Essentials Box

What to pack for the first night
JW
Josh Wright
Written 1 month ago
The last thing you need after a long day of moving is to be frantically digging through boxes to find essential items.

There are two common approaches to an essentials box. You can create an essentials box for each member of the family, including pets, to avoid overlooking any important personal items. Or you can create an essentials box for each room of the house. Regardless, you will want items to have a meal or two, have a shower, and get a good nights rest. Some entertainment options, basic tools, and some cleaning supplies can also be helpful.



Essentials boxes for the family

Creating an essentials box for each member of the family ensures that personal items don’t get overlooked in the moving process and can be easily accessed when needed. In addition to essentials boxes for family members and pets, you’ll want to designate a general box for other necessities like toilet paper and all-purpose cleaner.

Make sure to clearly mark each box with its owner’s name, and bring the boxes with you. Don’t load them onto the moving truck. If the truck is delayed, you won’t have your necessities, and that defeats the whole purpose of your essentials boxes

Start by creating a plan. As far in advance from your move just start jotting down some items you think you will need. Don't seal your essentials box until you are ready to leave to add any last minute additions. Hear is a list of some items we think you may need;

General

This box should contain shared household items and necessities, including food and drinks. Although you can order out while moving, you may get to a point where you want something other than fast food and soda. A simple, sit down meal can make your new house feel like home. Consider including:

  • All-purpose cleaner (unopened)
  • Paper towels and cleaning rags
  • Dish soap
  • Dish towel and dish cloth
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Scissors or knife to open boxes
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Extension cords and power strips
  • Basic tools like screw driver and hammer
  • Small first aid kit
  • Coffee maker and coffee
  • Coffee mug
  • Salt, pepper and sugar
  • Pasta and jar of pasta sauce
  • Small pot, bowl and utensils to prepare pasta
  • Snacks and beverages
  • Paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Plastic cups
  • Shower curtain
  • Soap, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner
  • Important records, such as birth certificates, that you don’t want to lose
  • Games or books for entertainment (until the TV is hooked up)

Personal

In addition to the general box, each person should have a box containing their personal items. Each box should include:

  • Prescription medications (in an easily accessible place)
  • Specialized medical items, such as a CPAP
  • Glasses or contact lens and lens solution
  • Several changes of clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Bedding
  • Towel
  • Toothbrush
  • Hair brush
  • Cosmetics and personal hygiene items
  • Personal devices including laptops, phones, tablets and chargers

Kids

Depending on your child’s age and needs, he may require extra items in his essentials box. Consider adding:

  • Diapers
  • Formula, bottles or baby food
  • Age-appropriate snacks and beverages
  • Extra clothes
  • Favorite boos, toys, games and craft supplies
  • Night light

Pets

Your furry friends need at least one shared box containing their items.

  • Pet food
  • Food and water bowls
  • Pet carrier
  • Leash
  • Treats and chews
  • Bedding
  • Clean-up bags
  • Favorite toys

Essentials boxes for important rooms

Packing essentials boxes for the most commonly used rooms is another effective approach. You’ll end up packing many of the same items; you’ll just pack them in the box for the room they’re associated with. For example, your son’s personal items would be included in his bedroom’s essentials box.

General

This box focuses on the items you’ll need to unpack, set up and tidy as you move. Items to pack include:

  • All-purpose cleaner (unopened)
  • Paper towels and cleaning rags
  • Garbage bags
  • Scissors or knife to open boxes
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Extension cords and power strips
  • Basic tools like screw driver and hammer
  • Small first aid kit
  • Radio (in case you can’t immediately stream music)
  • Games or books for entertainment (until the TV is hooked up)

Kitchen

Even if you plan on going out or getting fast food for your meals the first few days, it’s nice to have a few items on hand in case you change your mind.

  • Dish soap
  • Dish towel and dish cloth
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee maker and coffee
  • Coffee mug
  • Salt, pepper and sugar
  • Pasta and jar of pasta sauce
  • Small pot, bowl and utensils to prepare pasta
  • Snacks and beverages
  • Paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Plastic cups
  • Age-appropriate snacks for younger children

If you want to minimize fast food, consider adding a toaster, toaster oven, skillet, can opener and cooking utensils to your kitchen essentials box. Basic food items like bread, canned goods and unopened peanut butter and jelly can help add variety for those first few days.

Bedrooms

For each bedroom, pack what is needed for the first few nights plus the essentials for the person who occupies it.

  • Bedding
  • Curtains
  • Prescription medications (in an easily accessible place)
  • Specialized medical items, such as a CPAP
  • Several changes of clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Personal devices including laptops, phones, tablets and chargers

Bathroom

You don’t need an essentials box for every bathroom in the new house, but you will want some basics in at least one bathroom when you first move in. You’ll want to pack:

  • Toilet paper
  • Shower curtain
  • Soap, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner
  • Towels for each family member
  • Toothbrush
  • Hair brush (and maybe a hair dryer)
  • Cosmetics and personal hygiene items
  • Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner
  • Glasses or contact lens and lens solution

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