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How long should it take to unpack after moving?

Google has let me down.

I thought it knew everything. So I thought I’d quickly go online and be able to figure out what the average time for unpacking after a move was. I’d either find that we were going at the right pace (doubtful) or were total slackers (much more likely). All I seemed to find were sites for moving/packing/unpacking companies and “helpful” articles that tell you how important a moving plan is in order to stay organized. Yes, we did label all of our boxes with the contents and rooms that they should go in. And we had an “unpack first” box that contained essential things like our bedding so that we could get our bed set up while we were still awake. But our progress definitely slowed down after the first few days and we’re not nearly done yet.

How long should it take to unpack?

Wish I could say this was taken in the first couple of days

What I wanted to find were real stories from real people to see if we were keeping up. Maybe it could motivate us to pick up the pace. I did find one comforting blog post where the author and a lot of the comments seemed to say that 2 months was reasonable. There may have been a few other posts I found that were more in the 1-2 week range but I didn’t like them so I shut those browser windows pretty quickly.

To give ourselves some credit, we’ve been here less than a week and a half. And we have full time jobs. And we’re pretty darn tired after spending all of our non-working hours for the previous month either working on the new house or packing up the old one. We pretty quickly finished the kitchen (although now all the extra floor space in there seems to be a magnet for halfway unpacked boxes that migrated from other rooms). And the bathroom. But the rest of the rooms seem to be stalled out at halfway done.

I definitely need a goal to work towards. Or I’ll keep repeating tonight - I’m supposed to be unpacking my clothes but I’m spending time researching unpacking & writing this post instead.

So what’s a reasonable time to aim for to have our house unpacked?


  1. ZCH says:

    this probably won’t help motivate you, but we have been in our house almost a year and there is ONE box that we just can’t seem to unpack. i guess i should just toss it out at this point, right??

    but i think if “most” of your stuff is unpacked within a month you’re good.

    another good but stressful way to motivate — have your bday party at your new house! that gives you almost a month…

    1. Jami says:

      I think having everything but 1 box unpacked definitely counts as being done. Regarding the tossing, if you don’t think you need it or will miss it, toss it (even though we set aside a lot of stuff to donate while we packed up, we’ve already accumulated quite a donation pile during the unpacking process). But there’s always the “store it in the garage” option too if you’ve got the space.

      We made a lot of progress today so I think the 1 month target is doable. We’ve thought about the party idea too – guess it’s time to start planning something, although I’m in a lot of denial this year.

    2. robstler says:

      OMG! I still have that one box too.

  2. steve says:

    It was a week yesturday sense we moved in to our new home, and i am stress out with it, i can’t stand boxes and it seams like everytime you are empteing a room and it seams like it’s all done then you are puting more boxes in,,,, i got upset last night because of it, and dont know what to do about it…. if you know what i mean…..

  3. vj says:

    We moved in 1 week ago, got 1/2 the boxes unpacked, but still have another
    storage unit to clear out. Setting a schedule that is reasonable for you is the
    only thing to think about. Everyone is different in their priorities and time they have. I don’t work outside the home, so I can do much more than someone who does work an outside job. You might need 3 piles or boxes
    1 for trash, 1 for donation, find one that comes and picks it up,
    1 for maybes. then when you are done with everything else just pick one
    weekend with the hubby and or kids and go through the maybe pile, keep it, toss it or donate it. I figure it should take me about 2 to 3 months to get things where I want them for now. It would take me much longer if I worked
    an outside job. wow, good luck on your unpacking.

  4. Betsy says:

    Well I hope you are unpacked by now or moved because I just noticed this is a post from 2010. LOL!! But, like you were doing, instead of unpacking boxes I am googling shit on getting motivated to unpack!! Mine is a very long story that I won’t bore you with, but I’m not even sure I want to stay here and I think that is half my problem…like why unpack it if I might just end up moving again. I have been downsized and renting furnished places so if I unpack, I have to get more stuff – like shelving, etc – to put the stuff on that I unpack!! Vicious circle!!! I should FIRST decide if the place is worth staying. So, I guess I really answered my own question, but not yours. I’d say I don’t believe we should stress ourselves out by making deadlines on unpacking. Moving is stressful enough!!! Set up a comfortable place to sleep, sit and cook/eat…then relax if you can. Maybe looking at it all at once is just overwhelming you. Maybe making simple goals…as simple as tackling a box a week…will make the job more manageable. I know you are probably done BY NOW, but maybe this will help someone else.

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