The pair agreed that the kitchen is the most crucial space to pack and unpack first, as it’s both the most difficult to organize and “the heartbeat of the house,” Shearer says. In their new series, everyone has to unpack in 36 hours, and Shearer and Teplin suggest tackling the kitchen setup as soon as possible. “It’s the crown jewel of any home—it’s where people gather, no matter how much you want them to be in the living room. So getting that space really well organized is key,” Shearer says.
Teplin adds that having a plan for what goes where is also important in the unpacking stage. “We definitely say to start with the kitchen, and systems are the most important there too.”
Set up your new home with a focus on maximizing your space
So what happens after you edit? Well, edit again. “Edits are our first step in any organizing and unpacking process,” Shearer says. “But you do get a second bite at that apple when you actually group like items together and create your categories and think, Why did I keep x, y, z?” After you edit, establish zones first for where the moving boxes will be stored and most of the unpacking will happen, and then for the household items.
Really think about where items will go in spaces, and don’t feel boxed in by the name of a room. If you’re storing toilet paper in the laundry room, consider calling it something more general and all of a sudden the possibilities of the space open up. But no matter what you call the space or what you plan on keeping in it, always be on the lookout for storage in unexpected places. “This is true for our larger houses, but it’s especially important in a smaller space,” Teplin says. “We love taking advantage of vertical space, whether that’s a wall, the back of a door, the top of a cabinet…anything we can do to increase the storage opportunities.”
Remember this one essential
When asked what they would say is the most important thing to have in a move, the pair mentioned a good labeling system, but then they added something surprising: A good outlook.
“See this as an opportunity, not a chore. And if you could reframe the way that you’re thinking about the packing and the unpacking, it will change the day” Teplin says. “I know, we’re a little weird, we enjoy it as a sport, but it shouldn’t be a grievance. You get to move, you get to set up your systems, you get to improve your life. It [is] a special time.”