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How to unpack a home

By George Hadgelias

Unpacking a house seems simple enough, but it’s often more difficult and stressful than it sounds. According to the experts, the secret is labelling well and having a plan.

Susan Williams, founder of The Finishing Touch, one of Australia’s leading home packing and unpacking services, says facing a house full of boxes can be daunting for even the most experienced movers.

She says ensuring boxes are labelled properly when packing and having a clear plan of attack, with a set order of rooms to unpack, are the keys to getting the job done as efficiently as possible.

Clean start

“Before you start, make sure you are unpacking into a clean home. Check the cupboards have been wiped clean, and if not, give them a wipe over before you put your things away,” Williams says.

Putting boxes – which should have been clearly labelled, with room and contents – in their appropriate room, is the next step.

“That way, you know how many boxes you have to put away in each room, rather than unpacking an area, then discovering more boxes later,” Williams says.

Make sure the removalists don’t leave boxes in front of the cupboards you need to unpack into, therefore ensuring easy access.

It’s also pays to keep track of important items, to make sure nothing valuable or vital is lost in the unpacking process.

“Keep handbags, phones, keys, medicines, power chargers and other important items together. Often the kitchen is a good place to keep these things once you arrive, but wherever you choose, make sure everyone knows where these items are so they don’t get lost,” Williams advises.

Unpack in a certain order

Williams recommends unpacking methodically, in a set order.

“When you first get to your new house, it’s important to be organised and have a plan for unpacking your home. That way you focus on the priorities first and use your time wisely,” she says.

First, the kitchen

The kitchen is most people’s priority, Williams says, so it’s a logical place to start.

Unpack pantry items and fill the fridge as soon as it’s in place.

“The gases inside a fridge need to settle for half an hour before it’s turned on, but it’s good to get everything inside it, so you aren’t opening the door repeatedly when it’s trying to cool down,” she says.

“Unpack the glassware, crockery and cutlery, putting them in their logical locations. Think through what is the best location for different kitchen items before you organise everything into cupboards.”

Move to bedrooms

Next, move onto bedrooms.

“Hopefully, you’ve transferred your hanging clothes in portable robes (large cardboard boxes with a hanging rail) so they are quick to hang in your new wardrobes. Likewise folded clothes, if packed logically, should be quick to put away into drawers,” Williams says.

Once the beds are assembled and put in place by removalists, make them up.

“Linen boxes should be clearly marked to ensure you know where they are. It’s wonderful at the end of a long day of unpacking to have the beds made and ready to fall into.”

Many families choose to unpack and set up children’s rooms early, to ensure they feel comfortable in their new environment, Williams says.

“Get kids involved in setting up their rooms, putting toys, books and other items away where they would like them, so they soon feel at home.”

Next up, bathrooms

Now put bathroom items away. Store toiletries, towels and linen on racks and in linen cupboards.

Then the rest …

Looking at the remaining boxes in the living areas, study, garage and other rooms, determine which rooms are the biggest priorities and then focus on them one-by-one, Williams says.

“It’s a good idea to keep precious, breakable items to unpack towards the end, to ensure you have a clean, safe area to unpack into,” Williams says.

“Always check shelves are stable and have been assembled correctly before loading them with items. Likewise, focus on decorative items like paintings, soft furnishings and lamps, too, which you can organise so that your new house will really start to feel like home.”

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