Nice Move: Make an Essentials Box for Moving Day

Making an essentials box

There are few things as stressful and exhausting as moving day. Packing and unpacking, making sure everything arrives in one piece and gets delivered to the right room. When it’s all over, you just want to fall into bed and pass out … except, now you have to find your sheets, your PJs and your toothbrush, and who knows where they are in the sea of boxes! Packing an “essentials box” is a great way to combat some of the chaos of the first day in a new home, and it’s invaluable for children and pets, who are dealing with a lot of emotions and unfamiliarity. Once it’s packed, hand-carry it to your new house so it doesn’t get misplaced. It’s a great idea I learned from my friend Laurie March (AKA The House Counselor) who has moved many of her clients from place to place and has learned a thing or two. Convenience and comfort in a box — that’s a smooth move.


Step 1

 Open GalleryStart with a sturdy boxStart off with a medium-sized bin for each member of the family.

Step 2

 Open GalleryAdd change of clothesPack a change of clothes …

Step 3

 Open GalleryPyjamas too… and a pair of pajamas too — those will come in especially handy when you’re too pooped to find something to sleep in after the big move.

Step 4

 Open GallerySheets for the first nightIf everyone has a sheet set packed, you won’t have to tear through boxes looking for bedding …

Step 5

 Open GalleryToiletries and towels… toiletries and hand towels will be a welcome sight at night too.

Step 6

 Open GalleryBooks and activitiesPack a book and some activities to keep kids busy (while their parents are busy running around unpacking) …

Step 7

 Open GalleryKeepsakes … plus some personal effects to make a still-not-quite-set-up room feel more like home. [Snacks aren't pictured, but a really really good idea as well!]

Step 8

 Open GalleryAnnie's Essentials box for movingLabel the bins clearly with each person’s name, so it’s easy for anyone to identify. Bring it with you if possible (avoid putting it on the truck, in a box), but if you do have to pack it, make sure its box is marked distinctively so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Step 9

 Open GalleryGreat for pets too!Pets need a box too, so all their personal effects are easy to find. Be sure to make sure that their kennel, dog bed, or favorite blanket is unpacked with your beds, so everyone can sleep soundly on the first night.


  • Sturdy plastic bin
  • Personal effects
  • Label
About Carley Knobloch 


I'm all about smart, simple solutions to managing life, work and family. I blog about the intersection of tech and living at and delve into smart home technology ...

More About Carley Knobloch

10 Responses

  1. Londonmanvan says:

    Lovely post. I'm glad you decided to write about the essentials box. Many people tend to forget about it when moving house and then end up opening a bunch of boxes just to find their tooth brush.
    I'd like to add you should put your first night boxes last in the moving van for easy access. If you're preparing a large single box instead of several small ones, put some eating utensils and disposable dishes with the rest of your items. After all you will need something to eat your snacks with, right?
    One last thing I'd like to add. Have your business suit and shoes ready if you'll be going to work the next day. It might take you a week to unpack your entire house, but that's no excuse to go to work looking scruffy.

  2. Abigale Jones says:

    I have three-year-old daughter and we are going to move out next week. I will definitely need one of these boxes for the moving day. Thank you for sharing these advices!

  3. Cherie says:

    One box – roll of toilet paper, roll of paper towels, bar of soap. Essential! (I always leave these behind for the new owners of the house I am leaving also.)

  4. Amanda says:

    Lovely ideas! Thank you so much! I will definitely use these great tips to pack my things .Regards!


  5. MarcioWilges says:

    This essentials box is highly essential I must say for every moving-out process! I am still able to recall having missed out on having such a box and at the end of the day, we had a really difficult time trying to get that one piece of item each of us needed. I was looking for a towel before I could have a nice shower after sweating myself out. My family members were looking for a toothbrush and some clothings. We hired reliable moving and removal services, that is why we left everything in their hands and forgot about this.

  6. Candygrammy says:

    We've moved several times. Now, we don't forget to pack your coffee pot, coffee, and filters, mugs, or whatever you will need to get through the first night and first morning in the new home separately. Also, extra rolls of toilet paper, hand soap, a roll of paper towels, cleaning supplies (mop, cleaning brush/toilet bowl cleaner, antibacterial wipes, a good all-purpose cleaner, and microfiber cloths) are other necessary things that always seems to get buried in boxes. You'll need to clean up after the movers take things from the last home too, if you are not hiring a professional cleaner. A small tool kit for emergency repairs, including a small pot of drywall mud to fix any moving nicks and fill any nail holes that are left after movers take picture frames off the walls comes in handy.

  7. Audrey Greenwood says:

    I really agree with this! Nobody wants to have to go digging around the packing boxes their first day in a new home after all the heavy lifting. All I really want to do after such a hard days work is plug in the TV and kick my feet up. I definitely don't want to be hunting around for toothbrushes and towels. This is something that I'll really have to take note the next time we're organizing for a move!

  8. dogbeds says:

    The information on this blog is very useful and very interesting. If someone needs to know about the just click

  9. Laurie_March says:

    Here's to smooth moving for everyone! :)

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