Moving is an exciting thing, and while many people look forward to it, most dread the unpacking process. As the kitchen is one of the most critical parts of the houseyou should plan to unpack it either first or as soon as possible. We’ve compiled our list of kitchen moving steps to make the task of unpacking your new kitchen a snap:

1. Deep clean first

While the previous homeowner or apartment tenant may have been responsible for cleaning on their way out, chances are they didn’t do a stellar job of it. To ensure your kitchen is squeaky clean before you start unloading, invest an hour or two scrubbing the surfaces, wiping down the fridge, and dusting off the shelves. Now’s also a great time to install shelf liner to keep your dishes and glassware off the bottom of the cabinet.

2. Get everything together

Gather all your kitchen boxes in your new space; having to search for boxes as you go will only slow you down. Then, devise a plan for unpacking. It is easier to get your bearings if you have a framework for getting the kitchen organized. Unpack the most commonly used objects like everyday glassware, dishes, and cutlery first. These items should be place in the most accessible upper cabinets and drawers. Lower cabinets are perfect for bulky pots and pans, while the far reaches of the pantry are great for storing seasonal dishes or infrequently used small appliances like the ice cream maker or crockpot.

3. Set achievable goals

If you have quite a few boxes to unpack, start small. First and the most important thing is to get out essentials, everyday items such as cutlery, plates, bowls, and cups.  Other things you should unpack as soon as possible are dish towels and dish soap.  Make sure you have the supplies you need for everyday life, i.e., coffee maker! You don’t have to have it all unpacked in a single day, but setting daily goals for yourself will keep your unpacking on track.

4. Put away the good china

If you have special china or a favorite serving dish, you should put that away first. Placing this job on the priority list will ensure that nothing gets broken or otherwise damaged in the process. Unpacking can be messy, so taking that little bit of care will make you happier in the long run.

5. Pantry and Refrigerator

Emptying all coolers as soon as possible is a good idea, be sure all your perishable items don’t go to waste. Canned and dry goods should have been packed separately from dishes. Putting them away will give you a sense of organization, spices will be easier to find, and you will have a better idea of what you need on your first grocery list.

6. Keep a list of everything

Keeping track of all the different items you have in the kitchen will allow you to learn where everything is. Use sticky notes and write a list of what is in each cupboard and what new items you need to get. This strategy saves you time and keeps you organized as you adjust to your new surroundings.

Find out how much your move costs!