What to Pack in a Moving Essentials Box

What to Pack in a Moving Essentials Box

If the New Year means a change of residence for you, we are here to help! Whether you’re moving just a building over or you’re embarking on a long distance moving adventure, our team has the experience to get you where you’re going. As you start wrapping and boxing your belongings, you might want to consider some of our helpful moving tips to keep everything organized. One of our tips recommends packing an “essentials”, or first night box. Here we will break down what should be included in any essentials box:

Why Should I Pack an Essentials Box?

A first-night box has all the essentials to survive the first night, or even week, in your new home.  Essentials boxes come in handy, especially for a long distance move, during which you could be separated from the bulk of your belongings for an extended time period. While everything else gets loaded onto the moving truck and hauled away, your box of essentials should stay with you for the duration of the move. Even if you’re moving in-town, you might want to consider packing a first-night box. At the end of a long day of moving and cleaning out your old apartment, the last thing you’ll probably feel like doing is digging through all your boxes to find what you’re looking for.

What Should I Include in My First Night Box?

Your first night should include all those things you just can’t live without for the first few days in your new home. This could include items from the following categories:

1. Toiletries and Bathroom Items

Nothing is worse than moving into a new home, only to find there isn’t a square of spare toilet paper to be found. To prevent a bathroom emergency, make sure you pack a roll or two of toilet paper, plus other bathroom essentials, including:

  • Toilet paper
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Face wash
  • Lotion
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Shower curtain
  • Medicine
  • Cosmetics
Make sure to pack your make-up and other essential toiletries.

Make sure to pack your make-up and other essential toiletries.

2. Bedding and Linens

If you’re just moving locally, the movers will help you get your bed reassembled at your new place. However, if you’re moving across the country, your bed may not arrive for two or three weeks after your move. If this is the case, you might want to consider packing a blow-up mattress and minimal bedding for the whole family. Planning ahead could prevent many expensive nights at a hotel. Here’s what you might want to consider bringing with you:

  • Blow-up/Inflatable Mattress
  • Sheets
  • Extra blankets
  • Pillows

3. Chargers and Electronics

In today’s world, it’s almost impossible to get by without technology. Make sure you have everything you need to stay connected, while you wait to unpack:

  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Laptops/tablets and chargers
  • Portable alarm clock
  • Batteries

4. Shoes, Clothing, and Outerwear

Make sure you pack a bag that includes all the clothes you’ll need for your first few days or weeks. If you’re immediately starting a new job, you’ll need to think through your professional wardrobe as well as your clothing for hanging out at home. Also, if you’re moving to an unfamiliar state, make sure to check the weather forecast so you bring enough layers! Here are some essentials you’ll need for every member of your household:

  • Shoes
  • Undergarments
  • Socks
  • Business attire
  • Pants/Shorts
  • Shirts/T-shirts/Sweaters
  • Jackets and coats for cold weather climates
Make sure to bring a few towels so you can wash up after a long day of moving.

Make sure to bring a few towels so you can wash up after a long day of moving.

5. Kitchen Items

Eating out can really add up, so if you’re trying to save money on your move, planning to cook some basic meals in your new home could really help cut costs. We recommend bringing:

  • Very basic cookware (pot/pan)
  • Water and other beverages
  • Snacks
  • Disposable plates, utensils, and cups
  • Easy-prep meals (think oatmeal or mac ‘n cheese)

6. Cleaning Supplies

Even if you’re moving into a brand-new place, it’s nice to give things a little scrub down just for some piece of mind. Bring a few cleaning essentials such as:

  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Glass cleaner
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Dish soap and cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags

7. Don’t Forget Fido!

While you’re busy packing for all the humans in your family, don’t forget about packing for your pets. There are some basic things that will keep them happy and healthy in the new home until the bulk of your household items are delivered:

  • Bedding
  • Crate (for transport)
  • Food and treats
  • Water and food bowls
  • Leash
  • Select toys
Don't forget toys, food, and bedding for your canine companions.

Don’t forget toys, food, and bedding for your canine companions.

8. Other Random Items

There are a few other random items that might be helpful to have around as you’re getting settled in:

  • Small toolkit with all the basics
  • Scissors
  • Pen and paper
  • Flashlights


Moving is hard, but by packing a box full of your essential items, surviving the first few days in your home will be much easier and more comfortable.