Skip to content

How To Prepare An Essentials Box Before Moving

icon - star icon - star icon - star icon - star icon - star
Based on 4,117+ reviews on

Moving is, without doubt, a complex, stressful, and usually chaotic process that requires a lot of tasks. And packing is one of the most demanding relocation tasks. If your items are not packed properly, you may encounter many unexpected issues during and after the relocation. The first days after moving are pretty demanding, and the last thing you want is to rip open boxes to find what you need. That’s why you need to pack an essential box. Wonder what to pack and how? Don’t worry. Our movers and packers NYC are here to help you prepare an essential box before moving. Use this guide to pack like a pro. With our tips and tricks, you’ll avoid potential issues and enjoy packing.


A box
You’ll need a lot of things the first couple of days after the move. That’s why you need to prepare an essential box.

What is an essential box and why do you need it?

Without a doubt, moving is a stressful venture. However, the post-relocation period can also be stressful, especially unpacking. The first days after the move are pretty tiresome, and you’ll probably want to relax before unpacking your boxes. And you’ll need your essentials to function normally. That’s why you should pack them up in an essential box. Also known as the open-first (night) box, it consists of the most important items you need to use on a daily basis.

So, thanks to your essential box, you’ll have everything you need at hand for the first couple of days or weeks after the move. Besides, if you are moving internationally, it is likely that your boxes will arrive weeks later. In case you arrive at your new home before your international movers NYC move your items, an essential box will help you “survive” – that’s why it’s also called “the survival box.” Sometimes, you’ll need more than one essential box. It depends on your needs. Wonder what to pack up? Let’s check.

How to prepare an essential box

Choosing what to pack up into your box of essentials may seem easy at first. Of course, you already know that you’ll need some toiletries, clothes, cutlery, and some electric appliances, but you need to be more specific. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to pack that you’ll really need. That’s why you should carefully prepare an essential box before moving. Wonder how? First, make an inventory list. The list will help you keep track of your belongings but not exaggerate when packing. What’s more, it will help you declutter. Then, you can choose the size of a box or check whether you need more than one essential box. However, if you have trouble making an inventory list, your long-distance movers NYC can help you decide what to pack. They’ll provide you with a list of essential things and advise you on what and how to pack.

What to pack into an essential box

When packing up items for an essential box, people usually wonder what to pack. It largely depends on your daily routine. It may happen to you to pack more or less than you actually need, so it’s important to make a list of things. The list differs from person to person and from type of moves. However, there are some must-pack items for the first couple of days after the move. So, here’s the list which can help you stay organized:

  • Toiletries: Imagine that you travel for a vacation. What would you pack? Well, the things for your daily routine. Pack up a toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, handwash, razor, deodorant, brush or comb, makeup items, etc.
  • Clothes: Packing clothes may be tricky. It may turn out that you’ve packed more than necessary. So, choose the pieces and make daily combinations so that you don’t exaggerate in packing. Also, don’t forget to pack the clothes you wear when cleaning the house. Besides, pack up some warm clothes in case it gets colder.
  • Linens: Pack up bed sheets, pillowcases, and blankets for at least one week. Don’t forget to pack some extra linens in case these get dirty.
  • Electric appliances: Pack up kitchen appliances that you’ll need the first days after the move. Avoid packing the bulky ones.
  • Cutlery and other dishes: Pack forks, knives, and spoons for each member of the family.

A linen box
Linens, toiletries, clothes, cutlery, etc. are the most important items to pack up into your essential box

Go room by room

In order not to forget what to pack into your box of essentials, go room by room and make a list. Carefully inspect each room to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. While putting things on your list, ask yourself whether you really need an item. Then, single out the items and put them in one place. Repeat the process for each room.

Prepare an essential box before moving: Kitchen

Since the kitchen is the most demanding room to pack, start from it. Choose the items that you use the most. Pack up glassware and cutlery for each member of the family. Then, choose the electronic appliances you think you will need for the first couple of days after the move. These items may include a coffee maker, toaster, or microwave. You can pack a juicer, but think about whether you really need it. Besides, think about the food. You’ll probably be pretty tired to prepare the food after the move, so pack non-perishable food such as a jar of jam, pasta, canned meat, or vegetables. Of course, you can order food, but pack some just in case. Don’t forget to pack bottled water, a bag of ground coffee, tea bags, and spices such as pepper, salt, etc., so you don’t have to go shopping immediately upon arrival.

A woman about to prepare an essential box before moving
The kitchen is the most demanding room to pack

Keep to the basics when packing up your bathroom

The bathroom is the easiest to pack. Choose the toiletries you cannot go without. Pack only the ones that are essential for your morning and evening routine. The list of items is pretty simple – pack up a toothbrush, shower gel, deodorant, razors, toilet paper, and towels. If necessary, pack the face creams and lotions.


The first night after the move is most important to relax properly. To ensure your sweet dreams, you’ll need cozy linens, pillowcases, and bed covers. However, don’t forget to pack up a blanket in case it gets colder. Next, pack comfortable nightwear and a change of clothes for each member of your family. Also, pack extra linens in case these get dirty. Besides, pack the things for your night routine. It can be your favorite book, a nightlamp, for example. You may pack thick curtains to ensure privacy and nice sleep. However, if your new home is not furnished yet, you arrive before your furniture, or you simply don’t have the time or strength to set up your bed, pack an air mattress.

What to pack if  you have children

Preparing an essential box if you have children is a whole new level. It means you have to pay special attention when choosing what to pack. This will largely depend on how old your children are. If you have a baby, you should pack almost everything. It depends on when your boxes arrive at your new home. If your moving truck is there the same day, only pack up the items you usually put into mom’s bag. However, if your boxes arrive a couple of days after you, you should pack a lot of clothes and diapers. If your children are older, ask them what they need besides the things you consider essential. However, limit the number of toys. The list of things you should pack may vary, and here are our suggestions:

  • Essentials: diapers, clothes, toiletries, skin care products, food.
  • Secondary things: toys, books, video games.

A man holding a baby
Preparing an essential box when you have children is different

Prepare an essential box before moving: around the house

Besides the main room, you should think about packing other items around the house. Of course, you won’t immediately use your toolbox. However, pack some useful household items handy, just in case. Here’s what to pack: chargers, lightbulbs, batteries, extension cord, scissors, hammer, nails, etc.

Don’t forget your bag of essentials

A bag of essentials is also needed, besides your essential boxes. You’ll need it during traveling and immediately after the move. This bag should contain the most important items for the relocation and after the move. Wonder what should it include? First and foremost, it must include all the necessary documents you have, not only for the relocation but also in general. So, use a file and pack up documents in order. Medical records, bills, contracts, IDs, passports, diplomas, reports, etc., should always be at hand. This way, you’ll avoid a lot of trouble.

Next, you should pack your laptops, tablets, chargers, USBs, external batteries, and mobile phones. Then, you should pack valuable items such as jewelry to keep them safe. Besides, pack food and water for traveling. And most importantly, pack the first-aid kit in case you get injured during the move. This bag of essentials serves you as a survival kit for the relocation. So, think about all the things you are going to need during traveling and upon arrival.

Prepare an essential box before moving: Pack the first-aid kit

Having the first-aid kit at hand is of paramount importance when moving in case of getting injured. No relocation shouldn’t be done without the first-aid kit, so, make sure you have the following things:

  1. Prescription medicines
  2. Painkillers, allergy medicines, vitamins
  3. Plasters
  4. Gauzes
  5. Sterile gloves
  6. Alcohol
  7. Sticky tape

A mover about to prepare ann essential box before moving
An essential box should contain the things that are necessary for keeping daily routines

Prepare an essential box when moving your office

A commercial move is a lot more complex than a residential move. And the pressure is bigger. One wrong step and office relocation may turn into a nightmare. Commercial moves should be performed in such a way that they don’t disturb the business since not many employers can afford to stop running the business, not even for a day. That’s why it’s important to pack an essential box before moving the office in order to continue the business swimmingly. With the essential boxes, both employer and employees can relocate immediately to a new office and arrange the space to continue working. However, you should carefully consider what to pack. It will largely depend on a type of business, but there are some common things, such as computers, documents, files, and office supplies. So, determine which items are of your highest priority and pack them up into essential boxes.

Packing supplies to use

No successful packing can go without proper packing equipment. Packing is the most delicate relocation part, and it requires a lot of attention to detail. And the first step towards safe and detailed packing is purchasing the right packing materials. When preparing an essential box before moving, you should use the following packing supplies. First, purchase the right size box. Then, find the proper material for filling the space between the items. Next, use proper wrapping materials such as bag foam, bubble wrap, or packing paper. Make sure you have your boxes sealed safely, so buy strong tape. Besides these mentioned supplies, you’ll need scissors, box labels, and markers. After you’ve purchased the supplies, you should buy or rent moving equipment, such as dollies. And if this is too overwhelming for you, you can always rely on our professional packers NYC to handle the packing.

Movers prepare an essential box before moving
Moving is now easier with Roadway moving NYC

Searching for a nicer way to move? Choose Roadway Moving NYC

If you want to have a safe, smooth, and stress-free relocation, you should have the right movers by your side. And who better to help you than Roadway Moving NYC? We won’t only help you with the relocation task, but we’ll also help you prepare an essential box before moving. So, contact us today, get your moving estimate, receive an efficient moving plan, and move like a pro. Have a safe and enjoyable relocation. Choose a nicer way to move. 

Ready to get moving?

Tell us about more your move.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Quick Links

Stay informed

Be prepared for your move with our essential tips and guides, including helpful advice on how to appropriately tip your movers.

Ready to get moving?