How to Pack an “Open First” Box
Congratulations, you made it to moving day. It’s time to head to your new home. You can’t wait to get there! But what happens when you arrive? The truth is, this project is only a bit more than half over. Before you begin hanging pictures and organizing close drawers, you’ll need to make it through the first few days. That’s when you’ll appreciate having an “Open First” box. It will contain the things you and your family must have easy access to during this transitional time.
Before the Open-First box, make sure you pack a Carry-On bag
If you travel by plane, you know that there are certain items you won’t let out of your possession, so you put them into your carry-on bag. Use the same idea when you move. Keep essentials with you throughout the process. Many of these items will be in your handbag or wallet, but be sure you have them accessible on moving day for for each member of your family.
• Cash, and make sure you have enough to tip the movers.
• Prescription and essential medications to cover everyone for a few days.
• Bottled Water for family, pets, and the moving crew.
• Chargers for phones and other handheld devices.
• Child’s game or toy to keep kids occupied during the trip and when they arrive in their new home.
• Pet food and leashes if applicable.
• Valuables such as important papers, jewelry, and keys.
Items for the Open-First Box(es)
The open first boxes will contain items to get you through the first few days in your new home.
Depending on the size of your family, you may want to have each person pack essentials into their own box. Or, you can organize items by room, with a box for the kitchen, bath, and bedroom(s).
Here are some basics you’ll need to have handy on Day One:
• Paper towels and an all-purpose cleaner
• Trash bags
• Eye glasses and contact lens cases/solution
• Sleepwear and a change of clothes
• Baby necessities such as diapers and food
• A first-aid kit that contains band aids, antiseptic, benadryl, pain relievers (moving can be a headache) and muscle rub or pain patches in case you overdo it
• A flashlight and a battery lantern in case you don’t have power – and don’t forget the batteries!
• A lamp, light bulbs, and plug-in nightlights
• Duct tape
• An alarm clock (if you don’t have a smartphone)
• A basic toolkit – with a knife, screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, hammer, plyers
• Phone and electronics and don’t forget the chargers
• A pad & pen (or use your smartphone)
• Linens and pillows for first few nights’ sleep
• Do you need sheets or towels to cover exposed windows?
Depending on your needs, you might want to pack an Open-First box exclusively for the kitchen that includes some or all of the following:
• Enough plates, cups and utensils for each family member – and pet food bowls
• A frying pan & spatula
• A medium-sized pot
• A sponge and dish detergent
• Your coffee maker or toaster
• Non-perishable food, either snacks or an easy meal
Include these items for bathroom needs:
• Toilet paper and hand soap
• Toothbrush and toothpaste
• Shaving lotion and razor
• Hair dryer and hair brush
• Towels – one for each family member
It’s worth it to add a few items that aren’t a necessity but will make you feel better after a long, sometimes stressful day. Perhaps a favorite tea or book. Make your Open-First list before you start packing and wait until the last minute to tape it up.
Our final suggestion is to have important phone numbers available, whether on paper or programmed into your phone: the moving company, utilities, landlord or property management, and banks. Before you move, get the numbers for take-out restaurants in your new neighborhood.
A carefully planned Open-First box will make your first week significantly easier.