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How to Pack Your First Night Essentials for Your Move

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After a long and exhausting moving day, the last thing you'll want to do is unpack your boxes in your new home. Packing an essentials kit for your first night puts everything you'll need right away in one easy-to-access container for a stress-free arrival. Read on to find out how to pack your essentials box and what you should include.

Moving long distance?

If you are moving out of state or over 100 miles away, it may take between several days to two weeks to receive your belongings. For long-distance moves, your first night essentials kit should be packed in your vehicle if you are driving. If you are flying to your new home, these items should be packed in your luggage so you will have them as soon as you arrive.

Use a stand-out container

Even if you are transporting your first-night kit yourself, you may have some other boxes in your car as well that you didn't want on the moving truck (important documents, valuables, etc.) To easily discern your essentials box from the others, make it unique by using brightly-colored tape or packing your items in a clear plastic bin. This will enable you to see the contents of your container and quickly pick it out from the bunch.

Make sure the container is large enough for your family and your specific needs. You may require two boxes (or a box and a tote bag) to fit everything you will need your first night.

What to pack:

The contents of your essentials kit will vary depending on the distance if your move and the members of your family. However, some items to certainly consider including are:

  • Clothes. Pajamas and a fresh change of clothes for the following day for each member of your family should be included. If you are moving long distance and will be waiting days or weeks for your delivery, you can pack additional clothes in other boxes to transport in your car and unpack later (or have shipped to yourself via parcel service if flying).
  • Toiletries. Make sure you have all the staples to last you several days (until you receive your shipment or can make it to the store). Shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and deodorant are all must-haves.
  • Shower curtain. One of the first things you'll want to do after an exhausting moving day is take a shower. If you'd like to avoid a flooded bathroom floor, folding up a shower curtain and stashing it in your container is helpful.
  • Towels. Pack one or two towels to dry off after your first showers in your new home.
  • Toilet paper. An obvious necessity, but often overlooked. Avoid an emergency trip to the convenience store immediately upon moving in by sticking a roll of toilet tissue in your essentials box.
  • Snacks. Stow some non-perishable snacks like granola bars, crackers, or nuts to munch on.
  • Medications. You don't want to have to rip through various containers when you arrive in search of important medicines. Keep all prescription medications in your essential box, as well over-the-counter pain medication and first-aid items in case of mishap.
  • Toys. If you are moving with children, one or two favorite toys to keep them occupied and comforted is a good idea. They can also keep these items with them in your car to stay entertained and save space in your container.
  • Cleaning wipes. A package of anti-bacterial wipes are useful to quickly disinfect surfaces in your new home and keep your hands clean without liquid soap.
  • Entertainment. If your television and internet won't be connected your first night in your new home, how will keep busy? Pack a book, deck of cards, your mp3 player with headphones (and charger) or your laptop or iPad (and chargers). You can play games or watch movies you've already downloaded even without internet.
  • Cell phone charger. If you arrive at your new home with a dead cell phone, you will be up all night ripping open boxes to find your charger. Save yourself the time and pack it with your other essentials.
  • Paper plates and napkins. Don't want to unpack the dishes your first night? A small stack of paper plates and napkins will solve that problem. A small plastic bag for garbage is helpful as well.
  • Pet food. A zip-lock bag of dry food or several cans of wet food for your dog or cat will suffice for several days. You may want to consider their food dishes as well (if you opt to put the pet food on a paper plate, make sure you have a dish available for water).
  • Nightlight. If you have small children-or even if you don't, a nightlight can be comforting in the dark unfamiliarity of a brand new house. Plug it in your child's room to provide a reassuring glow, or in the bathroom to illuminate your unaccustomed path in the middle of the night.
  • Blanket and air mattress. If your belongings will not be arriving your first night, you will have no bed to curl up in your first night home. As exhausted as you will undoubtedly be, you will want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Packing an air mattress and pump will save you the misery of sleeping on a cold hard floor-consider a small, light quilt or blanket to keep you warm as well.
  • Take out menus. Think ahead-search for local eateries near your new home that deliver and print out their take-out menus. If you have no internet access in your new home (or depleting cell phone batteries), you can easily view your options and order your dinner to be delivered hot to your door.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on June 4, 2014

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