Organizing to Move: Settling In

Moving is stressful, but doing it in an organized way, can relieve that stress. This starts by breaking the moving process down into the major stages. In this series, I already talked about first assembling the right team, how to declutter the excess, and staging your home to sell, and, last time, we left off with moving day. Now it’s time to settle in to your new home.

1. Exit and Process Zones

We ended the last post with a tip about establishing processing and exit zones for day one. Even if you take some time off to move, it’s not usually realistic to think that you can unpack everything in a day. Expect an ongoing process for the next few days, and make allowances. Reserve space in the garage for a discard/donate zone to take all the boxes and packaging material. Dedicate a room with a good sized surface, on each floor, to unpack boxes. It’s not a room to fill up. It room to process.

2. Isolate the Wait

While it’s a good idea to set aside a few containers, outside the moving truck, for items that you need right away, most of the remainder will need to go to the processing areas, but there is also a sizable portion that can wait. These items include books, media, keepsakes, seasonal items, and entertainment items. Choose a space that gets used less often like a basement or maybe a dining room. These boxes can be stacked higher than the boxes holding your more immediate needs. The more you can take advantage of vertical space, the more you can free up horizontal space.

3. Showroom vs. Stockroom

Deciding where to store things in your new home, requires a rethinking of your storage. Start with the showroom vs. stockroom approach. The idea here is, when you go into a clothing store, there is an open, inviting, well-lit showroom area. It features a limited amount of inventory and when you run out, you go to the stockroom. Things are still very findable in the stockroom, but there is a greater use of vertical space and it might feel a little tighter. So, for example, if you are running out of room for items in the kitchen, rather than saying “well, these platters always used to fit in our kitchen,” ask yourself if they are more of a showroom or stockroom candidate. If you only use them when you have company, then maybe they could go to a stockroom location- basement, hall closet, garage- and thereby free up the space you need in your showroom kitchen, for items you use daily. This same principle can be applied to other areas in your new home, including the home office and clothes closet.

4. Write it down

In a new home it is very easy to lose focus, especially if you act on impulses, that pull you from one room to another. It is more efficient and ultimately more satisfying to complete one room at a time. There will be all sorts of new details that you think of in your new environment, so keep a notepad and pen close at hand when you are unpacking boxes. That way, rather than breaking your rhythm, by running to another room for AA batteries, simply write down “AA batteries” on your notepad, get back to the packing, and return to your notepad when you are done.

5. Be Flexible

As mentioned in the second post in this series, it’s important to use a floor plan, to ensure that everything fits, but allow yourself some flexibility, if it doesn’t.  You may have  chosen to place an extra table in the finished attic, but because of the pitch of the roof, it just feels too crowded. Let it go. Maybe you chose to keep a set of shelves that fit’s perfectly in the corner of your living room, but it just doesn’t look right. Allow yourself to replace it with something that does. Don’t beat yourself up because you moved something you can’t use. You can’t know everything in advance. You’re going to be here for a while, so don’t live with the misfits.

6. Don’t Stretch the Movers

Movers work extremely long, hard days. They’re usually up since dawn, packing, loading, twisting sofa’s through doorways, driving, unloading, twisting mattresses up stairs, and getting boxes into the right rooms. Maybe you can get them to unpack a few boxes and fill a few closets, but by that point, you just aren’t going to get (even the best) movers to care as much about where things go as you do. Hopefully, the tips in this post will help you with the unpacking process, but if you don’t have the time or energy to unpack and assign thing where they make the most sense, that’s the perfect time to contact a professional organizer, to get the job done right.

If you’d like to see that happen quickly, I would recommend an organizing team;-)