Between wading through rooms stacked with moving boxes and deep cleaning every corner and crevice of the home, the days leading up to moving day can be chaotic. While you may be frantically packing books, clothes, and knick-knacks, it’s worth thinking strategically about what to pack last in case you need something that ends up lost in a sea of boxes.
The order in which you pack can make or break your moving experience. Set aside a few boxes for the things you’ll need to keep at hand in the lead-up to moving day, from kitchen utensils and cleaning materials to wrenches and tools for dissembling furniture. Then factor in all the things you use in your family’s day-to-day lives, from toiletries and medicine to clothes for the workweek and toys for your little ones.
To help you make sure you don’t miss anything important, here’s a list of what to pack last on moving day:
Electronics and Charging Cables
These days, we’re all connected to a handful of devices – smartphones, laptops, iPads, fitness trackers, TV screens, and more. While your worldly possessions may be boxed up, you may want to keep these electronics at your fingertips. They will entertain the kids or help you unwind after a busy day of packing.
Don’t forget about charging cables, too. There’s nothing worse than opening perfectly packed boxes to hunt for a charging cable. You’ll especially need your laptop and phone fully charged on moving day.
- Devices your family uses daily: smartphones, laptops and desktops, iPads, TV, gaming consoles, fitness trackers, etc.
- Chargers, charging cables, and batteries
- Power bank
With packing nearing finished, you will want to tackle deep cleaning. Keep your cleaning equipment and supplies nearby on moving day, including:
- Vacuum, mop and bucket, broom and dustpan, feather duster, paper towels, toilet brush and microfiber cloths.
- Gloves, bleach, disinfectants, surface cleaners, furniture polisher, oven cleaner and glass cleaner.
Before you pull out of the driveway, give your home a final walkthrough. You may discover some last-minute tidying up, from the puddle by the freezer that’s defrosting or muddy shoe tracks from the movers in the foyer.
Once you’re happy with the condition of the home, throw all your cleaning supplies into boxes and go!
At some point on moving day, you are going to need a hammer, wrench, or screwdriver to take apart furniture or knock a nail back into place on a bookshelf. And you should always have easy access to a few pairs of scissors, a box cutter, and packing tape!
- Hammer and nails, screwdriver, wrench, or a small toolbox
- Flashlight and batteries
- Scissors, pocketknife or boxcutter
- Duct tape and packing tape
- Tape measure
Food and Kitchen Utensils
Earmark an empty box or two for your essential kitchen tools until it’s time to leave. This way, you can pack 99 percent of your kitchen, setting aside only what you need to whip together simple meals, pack and reheat leftovers, or make a week of ordering in still feel like a home cooking:
- Cutlery for each family member, with glasses, plates, and bowls
- A few pots and pans
- Cooking utensils (can opener, bottle opener, spatula, wooden spoon, strainer)
- Olive oil, salt and pepper and your favorite seasonings
- Reusable water bottles so you can stay hydrated on moving day
- A few plastic containers, aluminium foil, and plastic wrap
- Kettle and coffee maker
If Fido is staying with you right up until moving day, don’t pack his food, doggie bowl, water bowl, or snacks.
The moving contract, your new home insurance policy, closing cost disclosure forms, documents, and receipts – you’ll have a mountain of paperwork you will want to keep handy on moving day.
Keep these documents in a file folder in the car or in a backpack – if you’re catching a flight to your new home.
Don’t forget your wallet, passport, driver’s license, and debit and credit cards. It’s a good idea to keep a hard copy of directions to your new address, too.
Allocate a suitcase for each member of your family, so everyone has a week’s worth of clothes and undergarments.
On moving day you can throw these items into suitcases for easy cleanup. Set aside comfortable clothes for moving day, like yoga pants, an old T-shirt, and sneakers.
Another pro tip: if you’re driving a long distance or catching a flight, keep a clean outfit to change into after loading the moving van. You can shower quickly and feel fresh in a new set of clothes.
- Small suitcases
- Clothes, undergarments, socks, and shoes to get you through the next week
- A comfy outfit for moving day
- A clean outfit set aside specifically to change into post-moving
Toiletries and Medicine
Keep a bare-bones inventory of toiletries and medicine in your bathroom so your family can stay on top of their personal hygiene and health. This will allow everyone to freshen up on moving day morning. This includes:
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, razors, and moisturizers
- Hand soap and anti-bacterial gel
- Prescription medicine
- Tylenol, Advil, and Aspirin
- A First-Aid kit
- Cosmetics and other personal care items
This indispensable toiletries box or travel bag may be the first you unpack when you reach your new home.
Reserve another box or two to pack away the linens before you disassemble your bed.
You’ll also need to set aside:
- Bedsheets, pillows, pillowcases, and blankets for each family member
- Towels and wash cloths
Moving is stressful for adults and it is also unsettling for your little ones. Try to make the process easier on them by keeping their favorite toys and special items around the house until the moving van arrives.
Give your kids a small box and let them choose the important things they’d like to keep on hand, from stuffed animals to puzzles and books. Take a quick inventory, too. Before moving, triple-check that you aren’t leaving behind your child’s most prized possession!
- Favorite toys
- Portable or electronic games
- Sippy cups, baby bottles, nursery blankets
Carmen Chai is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. For NewHomeSource, Carmen covers a variety of topics, including insurance, mortgages, and more.