If you're in the midst of packing for a move, you've no doubt seen all the advice out there about how to pack efficiently and how to survive moving day. But you also have to survive the unpacking phase as well and somehow avoid having half-unpacked boxes sitting around for weeks or months. From the time you start packing to the time you have everything off the moving truck and in the new home, you can take steps that will make the unpacking process go a lot faster -- and be more complete.
Label Your Boxes
It can't be stressed enough how much this helps make unpacking more organized. If you know exactly what is in each box, you can move the boxes to the right rooms and find everything you need. If you don't label them -- or if you give them generic labels like "bedroom" (is that bedding? Clothing? Decorations?) -- you could end up with open boxes with contents spilling out over the floor and available surfaces, making the room look completely disorganized.
If you're moving to an area that's reasonably close, prepare the new place before moving anything in. Get shelf paper in place, for example, and ensure everything is clean. If you are moving someplace far away and can't make a pre-move-in trip, have the boxes placed in the center of the room so that you can reach all the cabinets and far corners to do any preparation or cleaning first. Then move
Don't Put Anything in the Closet Unless It Belongs There
Clothing, yes; a box you don't want to deal with, no. If you end up having to delay unpacking some boxes (for example, you're too tired to continue unpacking that day), don't put the boxes in a closet or an out-of-the-way corner. It will only be easier to ignore the boxes. Keep everything that is not unpacked very visible so that you don't let it sit for months.
Boxes Per Day
Once the immediately useful or immediately obvious things (such as kitchen goods going in the kitchen) have been put away, and you decide to concentrate more on things other than packing, set up a schedule to unpack a certain number of boxes each day. If you make this a regular part of your daily schedule, you'll likely get everything unpacked faster than you would if you just left things to sit until you felt like continuing to unpack.
Translucent Plastic Storage Cases
If you're left with items that really have no place to go yet -- maybe you were planning to buy a display case and haven't gotten around to it yet, for example -- get the see-through plastic cases that you can find in big-box stores. Separate the remaining items by category and store them in the cases. Keep the cases visible so that you don't forget about them. The cases are often easier to stack in higher piles than cardboard boxes because the plastic is usually stronger. Plus, the see-through plastic lets you know what's inside each, making it easier to find things that you can finally put in place.
If you want more advice for unpacking quickly, talk to the moving companies you're getting quotes from. These are experienced