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Tips for Staying Motivated When You’re Mostly Unpacked

If you’ve moved recently, you may have hit the point where the important items and the Box of moving itemsthings you use every day are unpacked, but you still have sealed boxes, or items unboxed but not put away. Moving seems to take forever, and you’re not unusual if you find yourself succumbing to the temptation to shove some of those boxes in the closet or the garage and call it done. We’ve been there, too. Here are some tips to keep yourself motivated to finish the job.

Identify Any Issues that Prevent You from Finishing

Sometimes, the issue is that you can’t unpack items. Maybe you need to put up shelves before unpacking the good china, the last of the books, or the CD collection. Maybe you can’t hang the rest of the curtains because you need to buy and install curtain rods. Whatever the issues are, figure them out, and make a list of items to do and items to buy. Be specific: The more specific your lists are, the better the chance you have of completing them.

If the issue that prevents you from completing those last moving chores is time, get out your calendar and identify times when you don’t have to work, take the kids anywhere, or have other commitments. it may be 9:00 on a Wednesday night, or 8:00 on Sunday morning, but whenever it is, find and block it out. If you need to, find someone who can watch the kids so you can finish those last few boxes. Set reminders and alarms on your phone, and make a list of what you want to accomplish in the time you do have available. By figuring out what you can accomplish in a given amount of time, those last few boxes should seem less intimidating.

Set Deadlines and Rewards

If you’re a month past your move and still tripping over boxes, set deadlines to get everything unpacked and dispose of the boxes. Then use the to-do and to-buy lists, and schedule time to get everything taken care of. To make sure you do it, come up with a reward for meeting your deadlines. What’s rewarding to you will be personal, but it should be something out of the ordinary and not something you normally do. So if going out for dinner or getting a massage is part of your normal routine, it’s not a good reward.  Find something that you’d enjoy, that may be a splurge, and that you’ll only get if you meet your deadline. Then, if you’re reluctant to do the task when your reminder pops up on your phone, use the reward to motivate yourself.

Remind Yourself What’s at Stake

You may be thinking, it’s just boxes of stuff. What could be at stake? But think of what will happen if you save unpacking until the items are needed. If it’s the good china and you won’t need it until Thanksgiving, remind yourself of all the work that hosting a holiday entails, and think about what it will be like if, on top of cleaning and cooking, you also have to unpack and put away an entire set of dishes. Or, if it’s the curtains that are still in a carton because you don’t have curtain rods, and walking past the bare window every day reminds you that they still need to be done, think about how it will feel to have that task completed, and how nice the room will look like when it’s complete.

When you’ve met your deadlines and finished everything, you should feel a sense of accomplishment. In addition to rewarding yourself, feel free to let people know that you’re finally done with your move. Whether it’s telling a friend or posting a selfie with that last box broken down, it’s okay to brag that you’re now 100% unpacked and settled in your new home.

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