One of the most annoying things about moving into a new home is being unable to find anything because everything is in boxes: your shoes, your kitchen pots, your toothbrushes. They are all in boxes.

Sure, labeling the boxes with the room they are supposed to go in can be helpful. It’s even more helpful if you’ve taken the time to write down what’s in the box. But, that might not be enough when those boxes are stacked three high and four deep in every room. This is why you need an essentials box or boxes that are clearly labeled “Open First.”

Some people find it easier to pack an essentials box for each room, while others prefer to have one box for items the whole family will use and then smaller boxes for each individual family member. Whatever method you choose for packing, what goes into these boxes will look different for everyone. However, to help you get started here are a few things you should consider putting inside it.


  1. Toilet paper
  2. Hand soap
  3. Toiletries
  4. Towels
  5. A shower curtain if you are opposed to baths


Father and son washing vegetables

  1. Dish soap
  2. Dishrag and drying towel
  3. Easy-to-prepare lunch, breakfast, snack, and dinner foods
  4. The pans and cooking utensils needed to prepare those meals
  5. Something to drink
  6. Enough plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery for each person to have their own. If you have them, camping dishes work great for your essentials box.
  7. Garbage bags


  1. Sleeping bag or bedding
  2. An air mattress
  3. A change of clothes. Don’t forget to think about what you will be doing after you arrive in your new home. For example, you’ll want something comfortable to wear while you unpack, but if you also have a business meeting to attend you’ll want to bring something suitable to wear to that as well.
  4. Slippers


Mom and son playing with cat

  1. Pet food and dishes, plus a few toys to make them feel at home
  2. A knife or pair of scissors to open all of the other boxes. Although this might be more helpful if it’s in a bag.
  3. First aid kit and flashlight
  4. Hammer, drill, and screwdriver so you can start reassembling furniture and attaching bookshelves to the wall
  5. Important documents like your birth certificate, passports, and medical records
  6. Medicines
  7. Stuff to do if your truck is delayed, like books to read or an iPad to watch movies on
  8. Phones and chargers

If you are moving across town this probably seems like a lot of things to bring in your own vehicle. In fact, you can probably get away with clearly labeling them “open first” and shoving them on the moving truck. However, if you are moving to a new city, you might be too tired to try and find the closest convenience store before supper, and if the moving trunk is delayed you might not want to sleep on your floor. In that case, it’s a good idea to pack enough things to help you get through the first 24 hours.

But the only person who really knows what you and your family are comfortable dealing with is you, so look at your own situation and decide what you can and can’t live with before packing your essentials box. That way you’ll know you have everything you need.

If you are ready for your move, contact us for a quote today. We’re happy to help you move into your new place.