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Unpacking after a move: Tips for being organised

Posted by Bournes Moves - August 4, 2020


Photo by cottonbro studio 

Unpacking after a move requires just as much effort as the packing beforehand, but it's well worth it as it's a great time to create a wonderful space to become your new family home. 

So fear not! We’ve got several tips to help you figure out how to unpack after a move, how to keep your unpacking process stress-free and help you get organised and settle in quickly at your new home…

Top tips for unpacking after a move 

1. Walkthrough your house with your removal company before they leave

Before you start unpacking make sure to do a walkthrough with the removals company crew leader before they leave.

Check if everything is in the place you want it, that nothing obvious is missing and have them double check everything is unloaded from the back of the van. Ask them to take away any packing materials that you’ve already unpacked with them if you have them available before they depart.

Check to ensure everything has arrived intact

Accidents can happen so it’s important to check all your packages, especially valuable items quickly to ensure they have arrived in the same condition they left. Most insurance policies will have a time limit for notification of claims, for example 7 days from delivery. If you discover any damage take photos and make sure to keep hold of the item in case it has to be inspected.

2. Where to start with unpacking? Get the basics set up first.

If you packed an essentials box and loaded this last then now is a great time to unpack it. 


First up get a basic kitchen set up to help keep you fed and watered. Kettle, cups and teabags, cutlery and plates for that first night take away!


Once you've got a simple kitchen set up unpack your basic cleaning kit. This means you can quickly clean any areas you need to before unpacking your essentials in (giving kitchen cabinets a wipe out for example).

Bedtime basics 

Next up get the basics set up for sleep. Assemble the beds, get the bedding on and find your toothbrush and pyjamas so you can quickly collapse at the end of what has likely been a long day.

3. Move on to tackle one room at a time

Once you’ve unpacked the basics it’s a good idea to work on a room at a time, starting with the rooms you want to use most quickly, for example setting up a comfortable living room or dining area.

You don't have to unpack everything, but set it up to the extent you can use it for the first few days. Everything else that’s not needed urgently can stay boxed until you’ve decided exactly how you want to arrange the furniture or whether any decorating is required.

Flat pack your boxes once empty and get rid of the used packing material as you go to give you more space.

TOP TIP: The key to good unpacking, is good packing – clear labelling, decluttering before the move and making a plan of where you’d like each item to go so the movers can unload into the right room can really help you get a head start.

4. Think about the children 

Moving is an unsettling time for children in particular so make sure unpacking their bedrooms takes priority over yours to help them settle in quickly.

Let older kids get started with unpacking their own bedrooms if they want to or give younger ones some choice in where their favourite items might go in their room.

If you can, try and keep to their normal bedtimes. If you can’t, then perhaps think about leaving them with friends or family for the day/night and getting their rooms set up with beds and toys first thing the next day so it’s all ready for their return. Our articles on moving house with children explain more about how to keep moving day as stress-free as possible for them.

5. Set up the bathroom when you can

Much like the kitchen, the bathroom will be a room required by each member of the family almost immediately.

Make sure you keep some fresh towels and toiletries in your essentials box so that people can use the shower or bath straight away – and don’t forget things like toothpaste, toothbrushes and toilet paper!

6. Dispose of packing materials as you go

A great tip for being organised when unpacking is to dispose of each box as it’s emptied.

Flatten them down and keep them out of the way – not only does it create more space and make it feel like you’re making progress, but it also prevents you from re-filling it with other things that you’ll just have to unpack again later!

7. Don't rush unpacking

The key to being organised when unpacking after a move is, simply, to take your time.

Once all of your essentials are up and running and you can eat, sleep and wash, the rest can be done at your own pace. Always leave things like books, pictures and ornaments until last, just in case you have to redecorate and things need to be moved all over again.

If your boxes are clearly labelled then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding what you need when you need it, and can enjoy organising your new house and finding just the right place for all of your things!

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