Moving is a huge stressor in many lives, but there are things you can do to help make the move easier. An essentials box can help keep you organized. An essentials box is sometimes called an open-first box or first night box. It should be the box you pack last and the box you open first. It should contain necessary items for the first day or two of moving into your new home. It is your first-night survival kit.

1. Pack Basic Cleaning & Household Supplies

Some basic items to pack are cleaning supplies. You may want to wipe down or dust some surfaces before placing things down. It is also a good idea to bring light bulbs, batteries, and tools in case anything needs fixing up. And of course, you’ll need food to fuel up. Here is a list of items to pack in your essentials box:

  • Toilet paper
  • Soap and sponge
  • Dish towels and hand towels
  • Portable tool kit
  • First aid kit
  • All purpose cleaner or Clorox wipes
  • Broom, dustpan, vacuum
  • Snacks (granola bars, crackers, fruit)
  • Plates, cups, spoons, forks, and knives (either plastic or silverware)
  • Pots and pans
  • Pasta and pasta sauce (or something similar for an easy first-night dinner)
  • Water bottles
  • Coffee maker and coffee grounds
  • Kitchen knife
  • Pet food, dishes, and leashes
  • Scissors
  • Garbage bags
  • Spare batteries
  • Shower curtain (with liner and curtain hooks)
  • Bath Rug
  • Toilet seat
  • Paper towels
  • Flashlight
  • Sunscreen
  • Phonebook/ address book
  • Pen and notepad
  • Duct tape
  • Air freshener
  • Light bulbs
  • Plastic baggies
  • Radio or MP3 player

2. Pack a Box for Each Family Member

If you are moving in with other family members, you should consider packing an essentials box for the whole family and packing an essentials box for each member. This way, everyone will have easy access to their necessary items. Here are some items for an individual box per this moving company Washington DC:

  • Clothes (a change for the following day)
  • Pajamas
  • Toiletries (shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothbrush)
  • Phone chargers
  • Medicines
  • Personal documents (IDs, birth certificates)
  • Sheets and pillows
  • Books or toys to keep kids entertained

3. Start a List for Your Box

It is important to make a list before you pack. Even if you cannot start packing your essentials box right away, it is never too early to start thinking about what needs to go in it. Whether it is a phone app or good old pen and paper, making a list and checking twice will keep you organized.

4. Don’t Put Your Box on the Moving Truck

Put your essentials box or boxes in an easy to reach place while moving, like the passenger seat of a car or on top of other boxes. It should travel with you. Make sure to label it, so it is even easier to find clearly. It should be the last box packed to help make your move easy and efficient.


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