Moving? Here’s What to Pack in Your “Open First” Boxes
Date Published
February 21, 2020

There comes a point in almost any move when you find yourself sitting on the hardwood floor in the living room of your new home. It feels so good to finally take a moment to breathe and let it all sink in. Eventually though, that feeling will wear off and you’ll need to move on with your day.

Unfortunately, all of your stuff is either packed away in boxes strewn about the house or still in a moving truck five states away. Hopefully you’ve planned for this moment and have a few “open first” boxes ready.

Why pack open first boxes?

Open first boxes, also known as “first night” or “essentials” boxes, contain the most basic necessities that you’ll need to get through the day (or week) until the rest of your stuff is delivered, unloaded, and accessible. Think of it like packing for a mini camping trip in your new home.

Chances are, at some point before you’re finished unpacking, you’ll need to use the bathroom, eat a healthy meal, take a shower, get some rest, deal with a minor emergency, or simply entertain yourself. If you don’t want to dig through dozens of boxes to find what you need or constantly run to the nearest convenience store, having an open first box at the ready can be a real lifesaver.

Tips for packing your open first box

Before we get to the lists of essential items, we should first discuss a few fundamental things to keep in mind when preparing your open first boxes.

  1. Seal your open first boxes last. Even though it’s a good idea to pack your essentials first (so they don’t get mixed in with everything else), you should make sure that these are the last boxes out the door. Since they contain the most important items, you may need to use some of them during the rest of the moving process.
  2. Make sure they stand out. The last thing you want is to lose your open first boxes amongst your other piles of boxes. Your best option is to use brightly colored containers. If you don’t have those though, make sure you clearly label the boxes on all sides so they can’t be missed.
  3. Pack any liquids in sealed plastic containers. You certainly don’t want to open one of your boxes only to discover all your valuables have been ruined by a leak or spill in transit.
  4. Always keep them with you. Whether you’re moving across town or cross-country, you should never load your open first boxes in the moving vehicle with the rest of your things. Keeping these boxes close at hand in your personal vehicle is the best way to ensure that they’re always safe and conveniently available.
  5. Pack a different box for each room/person. We’ve listed essentials for the three most important rooms below, as well as some miscellaneous items that should all fill up their respective boxes. In addition, each person in the family should fill their own box with personal items and valuables.
  6. Keep it to just the essentials. You may really love your fancy new blender or video game console, but if you can get by for a day or two without it, it’s not really essential. Don’t pack a week’s worth of clothes if your stuff is expected the next day either. Deep down, you know what’s really

Kitchen essentials

In most relocation situations, preparing an elaborate home-cooked meal immediately following the move is entirely out of the question. While most families will get by primarily on take-out options until the cookware and dishes are all unpacked and washed, there are still several things you should make sure you have on hand right away.

  • Water bottles
  • Non-perishable food & snacks
  • Paper plates & cups
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Paper towels
  • Can opener
  • Coffee maker (or tea kettle) & supplies

Bathroom essentials

Inevitably, someone will need to use the restroom before all your things are unpacked, so don’t make them rush to find what they need with a full bladder. You should also include everything you’ll need for a nice, relaxing shower to clean off all that moving day sweat and grime.

  • Hand soap
  • Toilet paper (at least 2 rolls)
  • Hand towels
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Shower curtain
  • Soap, shampoo & other shower supplies
  • Towels & wash cloths
  • Deodorant
  • Other personal care items

Bedroom essentials

Moving is exhausting. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep to rest and rejuvenate your overtired body and mind. Here are some things you should definitely have with you to ensure that first (and possibly second) night is as comfortable as possible.

  • Bed linens (sheets, blankets, pillowcases, etc.)
  • Pillows
  • An inflatable mattress (if no furniture)
  • Pajamas
  • A fresh change of clothes
  • Comfortable shoes or slippers
  • A phone charger

Miscellaneous essentials

Now that you’ve packed up the essential items for each of the three most important rooms in your home, it’s time to fill up one final box with an assortment of other must-have items. Keep in mind that this box will most likely contain your most valuable items, so take extra care to pack it carefully and securely.

  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medicines
  • Children’s essentials
  • Pet essentials
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Basic tools
  • Entertainment items (books, games, etc.)
  • Extension cords
  • Valuable items (jewelry, heirlooms, etc.)
  • Important documents (passports, birth certificates, etc.)

It’s time to unpack the rest

Provided you enlisted the services of a reputable and experienced moving company, the rest of your household items should soon arrive, if they haven’t already. Once you’ve finished finding new homes for your essentials, it’ll be time to unpack the rest.

AAA Movers have the trained professionals, fully equipped trucks, and certified moving processes to ensure that all your possessions arrive at your new home in the same condition as they left the old one. Contact us today for a free quote or to book your next move!