Unpacking in the new home

December 22, 2022

When it comes to unpacking, there a few things that can make life a bit easier. First of all, it is not only about unpacking: it is mainly about assigning places to everything the household has. We learnt that the hard way, as Hubby, wishing to finish the unpacking the fastest way possible, started to mechanically open boxes and spread everything around the floor, tables chairs and everywhere else (blocking the bathroom door? Yes. On furniture that had to go away? Yes. On our bed? You bet; all my clothes were there). Until I screamed a big “No!” when I couldn’t reach the living room.

The mess was causing me anxiety, so I got Hubby to stop. From the look on his face, he thought I was procrastinating when I started organizing, but the result is that we came up with a method that is still in place and help us find things around our house.

The Move
Oh, if unpacking was this neat. Photo by Cottonbro on Pexels.

Before unpacking, trash what you don’t want to keep

It is quite logical that a big endeavor such as unpacking all our possessions would require some planning. We didn’t realize it at first, though. At the height of my anxiety, I decided to stop the unpacking and proceeded to empty drawers, shelves or wardrobes of things that would not stay, as well as throwing out or selling any furniture that we were not interested in keeping. Sounds obvious, right? But we just realized that while doing.

In Spain, it is quite common to buy apartments or houses that were previously used as vacation homes / rentals, so the owners don’t actually live in Spain and therefore have no interest in moving the used furniture abroad; homes end up being sold fully furnished. Some of these items may still be of interest, so it is worth checking what will remain and throw out the needless goods before start unpacking. If you want to sell some of these goods, Wallapop is a popular app to do so in Spain.

One room, one person

The next step was to decide what will go where, at least tentatively – I allowed myself to change my mind on the first days, every time this would result in better quality of life in the long run. Only then unpacking can start/restart. From our experience, it was better if each one of us stayed in a different room, as it allowed for better flow in the ambient – it is hard enough to move around boxes and open cabinets, better if there is only one person in the room. Keep in mind, also, that houses in Spain are significantly small – at least compared to Brazil, Estonia and especially the USA.

Keep the boxes stacked in one area only

Ideally, all the boxes should initially occupy one room (so that the mess in the rest of the house is limited) and would be moved to their destination when it is possible to open them. We stuffed one room to clean the rest, them Hubby got the task of moving boxes to the designated “boxes room” while I started to unpack the goods that we decided would stay in the living room. He was also opening each box because we needed to find the tools to disassemble some of the furniture we wanted to get rid of – that red box would have been so handy…

I then moved to the kitchen and to the bathrooms, while Hubby dealt with Kiddo’s room, our room and the office, as well as assembling and disassembling furniture (did I ever mention I married a super human? The amount of work this man can do is absurdly impressive. And he is so handy! And handsome. Ah, ok, I’ll stop here).

Manage the trash

We filled the community recycle bin dedicated to paper in the very first day of unpacking; that meant that on top of the mess, getting rid of the empty cardboard boxes and protective paper was also an issue. We would wait for the trash to be collected and fill just half of the container on the following days, as filling it completely would be unfair to the neighbors. We would open each empty box and smooth out each paper, so that the papers could be rolled in a compact way, thus taking less space in the paper bin. Kiddo did a lot of this task.

Expect surprises…

The only surprise when receiving this move was that creams had changed texture. Everything arrived, but any lotion or cosmetic we brought was more liquid than we remembered. Once again, the unusual weather conditions inside the container were blamed for this outcome; we really never know what will come out of that box…

I would love to say that it was fast and easy, but, boy, it was not. It took us weeks, actually months, and a promise that we would become minimalists (we are still trying). As a matter of fact, some things are still packed because we don’t have a proper space to put them in. Things that we had no idea where to put were left for later, as space was being filled with more important goods.

Many things ended up in the trash or in a give away box that we put in the garage, both emptying our home and being a good neighbor. Kiddo is the most minimalist person in the house, as he was the one that gave out more. Finally, the designated “boxes room” was emptied and became the guest room, ready to receive the first visitor, that arrived just two weeks after completion. And then normality was very close.

Next: Desirable Normality

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