Keep Up to Date
Liberty Military Housing's Blog

Please note, news and blogs published prior to 11/2/2021 will be listed as Lincoln Military Housing.

Return To Blog

How to Unpack After Moving for PCS Orders


Reading time - 4 minutes, 50 seconds


Many articles cover the challenges of packing for a PCS move, but not many addresses the stress of unpacking - especially if you have to do it alone. From procrastination to feeling discouraged, it can be easy to feel the unpacking is overwhelming - especially if you feel like another PCS move might be around the corner. Luckily, unpacking after a move doesn't have to be hard! 

Just like packing, unpacking requires organization and a plan to make it as easy and stress-free as possible. Read below for tips to have a successful PCS unpacking experience. 

Useful PCS Moving Tips

Unpacking after a move can be time-consuming, overwhelming, and energy-draining. Make your PCS move a bit simpler by being strategic. Create and, most importantly, execute a plan that will help you prepare for the first few hours of your PCS move. While you will have movers to help you pack, you can still do a few things to make unpacking work efficiently for you. 

Pack Personal Items

Movers are great at helping with packing and moving the big pieces and boxes, but for smaller, personal items, you may feel most comfortable packing or organizing those yourself. Gather things like sentimental pieces, important documents, and anything else that will give you peace of mind knowing the exact whereabouts during your moving process. Pack them in a smaller box that you can take along with you while moving. This way, nothing will be misplaced during transport, and you can quickly unpack it in your new home. 

Implement a System

Before getting too excited and jumping into unpacking things, implement a system. First, make sure all of your belongings have made it to your new home. Next, move boxes and large furniture items to the rooms they belong in. Open the boxes and peek inside to get a good idea of what's there and how much you have.   

Focus on Your Needs

If you were going to skip unpacking today, what would you need to make it through the night and tomorrow? These items are your essentials and should be unpacked as soon as possible. Your essentials boxes often include personal care items, basic toiletries, clothes, bedding, electronics (including chargers), cleaning items, simple cooking items, and important paperwork. 

Four Simple Steps to Begin Unpacking

Step 1: Tackle the Kitchen

Begin your unpacking journey in the heart of the home, the kitchen. If you have the time and energy, wipe down cabinets to remove any dirt and line the shelves. If you don't have time to unpack the whole kitchen or feel as if the task is too daunting, only unpack what you think you'll need. Put away a few pots and pans, set up large appliances, then assemble smaller ones such as a coffee maker, toaster, or a blender. You can always come back to the kitchen later when you're ready to get organized - try these 20 clever products to help you keep your kitchen in order in your new home.  

Step Two: Get Comfortable with the Bedrooms

After a long day of unpacking, all you'll want to do is snuggle up in your bed, ready for a good night's sleep. Be sure all beds in the house are assembled correctly, then put a set of linens on each. In terms of closet organization, be strategic: install shelving and closet organizing units first to avoid shifting items around, saving yourself extra time in the future. Once you have organized your closet, move large furniture around in your room until you are completely satisfied with the furniture placement.  

Step Three: Stock the Bathrooms

Unpack towels, toiletries, and other personal care items that you will need quickly. Often, shower curtains, bath towels, and toilet paper are forgotten somewhere during the process. Double-check that the water has been turned on and all fixtures work properly.  

Step Four: Furnish the Living Areas

Areas like the living room or dining room can seem like overwhelmingly large tasks to conquer. Arranging your furniture should be your next strategic unpacking move. Larger pieces that need mechanical assembly should not be put together until their placement is decided and you have the proper tools and help to assemble. Check out these moving pad sliders if you're unpacking alone to help you move heavy furniture around your new home. They will protect your new floors and your precious back!

Tricks to Limit Stress and Procrastination While Unpacking

Unpacking your entire home can be a stressful and overwhelming task. Reduce your stress by utilizing mindfulness techniques and avoid procrastination by giving yourself a clearly defined deadline to be settled into your new home. Check out these other tricks to help you unpack after your PCS Move. 

Start Simple

Get started with something simple. Maybe it's unpacking a box of books that you know belong on the bookshelf or utensils that you know belong in a kitchen drawer. Starting with items that don't require a lot of thought or planning, you can begin to chip away at the larger task. Finish one box at a time, and watch the snowball effect take place as you tackle unpacking after your PCS Move.  

Find Motivation 

What motivates you to complete tasks? Is it listening to your favorite podcast? Maybe you enjoy listening to music instead, which is proven to help make you more productive! Avoid watching your favorite TV show - you'll likely get too wrapped up in it to unpack or be too concentrated on packing that you'll miss out on key parts of the plot.  

Ask for Help

Like we've noted, unpacking is overwhelming! Don't be afraid to ask for help if needed. Enlist the help of your children or reach out to anyone you might already know in the area. By asking for help with specific tasks, such as organizing your kitchen, you aren't asking others to commit to a huge chore. Have fun with it and plan a movie-and-unpack night!

If you're completely new to the area and don't know anybody, use this as a reason to interact with others in your community and make new friends. Remember, your military housing neighbors have gone through a PCS move or two themselves, so they will be happy to lend a helping hand. Luckily, Liberty Military Housing offers plenty of opportunities to attend free community service events so you can meet your new neighbors and make connections in your neighborhood! 

Celebrate the Little Things

Find happiness and relief as you take on tasks through a self-reward system. Stick to small, easy rewards, such as ordering pizza once all your tableware and cutlery are put away or watching an hour episode of your favorite show after you've completed an hour of unpacking. Celebrate how much you've accomplished so far and repeat the cycle until you feel comfortable with the amount of progress you've made. 

Remember, unpacking is a process. Don't stress about how long it takes you to get those boxes out of your walkways. Take your time, don't procrastinate, and you'll be thrilled when you're settled in. Make sure to make this new house feel like a home! While you're at it, transform your front door to give your new entryway a welcoming feel and continue to bring life into your military home through personalization.

Related: Your Family Needs an Emergency Binder - Here's Why

Select a Topic

Liberty Military Housing in Newport Beach, California logo

Every Mission Begins at Home