What to Unpack First

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What to Unpack First

What to Unpack First

Oh, moving day. It’s always such a stressful time. It seems as though even when you have everything planned out for the day, problems arise and the day never seems to go as planned. There is one thing you can control though! Once you arrive at your new home, it is time to start unpacking. This can be a very daunting task especially after a day of moving. There are a few quick and easy things that should be unpacked first. This will ensure that the first day you wake up in your new home, you can go about your daily routine without stress. So, if you are about to do a move, here is your list of what to unpack first! 

Pack an Essentials Box

If you are still in the packing process, be sure to pack an “essentials box“. This box (or boxes) is going to have all of your everyday items that you will most likely be needing the first night you spend in your new home. This box will include things like toiletries, sheets + comforter, pillows, dish soap, coffee + coffee maker, pet food, dining utensils, scissors, shower curtain, garbage bags, toolkit, important documents, a change of clothes, and of course, your phone charger. Your list of items may be a bit different than this, it really is personal preference. It is a good idea to keep the essential items all in the same area so that it is easy to find the boxes to unpack first. Marking these boxes with a different colour or a sticker is a good rule of thumb.

Check out this great blog post for a comprehensive list of what to add to your essentials box.

Before you start packing, you may want to get rid of a few things. This will make the move go easier, plus you might even make some extra money on selling some things! For a great article on purging your stuff, check out our blog post

What to Unpack First

#1. Kitchen

Starting to unpack in the kitchen is a great idea so in the morning you will be able to easily tackle breakfast (even if it is just cereal an a coffee). Just because you are starting with the kitchen, doesn’t mean that you have to unpack everything. Of course, you should unpack your refrigerated and frozen food before you do anything else. Next, you will want to plan out where everything will go. Stand in your kitchen and imagine you are about to cook a meal. Where should the plates and the glasses go? Make sure that items that will be taken from the dishwasher won’t be across the kitchen from the appliance. Next, start with the essentials. These are what you will use on a regular basis. Be sure to unpack your plates, utensils, pots and pans and anything else that you will most likely need to use within the next few days. There is nothing worse than looking everywhere for the spatula as you are cooking eggs the next morning. Once you have your daily kitchen tools and plates unpacked, it is okay to move onto the next unpacking step and leave the rest for later. 

Unpack Kitchen
Unpacking the Kitchen - Photo by: Lincoln Military Housing Blog

#2. Bedroom

The next room you should start to tackle is the bedroom. This is a good idea because once you have finished all of your unpacking, you are going to need to go to bed. Making a bed when you are totally wiped out from the day is never fun. Be sure to make the bed as well as put your clothes away. You might as well hang all of the clothes in the closet now rather than throwing them in a pile on the floor. When organizing your closet, be sure to put the seasonal clothing in first. This means if it is currently summer, put all of your summer-wear into the bedroom closet and put the winter gear in a different closet for now. If you have tons of space in your closet, go ahead and hang everything, just make sure to have your current wardrobe front and centre. Once the bed and closets are finished, you can freely move onto step 3. 

Unpack Bedroom
Unpacking the Bedroom - Photo by: Serenity Movers

#3. Bathroom

There are a few things in the bathroom that should be unpacked right away before the kitchen and bedroom. You want to make sure that the bathroom is equipped with toilet paper, soap and a towel before you do anything else. This way you and your family can easily make a pit stop throughout the unpacking process. Once the essentials are unpacked, you will want to move on to shampoos, cleaning products, towels, bath mats and the rest of the odds and ends found in a bathroom. The bathroom is typically a fairly easy room to unpack, so you should be able to get through it in no time. Just remember that you are probably going to want to shower in the morning, so making sure all of the products are readily available is going to be super important. 

Unpack Bathroom
Unpacking the Bathroom - Photo by: Make Space Self Storage
Enjoy some Pizza
Enjoy some Pizza - Photo by: My First Apartment

Take a break!

Once you have unpacked your kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, it is high time for a break. Rather than spending time cooking a meal, why not order a pizza and enjoy it without having to think about what to cook. No chairs? No problem! Sitting on the floor works too! Even if you haven’t had a chance yet to unpack your plates, the great thing about pizza is you can eat it with your hands! If you are moving into a house with a porch or deck, why not enjoy your pizza in the outdoors rather than being surrounded by all of the boxes and things to unpack.

Feel free to go to bed at this point! You have done a lot already and at least everything is ready for you to go to bed and get up in the morning. The rest can wait until later! 

#4. Arrange Furniture

If you are feeling industrious and want to get a head start on the rest of the house, it is always a good idea to place your furniture. Of course, no placement is finite, everything can be moved down the road. For now, get your couches, TV and tables into a place where they make sense and arrange the sitting furniture in a way that is good for conversations. You need to be comfortable when chatting together without straining your neck. If you have a large living room, you may even want to break it up into more than 1 conversation / sitting areas. Think facing each other and/or towards the TV, fireplace, window or other main focal point. If you have an area rug, lay it down before placing your furniture. Be sure to also set up your dining room table and chairs in the dining room or eating area so it will be easier when lunch time comes around. A good place to start is by walking through serving a meal from your kitchen. Arrange your table, chairs and any storage cabinets so that meals will be easy to serve without straining. 

Arrange the Furniture - Photo by: Great White Moving Company

#5. Hang Pictures

A sure way to make your new house feel like a home is to hang some pictures on the wall. Nothing feels more “homey” than having photos of your family around you. The pictures will also decrease the amount of echo that bounces off the walls and floors. Of course, if you plan on painting the home, be sure to do so before putting any holes in the wall! There are many unique ways to hang your photos and artwork on the wall. A few great layouts can be found on this blog post. If possible, it is nice to pair certain pieces with the furniture and/or decor in the room. Grouping small pieces in rows or clusters always looks nice. Try not to mix too many different colour frames together as it can look a bit unorganized. Another rule of thumb is to make sure you aren’t overcrowding your walls with too many pictures. Pictures on a wall shouldn’t be competing for space.

Hanging Pictures
Hanging Pictures - Photo by: EarlyExperts

#6. Take your Time on the Rest!

At this point, everything else can be put away as you go. Take some well deserved R&R by throwing on a movie and having some popcorn. You have worked hard and now it’s time for a break. Try to make a point of putting away a box or 2 a day when you get home from work. Get the whole family involved and make it fun. You don’t need to have your entire home unpacked and ready to go in only 2 days. Just make sure that 2 months down the road you aren’t still surrounded by boxes! Enjoy your new home and don’t feel stressed if everything isn’t in its place just yet. These things take time. As long as you can live out your daily routine, the rest can wait! Enjoy some family time!


We hope you have enjoyed this post on what to unpack first. There are many pieces to the unpacking puzzle that can be adapted to your lifestyle, this is just a brief overview of how to make your life a little bit easier during such a stressful time. If you are looking for a perfect place to move into, let us know! We would love to help find the home for you!