Skip to main content

Moving to a new house can be a pretty chaotic and stressful time in anyone’s life. It is also extremely exhausting, as you need to pack and transport every single item you own, and especially if it’s your first move, it’s normal to be overwhelmed by the sheer chaos of it all.

When you first arrive at your new place, you will probably have boxes piled up everywhere, that can make locating essential items a close to impossible task.

Make your life easier on the first night in your new home by packing a separate “first night box”.

What’s a First Night Box and How do I Pack One?

A first night box is just like your carry-on bag when you are taking a small trip, but this time for moving. These are your essentials that you should carry with you. If you have room in your personal vehicle, this box should be transported with you or, at least be the last one loaded on the moving truck.

This box will be the first one you open and should include everything you will need to comfortably spend the first day and night in your new home, until you have time to unpack the rest of your things. Instead of looking through boxes after boxes gathering up things like food, pyjamas, toiletries, and other essential items, you will have everything already set aside for easy use.

If your household has multiple members, it is always a good idea to pack one main “first night box” with essentials you all will use in your basic daily tasks, and then also assign and pack one box per each family member with whatever they will need. The rule of thumb is to include everything that you and your family will require in your new home for at least 24 hours, without having to rip open boxes to find stuff.

Here are the most common items you will be glad to have packed up in your First Night Box:

Things to Pack for the Whole Family

  • Home Cleaning and Maintenance Items

Before you start settling into your new home, you may need to do some cleaning. Pack a basic cleaning kit including gloves, rags, trash bags, surface cleaners and dish soap.

Additionally, it is also a good idea to bring a portable tool kit with a small hammer, pliers, screwdriver, scissor, craft knife, flashlight and some extra light bulbs, just in case you are required to do any immediate household repairs.

  • Meals, Snacks and Kitchen Necessities

The first night in your new home will probably mean that you’ll not have your refrigerator running. Having some non-perishable food items on hand will guarantee that everyone will have something to eat and drink while finishing setting up all the essentials. So, you should pack some snacks, a few canned goods and sandwich basics like small jars of jam/peanut butter, along with plenty of bottled water and other beverages to keep everyone hydrated.

Using paper or plastic plates, cups and cutlery will also eliminate the need to find and wash the dishes after your first night’s meal.

  • Hygiene Basics

You should have your toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and a brush packed in your personal box. But you will need more than that to get comfortable and really settle in after a long and stressful day of moving. Towels, a shower curtain, soap, toilet paper, a complete first aid kit, pillows and clean bed linens for your first night should be added to the family essentials box as well.

Things Everyone Should Pack in their Own Box

It may take you at least one or two days to get everything unpacked and situated in your new house. Because of this, everyone should include a few changes of clothes, extra underwear, pyjamas, slippers and shoes in their personal first night box. Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo), prescriptions, phones, computers and other electronics and their charges, jewellery and other valuables, should all be placed inside it. This box is also the right place to put a folder with important documents like birth certificates, medical records and passports, that should not go in the moving truck.

Kids First Night Boxes

Moving with small kids makes the relocation process even more challenging and stressful for both you and them. Going through boxes of stuff while juggling the demands of a baby will be hard enough as it is. Diapers, wipes, powder, pacifier, clothing and pyjamas, bottle/sippy cup, spoon, formula, baby food, medications and first aid kit, should all be placed inside a specific box. By prepping a separate “first night box” with all these essentials along with familiar items like their favourite toy, stuffed animal, blanket and a nightlight, may help them feel a bit more comfortable in their new surroundings and make this first night experience a fun one.

These are only generic tips and you should customise your box based on your exact needs and circumstances. You may need to include more or less items, but in any event, plan to have everything close at hand, in just one place.

You may not be ready to pack your First Night Box yet, but that does not mean you cannot start preparing by getting quality moving boxes and setting up a list of essential items to include in them. Planning ahead will help make your transition to your new home as painless and stress free as possible, ensuring you and your family have the basic necessities to eat, clean, sleep and begin getting settled in!