Your Room-By-Room Unpacking Guide

Ready. Set. Unpack! Moving into a new place can be exciting and rewarding, but handling the process of unpacking can be a challenge. If you face this challenge head-on...
Room-By-Room Unpacking Guide

Ready. Set. Unpack! Moving into a new place can be exciting and rewarding, but handling the process of unpacking can be a challenge. If you face this challenge head-on by following a structured system, you may find it’s not as bad as it seems. Below is an unpacking guide to help you develop an unpacking system,as well as a few extra tips to make moving easier.

Creating a System

Depending on how much effort you want to put in, there are several ways to go about forming an orderly procedure. You can begin by generating an inventory list to track items before or during packing. Sort objects into boxes by room and make sure to clearly label the boxes. Go a step beyond this by utilizing a system of colors or numbers.

You can also consider a photo system for visual organization. Simply snap a few pictures before packing up a room, label the photos with numbers or colors to correspond with your organization plan, and have them handy when it’s time to unpack. Setting up the room to match the photos can help it feel familiar faster or possibly inspire fresh decoration ideas.

Keep track of the inventory sheet and maintain consistency within your organization plan. While it can take time to systematically pack boxes to correspond to anew floor plan, your future self will be grateful. If hiring packers and movers, ask about their process ahead of time to make working with them uncomplicated.

Place essential boxes in the car with you or at the back of the truck so they are some of the first ones to be unloaded. Unpack these designated boxes first to streamline living in your new home the first few nights. Such essentials might include a change of clothes, toilet paper, medications, chargers and basic food preparation items.

Unpacking by Room in Order of Importance


Before you start ripping open boxes, it’s recommended to assemble furniture and have it situated first. Not only is it easier to arrange bigger pieces in an open area, but it prevents tripping hazards and allows you to rearrange until you achieve the desired layout.

Create a floor plan ahead of time so you don’t have to rearrange repeatedly. Place bed frames, desks and any other fixtures needing mechanical assembly in their prospective spots before putting them together. This can help prevent wasted time having to disassemble and move them.


It’s advised to unpack the bathrooms first as these will likely be needed soonest. Having them done earlier is beneficial for the people helping you move and for yourself. When it’s time to shower at the end of a long day of moving, you won’t want to be without a towel.


If you plan to line the kitchen cabinets and cupboards, do so before opening boxes. If you’re short on time, only unpack what you need first such as plates, the microwave and the coffee pot. Set up other appliances so they’re good to go but leave detailed arrangement until the rest of the house is unpacked.


Having the bathrooms, kitchen and bedrooms ready can help ensure that the necessities of life are covered and everyone can sleep more soundly.Store linens in a separate box so you can make each bed that night. Continue by unpacking clothing and other bedroom articles used daily. Once these vital rooms are covered, you can move on to the living areas.

Utility Room, Storage and Outdoors

The last rooms to unpack are usually the garage, basement and other utility areas, as these items are not as essential. Be sure to have any tools and materials for house function easily accessible. Depending on the season, you may want to have outdoor gear set up sooner than later.

Quick Tips

Here are some additional words of advice on the moving process:

  • Clean before shuffling furniture and boxes inside.
  • Brainstorm items you may need to have on-hand before the big day, such as closet organizers, extension cords, shelf liners, etc.
  • When loading the moving van, group boxes together by room to make unloading and directing traffic easier.
  • Let each family member unpack his or her bedroom.
  • Make the new place feel “homier” by hanging family photos early during unpacking.
  • Break down boxes as you go to reduce clutter and tripping hazards.
  • Keep a big box for donation by the front door for unwanted items.
  • Store distractions in a separate box and empty it last. This way no one is tempted to slack off with video games or take a walk down memory lane with special keepsakes.
  • Don’t stress! Moving can be exhausting, so if it wasn’t done as fast as you wanted, it’s best to sleep on it and recuperate.

Revel in Having Your New Home Ready to Go

If all goes well, the organization should pay off and unpacking should go seamlessly. Then,it’s time to take a load off, relax and enjoy your new home. Interested in unpacking more advice? Please see the accompanying resource for additional room-by-room guidance.

Adam Warner is Content Strategist Manager at Moving of America. Previously, Warner wrote short stories across different magazines.

This infographic was created by Moving of America, a provider of commercial moving and storage

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