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Packing a Moving Essentials Box: Your Must-Have Survival Kit for a Smooth Move

You’ve found the perfect (or perfect-for-now) home, packed copious amounts of boxes and spent your last night in your old digs. And now? It’s time to move. But before you head out the door one last time, ensure your moving essentials box is packed and ready to go. 

This must-have item will save you time and energy and give you much-needed peace of mind on one of the most hectic days of your life. So, what exactly is a moving day essentials box? This comprehensive yet to-the-point guide will tell you everything you need to know to be moving day-ready.

What’s covered in this article – click on a link to learn more:

Understanding the Moving Essentials Box

A moving day essentials box is also commonly called an “open-first box.” It’s a specially prepared box filled with vital items you’ll likely need immediately upon moving into your new home. 

Having this convenient box of treasures handy is a practical way to make your first few post-move days as smooth as possible. As Josh Haley, founder of Moving Astute points out, “It provides a sense of familiarity, convenience, and comfort during the initial days of settling into your new space. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the unpacking process, you’ll have the essential items right at your fingertips.”

This box must be easily accessible and identifiable (think large, clear labels). Ideally it should be with you during the move, not packed with all the other items in a moving truck or storage pod. If you’ve got to pack it with your other things, just make sure it’s packed last so you’ll have access to it first.

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Selecting the Right Box

Your moving essentials box isn’t just any box. Here are some tips on choosing the best option for these indispensable items:

  • Choose a box that’s sturdy yet easy to transport
  • Size matters: Make sure the box is big enough to hold everything you’ll need
  • If possible, use a box that is a different color than the others so that it easily stands out
  • Use a large, clear, concise label, like “ESSENTIALS” or “IMPORTANT”
  • Consider choosing a transparent box as they’re often sturdier, and you can quickly see what’s inside

Essential Documents and Information

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for moving day is to have all your important documents and information in one easily accessible place. What items should you have ready to go? 

  • Your passport and other ID
  • Insurance papers
  • An inventory list of items included in the move
  • Moving company contact information
  • Rental, lease or purchase agreements
  • Emergency contacts
  • Information for utility and service providers
  • School and pet records

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Basic Toiletries and Personal Care Items

What people forget to tell you about moving is just how badly you’ll need a nice hot shower at the end of the day. Pack travel-sized essentials in your moving day box rather than digging through boxes looking for hygiene items. Some must-haves include toothpaste, a toothbrush, toilet paper, soap, deodorant, a towel, a shower curtain, shampoo and conditioner.

Don’t forget to pack any necessary medication, a first-aid kit and other items specific to your unique needs, like baby supplies, pet supplies, menstrual supplies or contact lens solution. 

Change of Clothes and Bedding

After a long day of moving and unpacking, you’ll likely be more than ready for a solid night’s sleep. Be sure to include bedding for each new bed and comfortable sleepwear for each family member.

Additionally, you’ll want to pack a change (or two) of clothing. Pack for the weather and season, and don’t forget to include socks, underwear, and a light jacket or sweater. 

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Electronics and Chargers

This next tip is especially vital if you’ve got to take a flight on moving day. You’ll want to ensure you have all your essential electronics, such as laptops, phones and chargers. Having a charged phone on hand means staying on top of your flight details and any unexpected delays or cancellations.

Pack power strips or extension cords if necessary, and if you’re moving overseas, don’t forget an adapter or converter.

Kitchen and Dining Essentials

Many people prefer eating out or ordering food during those first few hectic move-in days. However, if you’d rather save a few bucks and eat at home, here are some must-haves:

  • Utensils
  • Plates and cups
  • Reusable water bottles and travel mugs
  • Basic kitchen tools
  • Some non-perishable snacks and a small cooler 
  • Tea or instant coffee
  • Clean-up supplies (dish soap, washcloth and dish towels)
  • Napkins or paper towels

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Basic Cleaning Supplies

Ideally, your new home will have been cleaned before you move in. However that may only sometimes be the case. It’s a good idea to have at least the basics: trash bags, surface cleaner or cleaning wipes, paper towels, a broom (or vacuum cleaner if necessary), gloves, a duster, and any other supplies you think you’ll need in those first few days.

Important Valuables and Sentimental Items

No matter how trustworthy your moving company is or how secure their storage pods or trucks are, there are certain items you’ll want to have on hand with you during the moving process.

Pack up your family heirlooms, valuable jewelry, and any other valuable, irreplaceable or sentimental items you own. It’s simply not worth the risk of having them lost or damaged in the move. 

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Tools and Basic Hardware

When it comes to your new home, you never know exactly what you’re getting into until you’re physically in the space. This is where a small toolkit comes in handy. 

Pack up a hammer, screwdriver, box cutter, measuring tape and other tools you think you’ll need. Perhaps an Allen wrench, level, or hardware items like nails, screws or picture hangers/hooks.

Miscellaneous Essentials

And finally, here is a list of various items you may appreciate having on hand in those early days:

  • A first-aid kit, including painkillers
  • Lightbulbs
  • Extension cords
  • Food, feeding bowls and treats for your pet
  • Baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, formula and toys
  • An eye mask

There you have it! Now, you can rest assured that you have all the first few days’ “must-haves” packed up and ready to go. Happy moving day!

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Categories Moving