As you pack for your move, remember to create an open-me-first box stuffed with essentials to get you through your transition to your new home.

“When people are moving, they need to ask themselves,  ‘What would I need to camp out at my home for a week?'” said Danielle Wurth, professional organizer at Wurth Organizing.

Label this box with marker on all sides, and keep it with you at all times.

Not sure what you can’t live without? Here are 10 items to pack in the box you’ll open first at your new place:

1. Toilet Paper and Hand Soap

You don’t want to run to the bathroom at your new place after hours on the road only to get stuck with no TP. Pack toilet paper and a bottle of hand soap to stash on your new bathroom sink, said Barbara Reich, professional organizer and author of the book “Secrets of an Organized Mom.”

2. Cleaning Supplies

Throw in some light cleaning products and paper towels, recommends Tonia Tomlin, president and founder of Sorted Out, a company that provides organizing services. At minimum, pack all-purpose cleaner, window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, a toilet brush and disinfecting wipes so you can get your new space sparkly clean.

Allen keys set lie on wooden background. Place for text on the left.

3. Basic Tools

You’ll need tools to put furniture together and make small repairs, said Ann Bass, president of A Lighter Move, a relocation and transition management company. Your toolkit should include: an Allen wrench, a box wrench, a few sizes of flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers, and pliers, Bass said. Also throw in extension cords, power strips, painters tape, furniture sliders and a few doorstops to prop open doors for movers, Bass said.

4. Shower Supplies

Moving is hot, sweaty work, so pack shower essentials. Make sure you include towels, wash cloths, soap and shampoo, said Jamie Steele, owner of Steele Organizing. And don’t forget a shower curtain.

5. Personal Care Items

“Pack any self-care items you will need to get ready for bed and face the day in the morning,” said Leslie Gail, owner of Declare Order Professional Organizing.

Take makeup, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, a hairbrush and a blowdryer.

“And it doesn’t hurt to toss in some Tylenol or Icy Hot back patches for possible headache or sore muscles,” Wurth said.

6. Utensils and Snacks

“Having a little meal kit is helpful,” Gail said.

This includes paper plates, plastic cups, a few utensils, gallon-size storage bags and garbage bags.

“Moving generates a crazy amount of trash,” Gail said.

Young Couple Sleeping On Mattress

7. Basic Bedding

Pack sheets, pillows (and pillow cases) and a blanket so you’re not hunting through boxes or bags to find these items before you can hit the hay. Soft bedding will help you “rest well and recharge nicely for the unpacking days ahead,” Wurth said.

8. A Change of Clothes

Add a few extra outfits, including underwear and socks.

“Pack like you are going to stay in a hotel for a few days,” Steele said.

9. Hot Beverage Supplies

You might need a shot of caffeine to get going the morning after you arrive. Pack instant coffee or teabags to get you through in a pinch, plus paper cups, spoons and packets of cream and sugar. If instant won’t do, you might want to include your coffee maker and supplies like coffee and filters or K-Cup pods.

10. Valuables and Documents

You should keep important personal documents such as passports close to you during the move. You can stash documents in a ziplock or manila envelope before placing them in the box.

Packing the right stuff in your open-me-first box can help you get settled in more easily and feel calmer about the move, Wurth said.

“Having some consistent daily systems in place brings emotional familiarity, which is so important when your mental and physical environment is in transition,” she said.


Allie Johnson