrived.
If only moving was so easy, I would love to just show up, unlock the door, and everything be in its place, no boxes blocking the entrance, no cleaning to be done, no organizing or decisions on what room holds which purpose. Oh how easy life could be if we had magic!
But alas, we are not so lucky (or at least I have never been in any of my 5+ house moves). However, with experience comes wisdom. I have been there: overwhelmed by the change in square footage, not sure where to put things, unsure of how to organize the kitchen so cooking is not a day long ordeal, and struggling to find a cozy home for each item that will not cause anxiety and strife down the road.
Throughout this multipart post series I am here to help you. Keep you from wanting to knife your throw pillows, from curling up in the fetal position with a bottle of wine and crying, locking yourself in a closet because that is the only thing you can do to escape the chaos, from yelling and screaming and fighting with your loved ones because no one feels like this house is a home. So grab your favorite drink and your preferred writing apparatus and get ready to draw up a beautiful master plan for making your house a home.
The first thing you need to do is assess your living space. Are you in a larger or smaller dwelling? Are there rooms obviously designated for specific purposes (kitchen, master suite, garage, linen closet vs coat closet, family space, dining room)? What rooms have a variety of optional purposes (office/guest room/storage space/laundry room)? What rooms do you and your family need (bedrooms, guest room, home office, kids space, workshop)?
List out what you want this house to have and walk through the footprint of the house and label the first designator that pops into your head. If you start contemplating this room or that room you will put yourself into a painful and never ending conundrum, so go with your gut.
What does this have to do with unpacking? Well, unless you packed each box and know exactly what the contents are, or if your movers perfectly labeled and inventoried every item, you are going to have to sort and place things where they belong. As you go through each box, you will now have designated homes. So instead of opening an overly taped package, looking at the contents and having no idea where to put things, and closing the box to deal with later, you can now put the box or the contents in the correct room.
Of course, depending on the change in square footage, some things may not have a new home yet, and that is totally ok.
The last step before tackling those boxes is having a general idea of what room will house each item. Go through each room and start designating where you want to place everything...do this for the obvious items, not yet focusing on the décor and feel of each room (zen zone with candles, man cave with street signs, your grandmothers hand made doilies) this will come after the large items are placed.
Now you have your room designations and ideas of which items belong, great work! This will greatly reduce confusion, overwhelm and anxiety between your family and the movers.
When the movers show up, you can now give the layout to the head chap and help speed up the process so you can start making your house a home. This layout will help whether or not the movers unpack the boxes because you will have an idea of what belongs where.
During the unpack, it is imperative to remember things will not go perfectly, and there will be organized chaos and a bit of mayhem throughout the house as you find each little resting place for your prized possessions.