open first box for moving
Smooth Move Series

Prepping An Open-First Box For Moving

We are smack dab in the middle of packing up for a move to our FOREVER house! Eeeek! So exciting, but also SO stressful. Packing up a house is hard work! And no matter how organized you are, there are always a few things that get misplaced and don’t get found for weeks after the move. To make sure that the essentials I need on the very first night at the new house are easily accessible, I always pack an Open First Box.

The Open First Box is basically a large lidded tote container that holds all the stuff you need to make it through your first day and night at your new digs. Not just clothes and bathroom supplies, but actual stuff you need for the house like shower curtains, bed sheets, and a wrench to assemble your bed.

After a full day of moving boxes and furniture, you’ll definitely be ready for a hot shower and clean bed. If these were all packed in separate boxes based on the room they belong, you’ll have a full-on meltdown when you’re ready to crash after a hard day’s work.

How To Pack An “Open First Box”

I like to actually pack two Open First boxes. One will be a clear lidded tote and that will hold all the house stuff. The other is a suitcase and it will hold my clothes/bathroom stuff. I’ll get into exactly what you should put in each box/suitcase in a sec, but here’s a quick look:

Your suitcase should be packed as if you were staying in a hotel. Travel-sized toiletries, a change of clothes, medicines, pet food, phone chargers, and some cash for tips.

The clear lidded container should hold things like basic tools, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and clean bedding.

I prefer to use a clear container because it looks different than the regular boxes you’re packing, so it will stand out easily if it gets lost in the shuffle. And for the suitcase, I pack it in my car, not the moving truck, so it stays with me at all times.

What To Put In Your “Open First Box”

  • Shower Curtain Liner and Hanging Rings (and a shower curtain rod if there isn’t one)
  • Clean Sheets For Each Bed
  • Throw Blanket or Quilt For Each Bed
  • Small Tension Rod And Temporary Window Curtain For Bathroom Privacy (if needed)
  • One Towel For Each Family Member
  • Travel-Sized Toiletries
  • Toilet Paper & Paper Towels
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Microfiber Cloths
  • Hand-Sized Broom & Dustpan
  • Trash Bags
  • Basic Tools (Flat & Phillips head screwdrivers, wrench, hammer, level, flashlight, drill/bits/charger)
  • Scissors and Box Cutter
  • Phone Chargers
  • One Pair Of Clothes For Each Family Member (don’t forget extra socks and underwear)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Zip-Lock Bag Of Pet Food, Bowls, and Favorite Toy/Stuffie
  • Bottled Water and Snack Bars
  • Fresh Notebook and Pens/Pencils
  • Tylenol and Allergy Meds
  • Cash (typically $50 in various bills)

Open-First Box Planning Tips

Take a minute to plan out your list of what you will actually need in your Open-First box. Here’s a few call-outs that I’ve experienced in the past:

-Take a look at the beds in your home and note the tools you’ll need to reassemble them.

-Swipe through the real estate photos of your new home to make sure the bathrooms and bedrooms have some kind of window treatment for privacy. If not, either plan on installing them the first day or getting some inexpensive tension rods and draping spare sheets over them temporarily.

-If you can’t arrange for your kids and pets to stay with a family member while you’re moving, plan on taking a backpack of activities/toys/snacks for them so they can stay occupied. Take a crate for pets so they don’t accidentally get lost or in the way of movers.

-Make sure your water and electricity will be on during moving day. If you’re moving on a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll want to get your utilities taken care of ahead of time since most offices are closed on weekends.

Put the Open-First box in an easily accessible bathroom at the new house on moving day. That’s the best central location because everyone will be able to find it and it won’t get lost among the other boxes in other rooms.

Want MORE Moving Resources?

I got you, girl! I made a full printable moving planner that covers everything from house hunting, selling your current place, packing, and moving, along with everything in between. The Organized-ish Moving Planner is currently available on Etsy, and you can get it here.

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