Must-Have Items to Pack in Your Essentials Box

In your hurry to meet your moving day deadline, you may become a little lax with your organization. You might stuff odds and ends into miscellaneous boxes rather than carefully sorting everything by room. Perhaps you tell your kids to cram their plush animals in with their snow gear. Or maybe you stop making a donation pile and take all unwanted items to an already overflowing dumpster.

While some of these shortcuts are forgivable during a move, don’t let your speed and hurry make the last leg of your journey uncomfortable. As you pack, remember to organize an “open first” or “essentials” box or two for your family. When you can easily access the following items, you won’t have to worry about desperately searching your boxes for important belongings.

For Your Bedroom

Unless you plan to sleep in a hotel for the next few nights, make sure to hold onto these basic bedroom essentials rather than combining them with your other bedroom-related boxes:

  • Several changes of clothing and underwear
  • Bed linens (sheets, pillows, pillow cases, and blankets)
  • Phone chargers and batteries
  • Small electronic devices (laptop, tablet, and phone)
  • Medication

If you don’t think your bigger furniture will arrive at the same time as your family, consider bringing along a few cots or air mattresses for everyone to sleep comfortably.

For Your Bathroom

Bathroom supplies are a must-have for every move. Although you can pick up many of these toiletries for an affordable price at your local gas station or grocery store, you’ll save time and money if you keep the following in your essentials box:

  • Hand soap and towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Shower gel or bar soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Larger bath towels
  • Hair dryer and hairbrush
  • Shower curtain
  • Deodorant
  • Lotions
  • Shaving cream and razor
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

Do you plan to move into an older home? You’ll want to carefully clean any bathroom surface before your family uses it. Bring along rags, disinfectant sprays, and dish soap as well.

For Your Children

At the end of a long day of packing, loading, driving, and unpacking, you and your partner may feel ready to curl up and sleep as soon as you can. Your children, however, may feel antsy or worried in their new environment. These items can help keep them calm and content:

  • Books
  • Favorite toys
  • Portable games
  • Drawing materials (paper, pencils, crayons, and markers)

If you have a baby, make sure to keep your diaper bag well stocked with the basics, too: diapers, bottle, wipes, sanitizer, pacifiers, and clothing.

For Emergencies

Emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere. Your car could break down on the way to your new home, or your child may slip and fall while exploring the new backyard. In addition to a basic first aid kit, you may want to keep these in the trunk of your car:

  • Extra water and snacks
  • Duct tape and WD-40
  • Flashlight, candles, lighter, and matches
  • All-purpose cutting knife or Swiss-army knife
  • Basic tools (screwdriver, adjustable wrench and hammer)
  • Important documents (medical records, leases, passports, and bank records)

Hopefully, you never have to use these items, but you’ll feel more confident if you have them on hand.

Keep These Items With You During Your Move

Ideally, you should keep these items with you in the trunk of your car or under your seat rather than in the moving van. When you drive with these items, you ensure you that have them with you when you need them most, just in case your moving van is scheduled to arrive at your new home a day or two later than you and your family members do.

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