Moving is a hassle. There’s no way around it. It can seem like the perfect scenario for things to go wrong. Boxes get mislabeled, movers are delayed, and sometimes finding what you’re looking for can take hours of rummaging. The first night in your new house can feel especially overwhelming. Packing a “first night survival box” that travels with you separate from the rest of your belongings can be key in having the essentials on that first night.

Don’t pack away critical items like cell phone chargers.


  • Air mattress. This might seem like a splurge for only one or a handful of nights, but sometimes moving into a new house can mean days or even weeks of temporary sleeping arrangements. An air mattress is compact, lightweight, fairly inexpensive, and much more comfortable than sleeping on the floor.
  • Pillows, sheets, and blankets. Familiar bedding can make sleeping in a new space easier.
  • Pajamas. A given! But packing yours in the same place as your bedding will insure you have them when you need them.


  • Toiletries
  • Toilet paper
  • A shower curtain
  • Towels and bath rug


  • Disposable serving ware and silverware. Washing a heap of dishes is the last thing you need to worry about on the first night in a new house.
  • Food that is pre-made or easy to prepare. Even if you plan on takeout the first night, having snacks on hand is a good idea.
  • Ice chest and ice
  • Plenty of bottled water

Cleaning Supplies

There’s nothing worse than arriving late at your new abode only to discover a scuzzy kitchen sink or toilet that could use a good scrubbing. A few items that may come in useful for a quick surface-clean on the first night:

  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Paper towels or dish rags
  • Trash bags
  • Dust pan and brush
Don’t forget to pack cleaning supplies so you can give the new kitchen and bathrooms a once-over on moving day.

A few odds and ends to consider…

  • Phone charger. One of those items that tends to get misplaced in the chaos.
  • Candles or air fresheners. The smell of a new house can sometimes be the hardest thing to adjust to. A fragrance you enjoy can help make it feel like home.
  • Lightbulbs. Tenants have been known to take even lightbulbs with them when they vacate a house or apartment. Include a pack of bulbs in your box.
  • A good flashlight is one of those items that you’re unlikely to need, but you’ll certainly wish you had if the power goes out or isn’t turned on when you arrive at your new house. Don’t forget fresh batteries!

The first night spent in your new house doesn’t have to feel chaotic and disorganized. Be prepared with the essentials and the transition into your new house will be smooth and less stressful.

These tips are brought to you by Cheap Movers DC. We’ve collected these tips from years and years in the moving industry and working around lots of different moving companies

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