Today I helped a couple move into a two bedroom apartment.  Each of the new residents were there, as well as two friends, and myself.  We worked for only four hours and unpacked a large majority of their boxes and crates!  It was a great day! Some lessons learned and ideas to share when it's your turn to help unpack:

  • As boxes and furniture make their way into the home, have the movers put them directly into the room the contents will belong.  This, of course, implies the boxes are all labeled properly.  It prevents extra lifting and shuffling things around.
  • Decide where furniture will be placed before unpacking anything.  It's horrible to fill a china cabinet or bookcase, just to realize you want it some place else.
  • Tackle one area at a time.  Then, move on to the next space.  It's okay to start with small spaces if the larger rooms are too overwhelming at first.  For example, the bathroom.  Or, today, we started with unpacking the lady-of-the-house's clothes' closet. 
And, we actually set it up completely; we didn't just pull things out of the box.
  •  Spread out all of one type of item at a time.  Perhaps that's clothes or plates and spoons.  It allows you to assess how much space you'll need to store all these items, as well as pick out your favorites.  Here, you see a handy friend unpacking and sorting all the couple's books.  Categorized stacks were shelved once she was able to determine how much shelf space each category needed.
  •  As you're comparing favorites and finding that there might be more than you thought of something, have a donation box or bag nearby.  Fill it up as you sort and unpack.
  • If there are duplicates of anything that you won't need at hand, put them into a storage area to "shop" from when you run out - before going to the store.
  • Break down boxes as they become empty.  It'll save on floor space and allow you to appreciate all the hard work you've done.  Recycle, store or pass them along to someone else to use.

    Now, with the help of just a couple friends, for just an afternoon and a pizza delivery, this couple can enjoy their first night in their new home.  Bookshelves filled, table to sit at, kitchen to cook in and tub to soak in.  It wasn't complete....but, it was home.

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