What You Need to Pack in an Essentials Box When Moving

Full article 13 min read
Where to Buy Moving Boxes

Are you in the process of moving? Whether you’re just starting to pack or are almost ready to go, one of the most important things to remember is to pack an essentials box. Remember, the goal of packing an essentials box is to make sure you have everything you need to get through the first day or two in your new home. So, while you may be tempted to pack everything but the kitchen sink, try to limit yourself to only the absolute essentials. This will make your move a little easier and lighter your essentials box. This box should contain all the items you’ll need in the first few days after moving, when you may not have access to your larger belongings.

What is an Essentials Box?

An essentials box is a small, easily-transportable box that contains everything you need to get through the first few days in your new home. This box should be packed last so that you can easily grab it and go on moving day. Essential boxes are also known as overnight bags, first-night kits, or survival kits. It would be best if you packed things like toiletries, medications, a change of clothes, phone chargers, and snacks into your essentials box. Anything you might need in the first few days after your move should go into this box. The items should be packed in an easily accessible manner, such as in a clear plastic bin or a small suitcase.

See Also: How to Use Plastic Moving Boxes


Why Pack an Essentials Box?

There are a few reasons why you should pack an essentials box:

  • You’ll have everything you need in one place: When you arrive at your new home, the last thing you want to do is search through all of your boxes to find your toothbrush or a change of clothes. Having everything you need in one place will make the transition to your new home much smoother.
  • You can pack it ahead of time: Unlike the rest of your boxes, which should be packed closer to moving day, you can pack your essentials box well in advance. This will help reduce your stress levels come moving day.
  • It’s easily transportable: An essentials box is small and easy to carry so that you can take it on the drive to your new home. This way, you won’t have to worry about losing or misplacing any of your essential items, and you’ll have them on hand if you need them during the move.
  • It will help on the first day: You may not have time to unpack all of your boxes on the first day in your new home. An essentials box will help you get through the first day or two until you can unpack everything.
  • It will come in useful during an emergency: If you are moving to another city or another state, then packing an essential box is a must because, in case of an emergency, you will have all the basic things that you need. If your mover doesn’t arrive on time to deliver your things, this box will come in handy.

See Also: What You Need to Pack in an Essentials Box When Moving

What to Put in Your Emergency Kit

Packing an essentials box may seem like a daunting task, but we promise it’s not as difficult as it seems. Some people also pack different essential boxes for different rooms of the house. For example, you might want to pack a separate essentials kit for the kitchen containing dishes, silverware, and cooking utensils. And you might want to pack a separate box for each bathroom that contains toiletries, towels, and other bathroom essentials. Everyone’s essential box will be different; therefore, you’ll need to compile a list of important items for you and your family. Make your own unique and customized checklist of items to pack in an essentials box when moving. There are a few key items that everyone should pack in their essentials box when moving:


Pack any prescription medications you or your family members take and over-the-counter medicines like pain relievers, cold medicine, and allergy medicine. This is probably the most important item on the list. It would help if you also packed any medical supplies you or your family use, such as inhalers, diabetes supplies, or EpiPens.

Having a first aid kit is also a good idea. You can buy a prepackaged first-aid kit or put one together yourself. Include bandages, gauze, tape, scissors, and antiseptic wipes.



Getting a shower right after relocation will be the best feeling ever, but you need to pack all of your toiletries to do that. This includes items like shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, and any other personal hygiene items you use daily. If you wear contact lenses, don’t forget to pack your contact case and solution. A few other things you need to pack are a hand towel, washcloth, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies.


You’ll want to pack enough clothing to last you a few days, including items like underwear, socks, shirts, pants, and dresses. If you’re moving in the summer, you may want to pack shorts and tank tops. And if you’re moving in the winter, be sure to pack a jacket, hat, and gloves. You should also pack a change of clothes for each family member and a few extra items like pajamas and swimsuits.


After a tiring and hectic day of moving, all you’ll want to do is take a nap. But to do that, you need to pack your bedding. This includes items like sheets, blankets, and pillows. If you have a comforter or duvet, be sure to pack that as well. You should also pack any other items like a night lamp, alarm clock and a pair of night suits. If you have small kids with you, don’t forget to pack their soft toys and favorite blankets. Don’t forget to take thick curtains to block out any unwanted light and ensure privacy. If you are shifting to an unfurnished house, you might have to sleep on the floor, in which case you should pack an air mattress or a futon.


In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine life without our electronic devices and if you are one of them who can’t live without your electronics, be sure to pack them in your essentials box. This includes items like laptops, tablets, phones, and chargers. You should also pack any cables or adapters you’ll need to use your electronics. Don’t forget to pack batteries, extension cords, light bulbs, and surge protectors. And if you have any important documents stored on your computer, be sure to back them up before moving.


Kitchen supplies

If you’re moving into a new home, you may not have access to your kitchen for a few days. In that case, you can order food from outside, but you’ll still need some kitchen supplies. This includes items like paper plates, plastic utensils, and cups. You should also pack a can opener, bottle opener, and corkscrew. You should also pack a can opener, coffee maker, and any other kitchen appliances you’ll need. And if you have any special dietary needs, be sure to pack the food and supplies you’ll need.

Apart from these items, also pack some non-perishable food and snacks, bottled water, pet food (if you have pets), and paper towels. Don’t forget to bring salt, pepper, sugar, powdered creamer, and other seasonings that you feel are necessary. And some cooking utensils.

Also Read: How to Pack Knives for Moving

Pet Supplies

If you’re moving with a pet, it is natural that your pet may get stressed and anxious. So it is important to pack their favorite toys, food, and bedding to make them feel comfortable. Make sure to pack all the supplies you’ll need to take care of them. This includes food, water, bowls, leashes, toys, and litter. You should also pack any medications or supplements your pet takes. Be sure to also pack a pet carrier or crate for your pet. And if you have any special needs pets, be sure to pack the supplies they’ll need.

Cleaning supplies

You’ll need to pack some cleaning supplies to clean your new home. This includes a vacuum cleaner, mop, broom, dustpan, and rags. You should also pack a bucket, sponges, cleaning solutions, and air fresheners. And if you have any special cleaning needs, be sure to pack the supplies you’ll need. Don’t forget to take garbage bags to help with the cleanup process.

See Also: Home Cleaning Services to Use When Moving

Tool kit

You’ll need a tool kit to help you with the move and set up your new home. This includes items like a hammer, screwdriver, drill, and screws. You should also pack a tape measure, level, and pliers. And if you have any special needs, be sure to pack the supplies you feel necessary.


You’ll want to pack any important documents you may need during the move, including your driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, social security card, and insurance information. You should also pack any financial documents like bank statements and tax returns. If you have children, you should also pack their birth certificates and immunization records.


It’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand, just in case you need it during the move. Be sure to pack small bills so you can make changes if necessary. You may need to tip the movers or buy something unexpectedly.

Also Read: Moving Grants And Charities



Packing an essentials box is not as difficult as it seems. Just be sure to pack the items you’ll need to make your move easier and set up your new home. And don’t forget to pack any important documents and cash. With these items, you’ll be sure to have a successful move.

See Also: How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving

Frequently Asked Questions

What to put in an essentials box when moving?

Everyone’s essentials are different from one another. Some people may need more items than others and vice versa. But in general, you should pack items like batteries, extension cords, light bulbs, surge protectors, paper plates, plastic utensils, cups, can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew, non-perishable food, snacks, bottled water, medicines and pet, food.

See Also: How And Where To Rent Reusable Moving Boxes

What should I pack in my first open box for moving?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It just depends on what you need and want. But in general, you should pack items like clothes, toiletries, medications, phone chargers, laptops, and other electronics.

Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.