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It has been two weeks since I moved into my apartment and I am pretty much finished unpacking. All of my past moves were simple compared to this one. There was the initial fun move when my husband and I first decided to live together. It was easy because we had to buy everything new (since we had nothing). We brought in our clothes and spent time leisurely perusing Target for cutlery. There was no truck. There were no boxes.
Eventually, we bought a house. At that point there was a U-Haul and Billy and his brothers carried our furniture and boxes into the house. That one was exciting because I could not wait to get into our new home. Plus, there was so much more room! There were extra bedrooms, bathrooms and a finished basement. We now had a backyard and a shed!
This past move was an odd one because I was downsizing. We sold our home (a friend recommended that we use someone like We Buy Houses to help us sell our quicker) and separately moved into apartments. (Sidenote – I hate writing that because it sounds sad and makes it feel like a depressing situation but I assure you it was not. It was an opportunity to reboot, de-clutter and start fresh. Billy and I get along better than ever before and we spend tons of time together. Our daughter is happy and we are in a great place.)
This time around I went from a 3 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom apartment and it was the most difficult move to date because I had lots of stuff and no place to put most of it. When I had my house with a big kitchen I bought ALL of the gadgets (blender, slow cooker, Kitchenaid Artisan Mixer, etc). I had tons of room to store them in my pantry and finished basement. Now, I have a kitchen with some cabinets and I feel like I should probably put food in there.
Even though this was a tough move, I did learn a few lessons along the way and I would love to share them with you because let’s face it: moving is hard. You are leaving your home and going somewhere unfamiliar and that is scary. Hopefully, these five tips can help you get settled in faster and cause you to feel less stressed during your next move.
1. Set an unpacking deadline.
In my last house I had boxes that were in my basement for six years. SIX YEARS. I literally never unpacked them. We were moving out and they were still packed from when we moved in. The reason for that is that after a few weeks I lost momentum, got settled into my new space and started living my life again. The important stuff was unpacked and put away by then and the things that I didn’t really need and had no place for just stayed in boxes. In order to prevent that from happening in my apartment I set a deadline of two weeks. That is not to say that I needed to have all the boxes unpacked within two weeks but I wanted to at least have a plan for everything in that time frame. Obviously, there are exceptions. For example, I have curtains that are still packed because my curtain rod has not arrived yet. That is perfectly fine because I have a plan in place. On the other hand, if there is a box full of assorted glass vases from the dollar store with no place to live – they need to be re-homed after two weeks.
2. Label your boxes and include a description.
The boxes that I found that most annoying and difficult to unpack in my previous move were the ones that were only labeled with what room they went in. This time around I made the effort to include a description of the contents (even if it was just one word). I also used a method that I recently saw on Pinterest and put a piece of colored duct tape on each box that coordinated with a certain room. For instance, all of the boxes that were going in my living room had hot pink tape on them and all the boxes for the master bedroom had red tape. It made it a lot easier to make sure they were in the right place.
3. Pack up your cleaning supplies and bring them in your car to the new place.
I knew I wanted to sweep up the living room quickly and mop the floor before my movers started bringing in my furniture. Otherwise, I would have had to move the couches and rugs later on in order to get access to clean them and it would have been a pain. During packing I gathered garbage bags (the big, black jobbies), a bucket, loads of paper towels, floor cleaner, kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner, window cleaner, toilet cleaner, a toilet brush, a mop and broom and then during the move I brought them with me to the new apartment in my car. This way I was able to run in before the truck got there and take care of the floors. Plus, it was helpful to have garbage bags on hand to throw out the packing tape as I unpacked my boxes and I had the rest of my cleaning supplies handy so I could use them as needed and not have to search for them in the sea of boxes.
I recently bought all new cleaning supplies and that included an O-Cedar MicroTwist™ mop. I ordered it using Amazon Prime (free two-day shipping for the win) and I must say that I am obsessed with it. I thought that all mops were the same but that is not the case at all. This one has a extra large 16-inch head and because it is microfiber, it cleans up dirt and dust on the first pass. That is EXTREMELY helpful when you have movers waiting to bring up furniture and you are in a rush.
4. Start with your most difficult room.
I think in the beginning of a move you are the most ambitious and eager to get things situated. I used that inertia and started unpacking in my most difficult room. For me, during this move, it was the bathroom. I went from having two big bathrooms with linen closets to one decent sized bathroom with NO linen closet. I knew it was going to be challenging when I had to get a Toronto plumbing service to sort out the toilet before I even moved in! I am also a product hoarder so I was not looking forward to having to situate all that stuff. I wound up buying a really cute over-the-toilet cabinet from Target and also a slim cabinet from Ikea. After I sorted through my products and purged the items I don’t use I was able to fit it all. Once I was finished with the bathroom (which I dreaded the most) everything else was a piece of cake.
5. Unpack one full room at a time.
Another tip I have that I think really helped me is to do one full room at a time. For me, when I finished the bathroom from top to bottom and it was all clean and glossy and properly organized it motivated me to want the other rooms to look as nice. It gave me a glimpse into how nice the apartment was going to be in the end and inspired me to keep moving. However, if you have just moved house all of your bathroom furniture may have not been fitted yet, for example, you may be waiting for a shower glass panel to be fitted. I would recommend that you start with a room that is nearest complete. This will allow you to have one room that is uncluttered and relaxing to be in. This also means that you will be able to focus on what you want to do with your house next in a clean space.
Do you guys have any helpful tips or hacks to share about getting settled after a move? Leave them in my comments!