Four Lessons in Unpacking

If mFour Lessons in Unpackingy packing and moving experience was extremely frustrating, the unpacking part can be labeled as moderately aggravating. However, I’m fully aware that this is simply because of my haphazard and disorganized starting point.

Since I hadn’t been smart about packing my belongings, nothing was organized. Therefore, I was unable to find the essentials in those first few days, which meant that everything was pulled out of bags and boxes – and then strewn about the apartment.  This made my search for bath towels and a toothbrush an epic game of hide and go seek  – and the simple task of taking a shower made my entire home appear as if it had been hit by a tornado. Naturally, the dogs had a field day chewing shoes, clothes and picture frames that had yet to find their respectable places.

Luckily, I had a full week to get organized before starting work. I thought that it would only take a day or two, to get the place looking fantastic. And I’m laughing at myself right now as I consider just how wrong I was.

The more I tried to sift through the piles of clothing, mixed with appliances, mixed with glassware, the more frustrated and exhausted I felt. I was running around aimlessly trying to decide where things should go, never realizing how much more I would have to try and fit in the same area. The apartment was a mess, and so was I.

By day four I had enough. So, I gave myself a pep talk. Here are the rules I came up with:

1. Focus on one room at a time.

This was harder for me than it may be for others – especially if you pack efficiently – but it’s possible. I had to accept the fact that my place was going to stay messy for a bit, so I fixated on the idea that it would slowly coming together. I changed my mess into ordered chaos; everything that belonged in the kitchen was placed in the kitchen, bedroom items in the bedroom, etc. Only then did I start finding places for everything. Once I could focus on one room at a time, I started to deter from my frazzled state and began enjoying setting up my new home.

 2. Don’t stress about where everything is placed.

At first, I would agonize over the exact location of my blender and food processer. Where will it be most efficient? Which drawer is right for my utensils? How should I store my Tupperware?! It’s impossible to know the answers to these questions until you actually start using the space. Things can be moved as often as you’d like, after all. It’s your home, not a hotel.

3. Clean after the unpacking is complete.

During that first hectic week, I would try and clean after every attempt at unpacking. All I ended up doing was moving my mess around. No matter what, things get a little dirty during a move, especially with pets. Of course you want your home to be clean, but save yourself the trouble and do it after you have your things put away. You can’t fully clean your new place with bags, boxes and piles of stuff everywhere anyway.

4. Be patient.

I’m still working on this one. When my boyfriend and I first found our apartment, it was like a blank canvas. I had so many visions of what I could do with the space. But, it takes time to get settled into a new place and make the right decision when it comes to furniture and decorations. Each week we add something new and, though I’m anxious for it to be perfect, I’m happy with our progress. I think I would be less satisfied if we just went out and bought a ton of stuff before finalizing our furniture locations and color schemes. Everything will come together –  slow and steady wins the race.

When it comes to moving, I’m still in the process of learning. But what better way to figure it out than jumping right in? So far, my new apartment has been quite the learning experience. I’ve gained knowledge on how to pack, move and unpack through my personal experience and my job. My next battle? Maintenance issues in a utility controlled apartment complex.

Do you have any unpacking tips? Please share them below.

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy