There’s nothing like settling into a new home, seeing a space transform with your stuff. At the same time, unpacking after a move can be exhausting — especially for a household with kids. You’re arranging furniture and unloading boxes, while also chasing a toddler around or preparing a snack. You’re staring at a pile of unopened boxes, while also helping kids create new routines. So how do you deal with the frustrations of living in a place that’s not fully unpacked? Take a look at these tips to tackle the enormous stack of boxes while also caring for your kids.
Do a Deep Clean Before Moving In
An empty home is a blank slate, much easier to clean than a fully furnished one. As soon as you get the keys, give the house a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. This will make it easier to get everyone settled quickly when your stuff is inside, without trying to clean as you go. Likewise, it will make your home safer for little ones crawling or running around the rooms.
Prioritize Kids’ Spaces
When you have small kids in your home, getting them settled is a top priority. Once they have a designated space with their beds and toys, they’ll have somewhere to play while you’re unpacking. They’ll also have a place for naps and other daily routines. The sooner you can return your children to a typical schedule, the less stress for everyone involved. To make this possible, tackle their rooms first.
If you have friends or family nearby who can take your kids out for an afternoon or play with them in the backyard while you work, let them! This can provide invaluable chunks of time for unpacking. Bonus: Your kids have fun and burn off some energy.
Make the Most of Naps and Bedtime
Have any natural windows of time in which your kids are occupied, such as naps or early bedtimes? These are golden opportunities for unpacking. Stay focused and try to work through your box pile when the kids aren’t distractions. This way, you can give them more of your attention when they’re awake.
Provide Play Areas
Beyond bedrooms, you might want to create designated safe play spaces where your kids can be occupied in your new home. Sometimes toddlers like to see and be near you, even while playing with their own things. In that case, you could set up a pack-and-play in the living room while you’re setting up bookshelves. A baby gate around a part of the basement could contain your kids while you’re organizing storage bins. You might even want to create a series of bins that you rotate with different toys or activities to keep your kids entertained. Try to make the process fun, so your children enjoy what they’re doing while you work.
Get Kids Involved
Could you let your kids create a mountain of empty moving boxes in an empty room? Would they like to pop used bubble wrap? Maybe there are a few boxes of toys they could help you unpack. For older kids, you could have a contest to see who unpacks their clothes fastest. If you find ways to involve children in the unpacking process, they’ll feel more included and part of the team.
Nobody can work non-stop, so don’t expect yourself to — take regular breaks, both for your own and your kids’ sanity. When you feel you’re getting burned out, round everybody up for an ice cream run or a few hours at the park. Sometimes a little fun is all everyone needs to de-stress and keep moving forward.
Unpacking can be stressful for anyone, particularly parents who are unpacking with kids in the home. At the same time, keep perspective: You’re moving into a new home together. This is an exciting time! Use the tips above to keep you calm and focused and enjoy as much as you can.
Author bio: Stan Caramalac is the founder and CEO of Move Central. He started the company because he truly believed that moving could be simple as long as it was done efficiently. He strives to help people make their moves smoother and less stressful. Caramalac and his team proudly serve San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and the Bay Area.