First Day Essentials for Moving!! 32 Items You Must Pack Separate!!

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First Day Essentials for Moving!! 32 Items You Must Pack Separate!!

Have you ever moved?

And, when you finally get to your new home, you can’t seem to find anything you need?

You end up having to unpack all of the boxes, because of course the item you were looking for was in the last box you opened….

Or, sometimes you just end up buying the item again before you get to that last box.

That is why it is a must to plan to pack a few items last, and separately from all of the other boxes.

If possible, pack these items in the car with you so you can easily find them.

Or, at the very least, have them be the first boxes that you get into your new home.

These are your first day, or week, essentials, that will get you through the process of moving into your new home!!

The first time I made sure we had a ‘first day essentials’ box, was when my family moved from the east coast to the west coast of the U.S.. I also labeled all of the boxes (or, at least most of them, I’m not perfect), such a sanity saver.

The other moves we had were a bit chaotic!

Such as the one, when my younger daughter decided to be born the day we were to move into a new house. It took me most of my maternity leave to unpack, and I opted for the 12 weeks of leave!!

This time it only took about a week to unpack!! However, my husband and I moved without having jobs lined up, so neither of us had to work for the first 2 to 3 weeks after we moved…

How to Know what to Pack

The easiest way to find out what you need to pack in these box/bags is to know what you actually use on a daily basis.

If you don’t know what you truly use on a daily basis then I challenge you to find out, before you move.

By this, I mean to challenge yourself to find out what in your home you need to survive a few days, or a week, while you unpack. Be intentional and write down everything you use!

I know this can be different for you than it is for me, so this is an important step to moving and packing process.

The basics will be the same, but small details will be different. So, please, take advantage of the list I have below as a guide to what you may want to pack separate for your first couple days at your new home.

I challenged myself before my move, as well. What I discovered was amazing. It also made me think of all the stuff we had that we don’t really need and how much we could still declutter.

I love decluttering. The less stuff in the home the more easily organized it is and the less cleaning that has to be done. It also helps with clearing the mind.

Check out Learn How to Declutter (for beginners) and How to Keep a Clutter Free Home!! for more information on decluttering!!

With our cross country move, we downsized quite a bit!

We moved from a large 4 bedroom home with 2 living rooms, a huge laundry room, huge kitchen, and so much storage space it was insane! I never even went into the basement in the house, it was all storage space (and according to my husband, it was creepy).

I would spend hours a day cleaning before I drove to work each day and hated it! It was too much space for a family of 4.

Now, we live in a home with 2 bedrooms and a small kitchen. And, now I spend a few minutes here and there picking up, doing dishes, and sweeping. But, that’s about it. There just isn’t as much space to get messy!

You’ll need to spend a few days on this challenge. It’s hard to figure this out in just one day.

You’ll notice that you will need items from the kitchen so you can eat, from the bathroom for hygiene, and of course some clothes!

You may also notice you use a pad and paper or your phone and laptop everyday (I know I do!!).

Don’t forget to watch your children to figure out what they use everyday, too!

If they’re old enough to pack themselves, you may just need to remind them.

But, for myself with 2 little ones under five, I did most of the packing. And, if all of their toys were packed up in boxes mixed in with all the other boxes, we probably would not have been able to unpack as quickly as we had.

Having some of their favorite toys packed with the first day essentials boxes, kept them entertained while my husband and I unpacked!

Get the Ultimate Moving Planner!

This is the moving planner I wish I’d had years ago while moving with kids, and will be using again the next time my family moves! Be sure to check it out HERE, I love how I can easily fill it out online and print just what I want, or simply keep it updated on my phone. It’s so easy to use!

How to Pack it All…

Again, how you pack these items may be different from how I packed. I had a few different boxes and bags that were needed for our first week at our new home.

I had a regular old box for the kitchen stuff we use everyday. The coffee pot was separate in a re-usable grocery bag, along with filters and coffee, so all we needed to buy when we got there was creamer, then we’d be ready to go!

For the bathroom items, we had a bathroom bag.

For our clothes I used one duffle bag for myself and two girls and my husband packed his own clothes.

I highly recommend rolling your clothes to fit more into a smaller space when packing, not only for his bag, but all of your clothes that you’re willing to do this with! It really helps conserve space!!

If you don’t have a dufflebag and don’t want to spend money on one, a garbage bag works just as well!

Garbage bags also work well for stuffed animals. This comes in handy when your children have a ton of stuffed animals like mine do. We easily filled about 4 garbage bags with stuffed animals and they still had a few out that drove with us.

If you have a long drive ahead of you before you get to your new home, like I did, then you’ll need to pack for the trip and for the first few days, or week, at your new home.

Some of these items may be on both of your lists, and that’s alright. It may be even easier that way.

For example, I kept my phone and charger, deodorant, hairbrush, and a few other items in my purse. This way I always knew where these important items were. I also kept a few diapers and wipes in my purse, along with mine and my older daughters chapstick.

If you want to know what to pack for the trip over I have a list for that here.

Don’t Forget…

Don’t pack the box cutter!!

This is one thing most people don’t even think about!!

You need to have easy access to a box cutter when you get to your new home, it makes unpacking wayy easier!! You spent all that time, and tape, packing up your belongings to make sure they stay safe on your way to your new home; you’ll need a way to get to your belongings once you get there.

A few things you may consider for your ‘first day essentials’ box, other than a box cutter, should be garbage bags, a flashlight, some cleaning supplies, and an air mattress/pump (just in case you don’t have a chance to set up you bed the first night)!!

The air mattress idea is certainly important, even if you believe you’ll have time to set up your bed.

My family drove four days to get to our new home, we were supposed to get there in the afternoon but didn’t reach our home til about 7pm. (We were stuck at the top of a mountain for four hours because of an accident at the bottom). The air mattress was a life saver, no sleeping on the floor for us!

Other important items to consider packing for easy access, for both the trip and the first few days, would be food and water. The essentials to life!

This one may even be more important than the air mattress!! How do you expect to unpack on an empty stomach?! Make sure to pack plenty of water and easy to grab snacks, for you and your kids.

Nothing is worse than wanting to finish unpacking but having to stop to make food with pots and pans you haven’t found yet, or stopping to go out to eat! And it’s not like you can just skip eating. You need to stay hydrated and keep up your energy!!

First Day Essentials for Moving List


  • Enough dishes/silverware for each person
  • Cups for each person (or favorite sippy cup)
  • A few kitchen towels (or paper towels/napkins)
  • Dishsoap

Unpacking Supplies:

  • Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Tools to put your belongings together again (think bed and TV stand/bookcases)
  • Garbage bags
  • Flashlight
  • Air mattress and pump (just in case)
  • Quick Cleaning supplies (clorox wipes)


  • Shower curtain and rings
  • Loofahs, or wash clothes
  • Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner
  • Towels
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss
  • Diapers/ extra wipes (if you have a child in diapers)
  • Toilet Paper
  • Hand Soap

Items that you had with you on the drive:

  • Phones
  • Chargers
  • Water
  • Food/snacks
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Travel Mugs (for COFFEE)


  • Clean sheets (If you plan on setting up the bed the first night)
  • Pillows
  • Enough clothes for a week
  • Laptop (to research new area/inspiration on setting up new home)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Entertainment for kids

If you haven’t even considered planning ahead in this way and packing a first day essentials box/ bags, I hope you have changed your mind by now.

Or, maybe you’re just moving down the street and don’t expect to be needing this. Either way, there will still be some items that you will want separate from the rest. Take this list into consideration when moving; omit what you know you won’t need and add in your own personal touch if need be!

Don’t forget to share in the comments what you would pack for your first few nights at your new home.

First Day Essentials for Moving

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