How to prepare an essentials box for moving


So you’ve finally decided to make the big move! Congratulations! Now is time for the hard part – actually moving. There are plenty of factors that go into a successful move. But with some tips and tricks from industry professionals, like our friends at safeboundmoving.com, you can break your move into bite-sized chunks that aren’t so scary.

In this article, we’ll take a look at one of the easiest and most basic things you can do for yourself to make your move a bit less stressful.


What is an essentials box?

An essentials box is precisely what it sounds like. It’s everything you need for the first two or three days of your move. It’s everything from bathroom essentials, essential kitchen items like plates and forks, a few cleaning supplies, a first aid kit, and something to entertain kids if you have them.

The logic behind an essentials box is pretty straightforward. You don’t want to be rummaging through dozens of boxes looking for a plate to eat a sandwich on when you get to your new house. You don’t want to have to dig through boxes looking for toilet paper or a toothbrush. In short, an essentials box is composed of the necessities needed for a night and day in the new house before you start unpacking.

Some folks decide to pack an essentials box for each room of their home. A more popular strategy is to pack one box with necessary for daily tasks and one box for each family member moving to a new home. Make sure these boxes are separate from all the others so the movers don’t take these while they’re loading the truck. (Some moving companies are more courteous than others.) These essentials boxes serve as fail-safes in case something goes wrong with the move, like the truck breaking down en route.


When should you get this together?

You might not be ready to pack the Essentials Box just yet, but that doesn't mean you can't start preparing a list of everything you'll need. A good rule of thumb is to pack everything you'll need for at least 24 hours. 

Presumably, a grocery or convenience store is nearby, but just in case, you should have some items on hand that you can quickly make for your family, particularly for your first night. Once you get to your new house, it may be late, and you'll be tired and ready for a fast dinner and a restful night's sleep.


Below are some lists we broke down by category to get you started.


General Household Items

This package should include common household products and essentials, such as food and beverages. Although you can order takeout while on the move, you may find yourself craving something other than fast food and soda. A simple sit-down supper might help you feel at ease in your new home. Include the following:

  •  All-purpose cleaner (unopened)
  • Basic tools like screwdriver and hammer
  • Coffee maker and coffee
  • Coffee mug
  • Dish soap
  • Dishtowel and dish cloth
  • Extension cords and power strips
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Games or books (until the TV is hooked up)
  • Garbage bags
  • Important records, such as birth certificates
  • Paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Paper towels and cleaning rags
  • Pasta and jar of pasta sauce
  • Plastic cups
  • Salt, pepper, and sugar
  • Scissors or knife to open boxes
  • Shower curtain
  • Small first aid kit
  • Small pot, bowl, and utensils to prepare pasta
  • Snacks and beverages
  • Soap, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Toilet paper




Each person should have a box with their own belongings in addition to the generic box. Each box should contain the following items:

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


Some younger kids might need a few extra items. In their boxes, think about adding: 

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


 Essentials boxes can save the day, and you’ll be glad you took the time to pack them when you get to the new home. Happy moving!

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