Packing and Unpacking for Small Spaces

When moving into a small space, the thought can be overwhelming if you are downsizing or moving out on your own for the first time.  Either way, we’ll cover off how to pack and unpack for a smooth move.

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1) Declutter BEFORE you pack.  Don’t take anything along with you that you’ll need to get rid of later.  Before you pack it, be sure you’ll need it and if not, say goodbye.  If you need help figuring out how to declutter, you’ll love the videos we’ve created on that!

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2) Label your boxes, number your boxes and make a packing list with box numbers and locations.  Have your boxes moved into the room they belong immediately.  Label with arrows pointing up, fragile, liquid, etc. and use recyclable materials to provide shock absorption for delicate items.

3) Ensure your space is clean before you move in. Ideally, cleaning should be the very last task before you move, whether you are hiring a service or doing it yourself. So get all of your painting and renovations done first, then clean the place, then move your stuff in.

4) On move day, have an ‘overnight bag’ with some essentials to get you through the next few days.  Some clean clothes, PJs, eating utensils, music and any toiletries you’ll need.  That way you don’t need to unpack your space out of order.

5) Unpack IN each room and unpack an entire room at a time.  Don’t lose sight of this and do half a room here and there.

6) Plan your space out ahead of time so you know where everything goes.  It might be easier to create a schematic diagram of your space and where you want everything to go, so you can just GET ER’ DONE efficiently.  Draw your furniture placement and where you want things to reside. This will help lessen the decision-making burden on unpacking day and you can focus on execution instead of tactics. There’s also a lot of great online resources and apps that can help make the process easier.

7) Clean as you go.  Break down boxes, dispose of packing materials and sweep and dust each day.  This takes moments to do and I know it’s asking for an extra push, but keeping your space clean WHILE unpacking goes a long way in helping you settle in and start to feel at home.  Plus, you’ll have less STUFF to deal with in the long run and can systematically eliminate unpacking and associated waste at the same time.

As with most things, preparation is key for a smooth and easy move. If you’ve moved into a small space, what are some tips or tricks you have to make the process easier?

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


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