New research conducted by us has revealed that 51% of people who’ve moved house in the last five years still had unpacking to do by the tenth month of being in their new place. Three quarters of those admitted that not being fully unpacked was causing stress in their lives, while half of those said it had caused arguments.

Furthermore, one in four surveyed said their inability to fully unpack had caused them to leave one or more boxes packed for the duration of their stay in a property. Sandwich toasters, cocktail shakers and other non-essential kitchen items were the things most likely to remain boxed, while the kettle (obviously) and phone and tablet chargers (naturally) and bathroom essentials (definitely!) are typically the first items to be unboxed after a move.

Our survey of more than 1,000 people found that most people still had unpacking to do 304 (ten months) after stepping over the threshold of their new place. One in five (18%) said they took more than a year to get fully unpacked, while seven percent were still living out of boxes two years after moving.

This news must be hard to contemplate for the super organised minority in our survey. Three percent of our respondents claimed that they’d unpacked everything within a day of moving, while seven percent said they’d got the job finished within a week.

Decorating was the most common excuse given by the slow unpackers, with 44% saying they’d properly unpack once they’d completed the necessary tasks. 31% said they needed to get more storage solutions, 12% said they were still debating where to put things, while 7% said they were too busy and 6% percent just admitted they couldn’t be bothered.

Pie chart showing average time taken for movers to unpack.

Almost two thirds still having unpacking to do by month nine in a new house.

A third (31%) said the delay in unpacking was due to having insufficient storage, while 12% said they couldn’t agree with their significant other on where to put things.

13% blamed themselves, with 7% saying they were too busy to fully unpack and 6% admitting to being too lazy to finish the job. Men were far more likely than women to be living out of boxes and couples were less likely to be doing so than singletons.

Regan McMillan, Kiwi Movers director reckons a lot of folks make their lives unnecessarily hard by packing items they don’t actually need.

“If a quarter of people are saying they’ve got boxes they never unpacked since their last move, you’ve got to wonder if they really need what’s inside. We recommend having a thorough de-clutter prior to moving house so our clients don’t end up paying to move, then storing or living among items they don’t actually need. In most cases, if you haven’t used it in the last six months, you can most likely do without.”