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How to pack: Unpacking

Unpacking takes as much planning and consideration as packing.

Unpacking takes as much planning and consideration as packing.

After weeks of preparing for a move, it's finally time to unpack all your stuff in a new home. But don't start tearing open boxes like it's Christmas morning just yet. Unpacking your belongings takes almost as much planning as packing them in the first place.

Depending on how much energy you have left after the move, you may want to take this opportunity while everything is still boxed up to do some quick repairs around the house. With everything out of the way, it might be a lot easier to touch up some wall paint, repair a light fixture, dust and sweep out the cobwebs from the corners, or perform other minor fixes around the house.

If you're too exhausted for even light housework, don't feel bad. Just make sure you've got all your essentials squared away before going to bed. Unpacking is a long process, and you won't be able to access some of your stuff for quite a while. Make sure you've got a box or a bag (or both) that has the things you'll need right away. This could be bed linens and bath towels, a handful of kitchen items or even some entertainment equipment if you absolutely can't live without your DVDs.

Once you've regained your strength and are ready to tackle the mountain of boxes the moving company left in your living room, you're going to need some space. Start by assembling all the furniture you had to take apart for the move. Put drawers back into dressers, shelves back onto bookcases and legs back onto tables. This will help you get some of the bigger stuff out of the way, and give you a surface area onto which the little things will go.

When it comes to the kitchen, take a similar step and line your new cabinets and drawers before filling up the cupboards with dishes. There's nothing more frustrating than having to empty out a drawer you recently filled because you forgot to apply the liner.

As your possessions begin to make their way to their homes inside your home, don't just junk the boxes that transported them. When it comes to disposing of packing supplies, think about recycling them, giving them to a friend who is moving soon, or hanging onto them for your own next relocation. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the average American will move 11.7 times during the course of his or her life, so you may use all those packing peanuts again.