how to motivate yourself to unpack after moving

Are you feeling depleted and not able to unpack after moving? We often find once the adrenaline of the move is over, and the priority, day-to-day essentials are put away, clients find it challenging to finish unpacking.  

In fact, we’ve even shown up to move our clients’ apartments or homes, to find some of the boxes that are leftover from an original move that happened years ago! 

7 Professional Tips To Get Yourself Motivated To Unpack After Moving 

Here are some of the tips that work best to help clients expedite their unpacking process. The ultimate goal would be to have all boxes unpacked – and all unnecessary items either donated, hauled away, or dumped – within 30 days of your movein date. 

The _______ boxes per day approach 

This approach uses some basic math. Once you’ve unpacked the bulk of your essentials and everyday needs boxes, set a goal for when you want to be one unpacking. 

We recommend 30 days after you move in, but that can be difficult for busy working households with extra0-curricular activities. It’s also challenging if the move was traumatic for the family, and you’re recovering emotionally from the transition. In this case, set reasonable timeframe – and be gentle on yourself and your family. 

Once you’ve set a, “Hurray! We’re Done Unpacking!“ date, count up the boxes remaining. Then, count the calendar days between now and your end date. Divide the number of boxes left by the number of days, and then start unpacking ____ boxes per day. If the days between the current date and your finish date are less than the boxes, write a number on each box – and then write corresponding numbers on certain calendar dates – and stick to the schedule. 

Minimize distractions (aka – put the phone in a closet, turned off) 

It’s amazing how distracted you can get when unpacking – especially when you’re unmotivated. All of a sudden, there is no Google search too weird, no YouTube video to silly, to help eat up the time. So, protect yourself by eliminating the most typical distractions.  

For most, this means turning the cell phone off and hiding it in a closet, or it might mean putting masking tape over the on/off button on the game console, or taping the fridge and pantry doors shut until your unpacking session is over. Know your worst offending distractions and disarm them.  

Set a timer 

Sometimes, looking at the whole is too overwhelming (one of the reasons the “_____ boxes per day” tends to work well). Another version of that approach is to figure out what your max unpacking time tends to be before you lose your oomph. Try to work for at least 20 or 30 minutes per day unpacking boxes, and then give it a rest.  

Use a timer to keep you on track, and so your busy mind can stay focused – knowing relief is just on the horizon. This approach means you will finish – little by little – and the fruits of your labors will be evident day by day. 

Is it possible that you have too much stuff? 

While people tend to purge a little when they’re packing, time is of the essence, which can lead to moving a bunch of stuff you don’t really like, need, or use anymore. For many, running out of steam in the unpacking process is the best sign that “we already have everything we need, and most of this is just excess!” 

It’s not easy to get rid of things, especially if we’re more attached to the story – or the people who gave them to us – than we are the actual objectsSpend time evaluating what it’s time to move on. You may appreciate tips for decluttering using Marie Kondo’s philosophy, which honors and offers gratitude to anything that has served its purpose, before moving it on via donation or acknowledging it’s time to throw it away.  

If your children are struggling, taking pictures of the items they have a hard time parting with savors the memory, but frees up space and clutter. 

Use the one-year rule 

This is connected to #4’s, “is it possible you have too much stuff?” category. Motivating yourself to unpack after moving may require some firm boundaries about what stays and what goes. The one-year rule is a great way to figure out what you really need, and what is clogging up the air and floor space in your home. 

If you haven’t used or worn something in a year or more, automatically move it into the donate pile. It’s a sure sign it’s not essential and your reluctance to finish unpacking may be your inner self’s revolt – saying, “we’re not going to carry that around or store that anymore!” 

One room at a time 

For some, the one room at a time method works best. However, if you haven’t completed furniture and major furnishings replacement, this method needs to be put on hold until the basic interior set up of your new spaces is complete, and you’ve mostly decided on what will go where in the storage areas, cupboards and shelves.  

If the bare bones aren’t set up yet, it will be hard to unpack the miscellaneous items or hang the art because you don’t know where they will live. 

Reward yourself each time you unpack after moving 

Just because you’re not a kid anymore doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the proverbial gold star every once in a while. Set some respectable, but not overwhelming, unpacking goals and write them down on a list. Then reward yourself. If you get the whole living room and dining room unpacked, take yourself to dinner and try out a restaurant in your new neighborhood. 

If you finish unpacking all the books or hanging/storing all the clothes in the closets and dressers, get yourself a favorite dessert and savor every bite as you recharge on the couch streaming your favorite shows.

We’re Here For You

Never forget that professional movers often offer to unpack as part of their services packages. If you’re struggling to unpack, contact us here at Jay’s Moves and let’s see what we can do to help to keep your unpacking process moving forward.