Boxes. Crates as far as the eye can see. They greet you as you walk in the front door. They menace you when you pop-out of bed for the first time in your new place. And honey, where’s the can opener?

Square Cow Movers did a fantastic job. All of the containers are in the rooms where they should be. Now you’re faced with turning what looks like a behind-the-scenes warehouse at FedEx into a home. You can take your time, but why? It’s so much easier to remove your bits and pieces from a box than it was to put them in the things.  You’re a grown-up.

Start at Go

While you don’t have to perform all the heavy lifting in one day, the sooner your new investment appears to be livable, the happier you’ll be. Just keep it fun. It’s true that you’re at stress-level 14-thousand, but by having a good attitude it will actually help you turn-down the S-meter to a more reasonable 300.

Really, Where is the Can Opener?

The best place to begin un-boxing matter is the kitchen. Before you plunge into anything, give the area a good scrubbing. Begin at the top and work your way down. Don’t worry about the floor just yet. Save that for later. The cupboards, above the fridge, the stove and the counter-tops should get the priority treatment.

The basics are at the top of the list for the kitchen assembly. Dishes, silverware, pots ‘n pans, pantry items. You’ll be excused if you didn’t take-out Ron Popeil’s “Automatic Walnut De-sheller” on the first pass. Place items like that aside and empower what you’ll really need to cook a meal. Taking care of your kitchen right-off-the-bat gives the family a spot to gather when you take a break before heading to the next most important room: The Bathroom.

Flush Twice, It’s a Long Way to Congress

Since you have to eat, you’re going to – sooner or later – use some Charmin. Similarly, you’re not a hobo. You want to take a shower or a relaxing bath after a day of displacing the precious stuff from the cardboard.

This is another space you want spic-and-span clean before any unpacking. Any towel closets, the forbidden toilet, the tub, the medicine cabinets, the sinks and counter-tops. Once again, pass on the floor for a while. Logically arrange the items in the places where they belong. Hang the shower curtain (if you have a rod-type tub).

Congratulations! You’ve now taken care of the two most important places in your new home.

Since these two rooms have taken up most of the daylight hours – considering your bedroom box springs and mattress has been sheeted, pillowed, blanketed, etc. – take the rest of the day off. Gather the Griswolds and treat them to dinner before you shower and retire for the night.

The Next Day

Waking-up all bright-eyed and – for those with appendages protruding from their lower back– bushy tailed, have breakfast. You’re about to tackle the place you just spent the last 8-hours in restful sleep. Since the movers have already assembled the bed, put the chest of drawers where you requested and the end tables are in place, this room should be a snap. Put your garments, shoes, etc. in the places they belong.

Got kids? Dispatch them to their rooms to put their clothing and goodies where they wish (you can always meddle with their bad taste once they leave the house for school).

The Final Frontier

Ahh, the living room. Before you start with the “Not there, over there … wait, put it beside that” bit, plan things out. Take a sheet of paper and a pencil. Draft a design. It’s a lot easier to erase a sofa on a sheet of parchment than it is to shuffle the real McCoy around your living or family room. Some folks enjoy the boxy look. Others take a more creative position – angling furniture into a corner. That way, you leave a nice space in back for a floor lamp or tall table. Your house, your taste. Any additional un-crated items, find an out-of-the-way area to stack them. They can wait for another day (or week or month).

Now that most of everything is out of the boxes, either carve them up for disposal or compact them for storage (if you have the additional space). Oh, and now would be a good time to sweep, vacuum or wash the floors.

Once dried, celebrate … get a pizza delivered, gather around the widescreen and catch a movie. Recommended: Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.” Great for the whole family!