Getting a Fresh Start in Your New Home: Unpacking and Organizing Strategies, Part 2

Mid adult Hispanic couple imagine their house as they stand in an empty living room. Digital artwork imposed on the photo includes picture frames, sofa, chair, coffee table with laptop and lighting equipment. The couple hold boxes and are looking at one another as they daydream.

A newly built home is a clean slate, so use this opportunity to organize everything.

In our article, Getting a Fresh Start in Your New Home: Unpacking and Organizing Strategies, Part 1, we shared five tips from Trish Ethridge, an organizational expert with moving company Hilldrup. Her focus? Using the unpacking process to organize your household.

In this follow-up piece, we look at some additional suggestions from Ethridge on how to take advantage of this opportunity to organize your home and how to keep it that way.

A New Home Equals New Opportunities

Ethridge recommends approaching the move as an opportunity. Your newly constructed home is a blank canvas. Make the most of it. There are very few limitations on what you can do with it and you benefit from having no images stuck in your head about how the previous owner decorated or used the space.

“I’ve found that homebuyers who purchase new construction are oftentimes more engaged in the organizing process than those who buy existing stock,” says Ethridge. “There is something very exciting about having a brand-new anything and that includes homes. There is a real desire to put everything in exactly the right spot.”

Breaking Old Patterns

Ethridge further explains that a new home is an opportunity to change the way you live in your home into a manner that suits you better — this starts with unpacking. To simply pull things out of boxes and settle in haphazardly puts you at risk of falling into the same patterns of behavior you had in your old home.

If your old space was cluttered and you simply unpack boxes in the new space, setting things up as they come out of the box, you run the risk of cluttering the space and creating many of the same organizational challenges that you had in your old home.

“If there was ever a time to break old patterns, moving into a brand-new home is it. Everything is fresh and new, which can help put you in the right frame of mind to adopt new behaviors yourself,” says Ethridge. “Doing so takes planning and a thoughtful approach that many people just don’t have the time or patience for; we’re too eager to get the boxes unpacked and start living in the home to take the time to really think about how to set up the home for our best use.”

Post-Move Purging

What if you didn’t purge before the move and now regret it?

“If you have space, put all the stuff you don’t know what to do with in a staging area,” Ethridge suggests.

The garage is a great choice for staging because it gives you enough space to sort through boxes and it’s visible. The last thing you want to do is stuff unpacked boxes in the basement or the attic and forget about them. In the garage, you are forced to look at them every day.

Give It Time

Ethridge also reminds us to keep in mind that organizing a new home is not a perfect process. “It’s very common to find out that what you had planned for a space just won’t work out once you get in the house. That’s OK. Accept and understand that it’s a work in progress and keep moving forward.”

She also suggests homeowners be gentle with themselves as it can take a good year to really settle into a new home.

“Don’t feel like you have to rush through it and have everything done and perfectly in place right away. You don’t,” Ethridge says. “The important thing is to be happy and comfortable in your space and that may take time.”

Like what you’re learning? Check out Part 1 of this story, Getting a Fresh Start in Your New Home: Unpacking and Organizing Strategies, Part 1, for more unpacking and organizing tips for your new home.
Sarah Kinbar is a freelance writer and editor for leading print and online publications. Formerly editor in chief of Garden Design, she has also written and edited for Cottage Living, Modern magazine and Orlando Arts. You can find her on Google+.

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