When that last box is unloaded off the truck, it’s often paired with a sigh of relief, and for good reason. After all, it’s a sign that you’re on the home stretch of your moving journey! But you aren’t quite done yet. While you may have checked most items off your moving checklist, there’s still one very important task to tackle — unpacking moving boxes.

Luckily, you can make this final moving task go quickly and efficiently by approaching it in an organized manner. Want to unpack like a pro? Here are 15 tips that you need to know.

1. Label your rooms

You don’t have to physically label your rooms — unless you want to — but you do need to know the purpose of each room. That way, you can locate the boxes to their appropriate destinations to keep unpacking organized and efficient.

2. Use closet space

Load boxes into your closet space. This may be a temporary solution, but it can help clear your walkways while you’re trying to maneuver everything else around your home.

3. Unpack your necessities box

Ideally, you should have packed a box or two with all the essentials that you need to tide you and your family over for at least that first day and night. This may include a change of clothes, bathroom supplies, hygiene products, medications and snacks, among other things. This is the box that needs to be unpacked first.

4. Clean before you unpack moving boxes

We know you just got a taste of unpacking with that necessities box and now you want to start emptying that sea of boxes as soon as possible, but slow down. First, you’re going to want to give everything a good wipe down — believe us, it’s much easier to do this without dodging clutter and shuffling objects around.

5. Make your bed

Next, you’ll want to find the box with your bedding. The last thing you want to do after a hard day of moving and unpacking moving boxes is struggling to find your bed linens when you’re ready to sleep. This way, your bed is good to go whenever you’re ready to crash!

6. Do one room at a time

Unpacking is tiresome enough as it is without hopping from room to room as you unpack, so try to unpack one room at a time. Pick a room and get unpacking. The bathroom, kitchen or bedroom is often a good place to start

7. Match objects to furniture

There’s no use unpacking a box with items meant to be stored in or on furniture that isn’t up yet — this is a great way to get overwhelmed. You have two options in this situation: Assemble the furniture and unpack the box or save the box and the furniture for later. This will entirely depend on how important the contents of the box are. For example, a storage unit and bathroom items? Probably worth the build. A bookshelf with books? It isn’t a priority.

8. Tackle the kitchen

Eating out is always fun at first, but it gets old — and expensive — fast. Soon, you’ll be craving homecooked meals and an unpacked kitchen is a must for those. Start by unpacking any appliances that you regularly use, such as the toaster and coffee machine. Then, find a home for the rest of it. Even if it isn’t organized exactly as you’d like, it’s a start, and it can always be reorganized later.

9. Don’t be a perfectionist

If you unpacked your kitchen and fiddled with where every single thing should go, this advice is for you. Chances are, things are going to shift around in your home a million times before you find the perfect space or position — and that’s OK. Just recognize that this journey doesn’t have to be done directly upon unpacking.

10. Save decor for last

And if you’re trying to hang a painting up right away? Reconsider. Unless you have extensively thought out your layout beforehand, you may just be putting a hole in your wall for no reason. It’s important to make your new place feel like home, but if you can, hold off on decor until all the boxes are unpacked.

11. Leave some boxes packed

Not everything needs to be unpacked right away. Low priority areas, such as the garage and utility room, can keep their items in boxes until you’re ready to unload them at a later date.

12. Get rid of boxes

However, those boxes you do unpack, clear them out as you go. Either break them down for recycling or later use and then take them out of the room you’re working in. This can not only do wonders for keeping morale up by making you and any other unpackers feel like you’re making progress, but it will also leave you with a lot more room to move around.

13. Clear clutter

OK, save maybe one or two empty boxes, though. These will be for donations. Although you should have already decluttered as you packed, you may find more that you don’t want or need now that you’re in your new home. It isn’t uncommon to find that certain items don’t fit the space or aesthetic.

14. Get the kids involved

Encourage your kids to unpack their own bedroom or help you unpack. It will give them something to do and help them not be bored. Not the best helpers? Encourage them to get creative with the boxes. Box forts are always a lot of fun and can make the move-in day very memorable!

15. Reward yourself

And finally, one of the best unpacking tips is to take some time to throw your feet up and relax. You undoubtedly deserve it! Plus, you probably have a few dozen makeshift cardboard footstools on hand. Kick back and watch your favorite TV show with some comfort food or order some pizza in for a family night with a movie.

Have fun unpacking moving boxes

Moving is hard and it has plenty of opportunities to go awry, but by approaching unpacking in the right manner, you can end your journey on a positive note. Remember, unpacking moving boxes can take a few days, so take your time and enjoy your new home. You worked hard to get here and you deserve it!

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