Getting a Fresh Start in Your New Home: Unpacking and Organizing Strategies, Part 1

Couple toasting with champagne in their new home

Moving into a newly built home is a good time to get your home organized. Use the opportunity to unpack to get organized from the start.

Moving into a new home is a chance for a fresh start and that includes a fresh look at the way you organize your home.

That’s why NewHomeSource spoke with Trish Ethridge, an organizational and moving expert with moving company Hilldrup. Ethridge’s keen interest in organization has been refined over two decades of helping homeowners pack, unpack, simplify and reorganize their lives. She shared several ideas that will help you get the most out of the unpacking experience.

Ethridge’s top five unpacking and organizational tips include 1) organizing before you move, 2) unpacking room by room, 3) tackling the kitchen first, 4) tackling the bedrooms and bathrooms second and 5) unpacking the common rooms third. Below is more on those tips:

Top 5 Unpacking and Organizational Tips

1. Organization Starts Before the Move

Ethridge suggests making things easier on yourself by planning for the unpacking before you start packing. She recommends assigning each room a color and packing that room’s items in the appropriately colored box.

Then, have the movers deliver the boxes to the color-coded rooms in the new house. This ensures that everything that you need for a given room is already in that room when you go to unpack. This helps cut down on clutter in the rest of the house and has the added benefit of saving you from having to move the boxes yourself.

2. Go Room by Room

There’s a tendency to try and get everything done all at once, but “that just backfires on you,” says Ethridge. “You end up unpacking half of several boxes and it takes much longer to finish a room. You’re left living with half unpacked boxes for weeks.”

Her solution? Unpack room by room. Finish one room before you move on to the next. “This gives you a sense of accomplishment, which can be very motivating and gives you the energy to complete the next room.”

Give yourself rewards to stay on task — small rewards for each room or level of the home and a big one at the end.

Use this time wisely by really thinking about how you want to set up your new home and how to best utilize your new space. 3. Tackle the Kitchen First

The very first room to unpack should be the kitchen. “We always use the kitchen. It’s the last room to be packed up and the first to be unpacked. You need your kitchen right away.”

By unpacking the kitchen first, you have a natural gathering space and place to rest and recharge and you won’t be forced to live on carryout for days on end as you struggle to find all of your kitchen supplies.

4. Bedrooms and Bathrooms Next

“Bathrooms are easy. You can usually sneak those in at the same time as the kitchen or bedrooms,” says Ethridge. By unpacking bedrooms early on in the process, you are getting right to the heart of each family member’s sanctuary. “Moving can be tough on kids, in particular. The sooner you get their rooms in order the better.”

Ethridge recommends involving kids as much as you can, based on their ages and abilities. “Ask them where they want their pictures or shelves hung, where they want the bed placed, things like that. It gives them a sense of ownership of the space and can really help them embrace the change.”

5. Common Rooms

Common areas, such as living rooms, family rooms and rec rooms, can be saved until after the private areas have been dealt with. “Get the entire family involved in unpacking these rooms. Let them all choose where to place items and organize the space for their best usage. It helps them take ownership for the space.”

This can pay off in the long run by eliminating a child’s argument at chore time that they don’t know where something goes. “Mom doesn’t have to do everything or know everything. She can tell the kids to put the TV remote where it belongs and the kids know what she’s talking about because they helped decide where it would go in the first place.”

Unpacking your belongings and getting them set up in your new home is a thrill, but don’t let your enthusiasm carry you away. Use this time wisely by really thinking about how you want to set up your home and how to best utilize your new space.

Get more tips and tricks from an organizational expert in Getting a Fresh Start in Your New Home: Unpacking and Organizing Strategies, Part 2.

Sign up for the Home of the Week

New Home 101
New eBook Available

Expert Advice on Buying & Building a New Home

The eBook will be delivered to your inbox. We will not share your email address.