Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, packing the necessities you’ll need immediately, on the first night, in your new home will eliminate lots of frustration for you and your family.
Be sure the box or suitcase is clearly marked and easily accessible. No one wants to dig for diapers or toilet tissue. Make a list and check off each item as you pack so that you won’t miss any vital items.
Below we’ve curated a list of must-have items you’re sure to need on the first night in your new home.
Your first night box or bag should include a complete set of clothing (including socks, shoes, and underwear for each person in the family). For babies and toddlers, be sure to pack more than one change of clothes because life is messy, and so are toddlers. Also, add pajamas for everyone.
Medications & RX Needs
Get those prescriptions filled. Also, doublecheck to ensure everyone’s medications and necessary medical equipment – like inhalers or glucometers – are packed in your first night box.
First Aid Kit
Be sure to include antibacterial ointment for the occasional scraped knee, pain-relieving ointment for unexpected encounters with bugs or flying insects, and of course, lots of band aids for all sorts of minor injuries.
Include toiletries, hand soap, body wash, and a small bottle of laundry detergent in your first night box. It sounds like we’re going to need multiple bags and boxes, doesn’t it?
Tip: pack bottles of liquids in a separate waterproof container. A small plastic tub works well for this, so you don’t have shampoo or detergent spilled all over your clothes or bedding.
Can’t-Live-Without Paper Goods and More
Paper towels and toilet tissue for each bathroom in your new place should be available as soon as you settle in on the first night. After all, how can you survive without those items? To avoid emergency trips to the store, be sure to pack all the rolls you’ll need.
And trash bags–don’t forget the trash bags. Moving can generate a lot of stuff that needs to be thrown away. Immediately bagging it as you unpack will make you feel more organized and your living space will appear clean and clutter-free.
Chargers, Cords, & Batteries
Connectivity essentials are a must for all devices each person in your household depends upon to stay in touch with the outside world. Be sure you’ve got a power cord for your laptop and computer just in case.
What’s for Dinner?
There’s no need to worry about food for the first night in your new home. You’ve worked hard getting this move organized, so be kind to yourself and order takeout or delivery. It’s easier for you and more fun for everyone to explore the food and restaurants near your new digs.
If possible, give everyone a choice, even ordering from more than one place. Who says you can’t have Mexican fare with your Thai favorites or hamburgers and pizza? Just make sure it’s a fun experience that creates a good memory for your new home adventure.
No doubt, someone will be hungry before dinner. So you may want to add some munchies to your first night box to tide them over until then.
Provide for Good Hydration
Don’t pack juices, soda and bottles of water in boxes that will go into the moving van. Instead, carry these beverages with you to make sure each family member stays happy, healthy, and well-hydrated.
Remember the morning follows closely on the heels of the first night in your new home. And after a long day of unpacking, you will discover that morning comes way too soon! Unless you’ve already discovered that gourmet bakery down the street that offers curbside pick-up or delivery, you’ll want to have everything you need to make that special first breakfast at your fingertips.
Necessary items for breakfast might include the coffeemaker, toaster, or can opener, cooking utensils like spatulas and spoons, as well as pots and pans and disposable plates, bowls, and cutlery.
For some of us, breakfast essentials include access to our favorite sources of news. If your family includes someone who believes a move-in ready home is complete only if the Wi-Fi is fully functioning, then you’ll be able to check the news sources you depend upon every single day. However, in your new home, you’ll want to check out local television news and online newspapers. This will give you a feel for your new community as you enjoy breakfast on that first morning.
Plan for Pets
Another good way to learn about the neighborhood is to take your dog for a walk. Just be sure you’ve packed the leash and harness so you can obey the local leash requirements and poop-bags so you can show off your excellent neighbor skills by picking up after your canine companion.
Any move can be traumatic for furry friends, but they’ll adjust more quickly if you pack their familiar items like food and water bowls, beds, and throws, as well as litter and litter boxes for felines. Having their usual litter box available from the first moments in their new home will help establish good hygiene habits and help avoid accidents in an unfamiliar environment.
Since a change in diet can negatively affect the digestive system, moving week is not the ideal time to introduce new and different food into your pet’s diet.
Bedding & Towels
Given how bulky bedding can be, this might warrant a box of its own. If your family is into sleeping bags, you might opt for those instead of sheets. This way, kids can camp out on their beds with lightweight indoor decor style sleeping bags, not cold weather camping sleeping bags. Each family is different, so pack bedding that suits yours. No hard and fast rules here.
This could be anything from a favorite blanket or stuffed toy for your toddlers to your air purifier or the device you depend on for those soothing sleep sounds. We all have those small things that bring us comfort and serenity. Make sure they are packed and easily accessible, so they’ll be easy to find when family members need them most during those first hours in your new home.
As you prepare the contents of your first night boxes, you’ll likely add several more items to our basic checklist. Our goal was to get you started. With a lot of planning and thinking ahead, we know you’ll be happy with your successful move. Kudos to a job well done.
Joanna Dorman is a freelance writer with over 16 years of experience creating interior design, home building, home improvement, and real estate content. Additionally, she has 15 years of field experience in the interior design industry and trained in interior design at the Art Institute of Houston.