Living With Less: A Fresh Start, Part II

It’s already September, and I can hardly believe that Hubs and I have already been in our new home for one month. I hadn’t intended to write a two-part post about settling into our new home, but as we’ve continued our slow and thoughtful unpacking, I’ve found a few more practical tips that have helped us set up our home for success.

I’ve already shared some of the ways that we’ve been careful to be mindful of the things that become permanent fixtures in our home in Part I, but today I have a few more practical strategies for moving and settling in.

Take your time and prioritize
In Part I, I wrote about the need to give yourself time to settle into the rhythms of your life in the new place, but there’s also a systematic flow of moving that is important. It can be super tempting to open up your box of books or mementos and place each one lovingly on the bookshelf, but that won’t do you any good on night one if you haven’t already take the time to get your new place operational. In my experience, there are several logical steps to moving in:

  • Get operational: get the necessary bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchen as close to working order as possible. Lots of things can wait one more day, including any guest bedrooms or bathrooms, but you’re probably going to need to shower and sleep on day one, and getting the kitchen operational on day one means less money spent on takeout.

    It isn’t important to have these rooms “finished,” but you’ll want to have the essentials at hand. For us, this meant getting the master bed and bathroom, my office, and the kitchen in working order within the first 24-48 hours of moving in.

  • Prioritize by use: once you have the essential areas taken care of, be as purposeful in unpacking as you can. If possible, designate a box landing zone (for us this was the garage). All of the boxes get unloaded there and live there until it is time for them to be unpacked.

    From there, I find it helpful to unpack in batches. Get all of your boxes that have kitchen related items, unpack and lay out the contents of as many boxes as possible in one area (a dining room table works well) so that you can see all the items and the space they need to live in at the same time. Do not open any more boxes or get any more boxes out of the loading zone until you have evaluated each item and either found it a home or placed it in a giveaway box.

    If you’re struggling to let go of something but think it might not deserve a place in your home, don’t stress, just place it in a box for evaluation at a later date (but I challenge you to keep indecision at a minimum!). Once you’ve unpacked and stored all the items in your kitchen batch, move on to a different room and repeat the process.

  • Decor can wait: similar to the strategy of having a landing zone for boxes, create a landing zone for decor items. It can be tempting to want to immediately hang up pictures as you unwrap them, but determining the placement of your decor will be much easier when you see the space without any clutter that doesn’t belong in that room.

    Once you feel that the furniture and fixtures of the room are configured the way you like them, then you can easily see which walls and corners could benefit most from a houseplant or piece of art.

Filter your things
If you follow the strategies above, the moving process will provide 3-4 natural “gateways” that your things must pass through:

  • Gate 1, Packing: before you move, ask yourself as you pack, “Do I love/use this item enough to justify moving it?”
  • Gate 2, Unpacking: sometimes your perspective on an item can change when you see it in context of your new living situation. As you unpack, ask yourself, “Do I believe this item will make my life here better, that it will be useful or beautiful in this phase of my life?”
  • Gate 3, Sorting: as you unpack, lay out like items and check for duplicates. This is a step that it is very easy to skip but will help you maximize your storage space. If you have two items that fulfill the same need, choose one to keep and one to give away.
  • Gate 4, Storing: finally, once your things are in the new space, find a home for every single item. If something doesn’t have a home, let go of it, or let go of something else that allows you to make room for it.

Moving can often feel frustrating, and you want to just have everything unpacked and settled already! But I promise that if you are thoughtful and purposeful with each stage of your move, then moving can become a filter that ultimately leaves you with only the things you love and use most.

I promise to move on (ha) from my topic of moving in to the new house soon, as we’re so very close to being done with the unpacking phase and I’m SO ready to get on with the decorating phase. As always, have a lovely Tuesday and a wonderful rest of the week!

Anna Signature


Image by Erich Ferdinand, creative commons license.

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