You’ve made your move at last. Every box and belonging you own has been moved into your new apartment, and all you have to do is unpack. Sounds easy, right?

For most people, unpacking can be the worst part of a move. After the stress and strain of packing up everything you own and moving it, you still have to open every box and find a place for each and every item to go?

It’s true that unpacking can be timely after a major move, but if you do it right and stick to your plan, you can speed the process along and unpack like a pro. Here are simple tips, so you can finally make yourself at home in your new apartment or townhome in Hampton, VA.

Set a Deadline
It’s easy to burn out and give up halfway through the unpacking process. For some people, having a deadline in place helps to motivate them to push through. Be reasonable and set a deadline that gives you a good nudge, but is also achievable. Depending on the size of your home and the amount of boxes and items you have, you might want to give yourself a few weeks or even a month. Whatever you do, set the deadline and then work backwards – taking it one step at a time, all the way to the last box.

Start With the Essentials
Before you begin unpacking mountains of boxes, start by organizing the most important essentials in your life. Find a place to store your purse, keys, chargers, phone and any important documents you may need to access to in the coming weeks. Unpack enough silverware, dishes and cookware to get you through the first few days. Toiletries, sheets and blankets, changes of clothes, towels and cleaning products can also be necessary right away.

Unpack Your Perishables
If you brought food, cosmetics, creams or other items that can spoil, spill or melt if left too long, these are your next boxes to tackle. Put away any fresh fruit, unpack shampoos and conditioners, medicines or anything liquid. You won’t want to wait and discover an oozing box of slimy cardboard weeks after you’ve moved.

Pets & Plants
Find a place for your living things to settle into. Place your plants in sunny spots and give them extra water if they missed it for a few days during your move. Create a safe, cozy space with your pet’s favorite toys, blankets and items, and give them fresh water, good food and some extra attention as they adjust. You may need to close them into only one room to start, or take extra breaks to take them on walks or play with them as they adapt to their new surroundings.

Room by Room
Once you’ve gotten through the most important items, it’s time to take it room by room and unpack the bulk of your belongings. If you need to, make a checklist to help you stay on track. Start with your kitchen, home office, bedroom and so on. Just be sure you unpack every box in one room before you move on to the next.

Organize As You Go
As you unpack, organize your items and put them into places where you truly want them to go. This will help you down the road. Don’t just unpack a stack of books and leave them on the floor. Put them onto your bookshelves. Clothes can be organized into your closets. Sheets into the linen closet. The more you organize, the more your home will begin to look and feel like home.