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Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or moving into your fifth house, one thing’s for sure: moving can be an exhausting endeavour. Excitement for your new life ahead can quickly give way to stress and exasperation as your to-do list forever grows. If there’s one thing you can do to prepare for your move and ease your transition, it’s to prepare a box of moving essentials.
Also known as open-first boxes, these essentials boxes contain all the crucial items you’re going to need immediately after crossing the threshold of your brand new home. It’s the first thing to be opened and is the key to an easy and successful move.
PRO TIP: Label your essentials box clearly and keep it away from your other moving boxes so it doesn’t accidentally make its way on the moving truck!
Now, if the idea of distilling down all your worldly possessions into a few boxes feels overwhelming, don’t fret, it can be done! This moving checklist will help you decide what can be packed for the moving truck and what should make its way over in your first carload.
Here are 15 items you should absolutely have ready for the first days in your new home:
Basic portable toolkit
You never know when you’ll need a hammer or a pair of pliers! You’d be surprised just how much you can get done with a screwdriver (preferably one with multiple bits), knife, wrench, tape measure, work gloves, drill, duct tape, and scissors.
Wallet and purse
Make sure you keep all your important cards and paperwork with you, including driver’s license, passports, birth certificates, professional certificates, credit cards, cheque books, medical records, school records, and any paperwork needed for moving such as leases, contracts, proof of purchases, etc.
Basic first-aid kit
Accidents happen so be prepared for nicks and scrapes with bandages and bandage wraps, instant ice/heat packs, gauze, antiseptic wipes, gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and tweezers.
Electronics and chargers
Don’t get stuck with dead devices: pack all the necessary cables and chargers for your phone, laptop, and tablet.
Change of clothes
This includes pajamas and underwear, but you’ll also want to make sure you have something to change into if you get sweaty or dirty throughout the day. A clean set of clothes can do wonders for your mood.
Toiletries, medication, and personal care items
Moving sure can work up a sweat! Pack soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, bath towels, and washcloths for cleaning up after a hard day’s work. Don’t forget about any medications you might take daily and other personal care items such as cosmetics, hair products, hairbrushes, glasses, and contact lenses.
Moving into a strange, new house can be a lot for kids. Ease their transition by ensuring their beloved items travel along with them, including favourite books, stuffies, lovies, and blankies. Important baby items, such as changing station supplies (diapers, creams, wipes, etc) should also be included.
Paper towels, tissues, and at least one toilet paper roll for every bathroom!
You never know what you’ll walk into when you unlock your front door. Be sure to pack cleaning supplies to tackle messes, including rags, antibacterial wipes, sponges, glass and multi-surface cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, trash bags, a bucket, broom, mop, dish soap, and baking soda for the fridge.
Make sure Fido has adequate food, water, treats, chew toys, bedding, leashes, and collars, grooming items, clean-up bags, and an appropriate pet carrier.
If your new home is not furnished or you don’t have the time to set up your bed, an air mattress, folding bed or portable bed will ensure a restful night’s sleep. Don’t forget sheets, pillows, blankets, or sleeping bags.
Select small appliances
You’d be surprised how many simple meals can be made with just a coffee maker, kettle, toaster oven, pot, frying pan, and blender. Utensils like a spatula, wooden spoon, and a can/bottle opener can also come in handy.
Plates, utensils, and cups
You want to make sure you have something to eat off of so the whole family isn’t hovered over the sink to avoid getting crumbs everywhere. Consider using environmentally friendly or compostable eating utensils.
Easy-to-make meals, snacks, and beverages
Pack food that requires little-to-no preparation like cereal and milk, instant oatmeal, bread and peanut butter, canned soup, fruit, nuts, granola bars, pasta and sauce, or canned/pouched tuna, salmon, and chicken. Gatorade, bottled water, juice, and sparkling beverages can quench thirst, while a glass of wine at the end of a long day can feel like a major reward.
Don’t take any chances with fancy artwork, high-priced jewelry, treasured family heirlooms, irreplaceable collectibles, and expensive electronics—it should all travel with you.
Honourable mentions: Other nice to haves
Of course, everyone will have their own idea of what they consider essential, but here are a few more items worth mentioning:
- shower curtains;
- spare light bulbs;
- extension cords;
- a lamp or two (some rooms don’t have overhead lighting);;
- temporary paper blinds (great if you are in a condo or apartment with large windows or a street busy with foot traffic);
- air pump for mattress.
There are no right or wrong items to include in your essentials boxes—it all depends on your needs and preferences—but using this list as a starting point will allow you to transition into your new home with comfort and ease, with everything you might need at your fingertips! Happy packing!