As promised, here is Part II of my soon-to-be-famous moving tips...
Set Up Something Personal First - We all feel more at home with our own things around us. So to feel at ease set up something personal first. The sooner you feel like a new space is 'yours,' the more you'll want to complete the process of unpacking, get ride of all that cardboard and be settled in your new home. Something simple is best. My usual choice is photos on the fridge - ah! this is the bag from the suitcase. I simply take everything displayed on my old fridge, put it in a bag and then rehang at the new place. This just takes seconds but makes a big impact.
Just Dive In - If you're feeling daunted, just pick a box or bag at random and dive in. Take out whatever you can carry and put those few items away. Then go for another handful. Then another. And before you know it there is one more box ready to be flattened for the recycle pile. Also - don't be afraid to get distracted. It's ok to have more than one box open at a time (as long as it's not 10 open boxes...) that you are pulling from. After a few handfuls from a kitchen box, you may want to switch and start setting up your antique spoon collection. Go for it, just don't forget to return to that kitchen box before too long.
Pick Your Favorite Area - Many people will advise you to start with one heavily trafficked area, say the kitchen, set it up completely then move on to the next area. I say start with whatever area will make you feel at home. Personally, I'm perfectly happy to survive on take-out for a couple days but cringe at the thought of not having immediate access to that grey dress I suddenly have the must-have urge to wear, so setting up the closet is first on my to-do list.
It Doesn't Have to Be Permanent or Perfect - It's very easy to get tied up in finding the perfect spot for that vacation souvenir. Or figuring out just the right way your closet should be lined up. Before you relocate your sweaters for the fourth time, take a deep breath and put them back on that same shelf. The important thing when unpacking is just to get everything out of their moving containers and back into usage. Don't get me wrong - I'm certainly not advocating dumping everything out onto the living room floor and saying your done. Just remind yourself that you'll figure out the perfect place for that buddha statue as you begin to settle in your space and not when you just walked in the door.
Hang It Up - It's always a good idea to live in a space for a bit before hanging anything on the walls. You want to make sure the furniture arrangement works for your daily life before making a lot of holes. But don't wait too long - or you'll get used to seeing that Beatles poster resting in the corner and it will never get up. I recommended hanging stuff up within two weeks of a move. On the same hand, don't be hesitate to hang something up if you know it will make you feel settled (our main goal afterall!). For instance, one of the first things I do is hang up a hook in the bathroom for my robe. Knowing it has a place, and won't be left to dry on the floor, helps me feel like I'm living in my own space.
Keep Unpacked Boxes In Sight - If you're getting tired of the sea of cardboard or maybe feel guilty that it's been two weeks and you still have piles to go through, you may have the bright idea to put those boxes in a closet or spare room or wherever out of sight. Resist the urge!
A hidden box is one that never gets unpacked. So unless you want to come across that same box the next time you move, leave it out where you'll see it (read: trip over it) every day.
Most importantly remember unpacking should be fun, not a chore. You're taking a blank canvas and making it into a space that is uniquely you - what could be more fun?