Your Open First Box must surely contain something with which to toast your new home

What is an Open Me First Box?

An open-me-first box is also known as a Moving Day Survival Box, A First Night Box, or a Moving Day Essentials Box.

Think of it as your moving day survival kit and home move comfort blanket, your link between the familiar and ‘cannot do without for 24 hours items’ from your old life, and your new life in your new home.

It should contain items to help you deal with any eventuality that may arise and also provide essentials like food and drink.

It is the one house moving box you cannot afford to misplace or forget to pack.

Without a doubt, this is the most important box to pack when moving home.

Cost Estimator

Enter route details for best prices

Save up to 40% off moving costs.
Save up to 40% off moving costs.

Save time and money on your move

Save up to 40% on your upcoming move and get a quote from reputable moving experts.

As Featured On:

as seen in

Why Do You Need a Moving Day Essentials Box?

Meticulous planning is essential for a successful home move

You need a Moving Day Essentials Box because Moving Day rarely follows your foolproof plan.

I once moved home entirely on my own with no time restrictions for leaving my old home or arriving at my new home.

I was in total control of every step of the home move, or so I thought.

But being obsessed with planning for every eventuality, I still packed a moving day emergency kit with everything I thought I could possibly need if for some bizarre reason, my van and contents were abducted by aliens and I was left with just this one bag.

Although why I thought ET would leave me with this one bag at the side of the road, I cannot recall.

To cut a very long story short, I did not arrive at my new home at the crack of dawn, fresh from a good night’s sleep and ready to unpack all the moving boxes by the end of the first day.

I actually arrived exhausted, during the middle of the night to a home with no bed, no electricity or gas, the van having broken down on its journey, and the arrival time at my new home dictated by the recovery vehicle.

But boy, was I glad for the roll mat, sleeping bag, toilet roll, torch, snacks, corkscrew, and a bottle of wine that was in my open first bag.

It pays to be organized when moving home!

There are so many things that are deemed essential for a well-planned home move……..

Getting an estimated moving cost from a reputable moving company…..

Knowing the right questions to ask your home removal company…..

Thoroughly researching reputable removal firms…..

Creating a moving home checklist and planner……

Decluttering your home before your house move……..

Knowing how to pack fragile items……

…..the list can go on and on.

And it is true that many elements of moving home are essential for a smooth and stress-free moving day, a sum of the parts if you like.

Each part of the home moving jigsaw has a place and you can only complete the jigsaw successfully if none of the parts are missing.

But having a successful moving day is only part of the story, it does not end there, you have a new home that you will arrive at with none of the daily essentials to hand.

Unless you have packed an open first box of course.

What to Pack in Your Moving Day Essentials Box

Ensure that your moving day survival box is not loaded onto the removal lorry

This list is purely what I personally pack, usually in a holdall as it is easier to carry with me and will squash into the car more easily than a box, but you may be less paranoid than me, or have different priorities as to what you deem as essentials for your first night in your new home, and therefore to have with you.

Most of the stuff I pack is camping equipment so it is lightweight and packs into a small space.

But I hope this gives you some ideas.

The Moving House Essentials Box is the box or holdall, that should remain with you at all times on moving day. Ensure that it is not loaded onto the removal lorry.

Moving Day Survival Box Suggestions

  • Inflatable roll mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Empty pillow case (takes up less space and can be stuffed with clothes to make a pillow)
  • Wash kit
  • Towel
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet roll
  • Drinks – water, coffee, sugar
  • Snacks/food – enough to last at least 24 hours
  • Camping stove and spare gas
  • Cooking pot and utensils (including multi-purpose knife)
  • Corkscrew/bottle opener
  • Eating utensils and mug
  • Washing up kit (fill a small container with washing up liquid rather than have a whole bottle)
  • First aid kit
  • Multi-tool
  • Zip ties
  • Duct tape
  • Basic tool-kit
  • Assortment of batteries
  • Some new padlocks
  • Door wedges (for securing doors until the locks are changed)
  • Scissors or craft knife for opening boxes
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Notebook and pen
  • List of emergency contact numbers
  • Spare wallet with a credit card and a small amount of cash in case you lose your main wallet in the moving day melee.
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Battery bank for charging the phone
  • A couple of lightbulbs (just in case the previous homeowner has not left theirs behind – it happens!)
  • And of course a celebratory bottle of vino! (wrapped in the towel for safety)

All the liquids are kept in ziplock bags in case of spillage.

And just to prove how paranoid I can be, when embarking on a long-distance move, I have even packed a tent on occasion in case I could not get the keys to my new home on moving day!

If you have labeled all your other moving boxes correctly, and have been super-organised and made a list of each item in each box, make sure that list is also in this box so that you can go straight to the numbered box to find exactly what you are looking for when you get to your new home.

You may also like to read: How to Label Moving Boxes – An Easy and Foolproof Method. In this guide, we share with you an easy way to label your moving boxes so that you can easily see which room they should be placed into and in what order they should be unpacked.

Moving Home With Important Documents and Valuables

This box would contain anything of particularly high value or importance that you will want to keep within sight throughout the entire moving day.

It should travel with you and not in the removal van.

Your box may include items such as:

  • Jewellery
  • Laptops
  • Birth certificates
  • Driving licences
  • Passports
  • Home insurance documents
  • Documents that are irreplaceable
  • It may even contain family heirlooms or sentimentally irreplaceable items

It is a good idea to keep your moving home binder in this box in case you need easy access to it on moving day.

You may also like to read: How to Organise Important Documents When Moving Home. In this guide, we suggest the best way to sort and transport important documents to your new home.

Options for Packing a Moving Day Essentials Box

You may also like to pack an essentials box for your children or pets

Of course, if you have children or pets you need to take into account their needs, and each member of the family could have their own moving day care package.

Don’t forget to include any medications that your family needs to take regularly.

How to Prepare an Open First Box For Your Pets

Within this first night box would be:

  • Pet food
  • A water bottle
  • A feeding bowl
  • Bottle of fresh water
  • Pet toys
  • Bedding

Dogs especially need familiarity, it is not only humans who can suffer from relocation depression, so having the smells from your old home will help calm and reassure your best friend.

A piece of your clothing for the pet to sleep with on the first night in their new home can be especially calming for them.

You may also like to read: The Complete Guide on How to Dog-Proof Your New Home, Garden and Car. From how to dog-proof a balcony to cables, this guide offers essential tips to keep your dog safe and protect your new home from your dog.

How to Pack a First Night Box For Your Children

Include anything that will help keep the kids occupied and make the transition to their new life easier for them in the first few hours in your new home.

You may wish to include:

  • Toys or games
  • A favourite book
  • Changes of clothing
  • A treat or two
  • Drinks
  • Snacks
  • Wet wipes
  • Favourite bedding
  • Nightwear
  • A bedside lamp
  • Curtains for their bedroom

Pack things that will give your child a sense of normality, of familiarity. Moving home can be unsettling for children so have things in their moving day box that give them a sense of security.

You may also like to read: How to Childproof a New Home – Room By Room. In this guide, we offer tips for child-proofing each room in your home to keep them safe.

You may also want to pack an open first box for each room. Here are a few suggestions for items to put in those boxes:

What to Pack in a Kitchen Open First Box

An absolutely essential item to keep close to hand on moving day
  • Cooking Pot
  • Cooking utensils
  • Selection of easy-cook food and snacks
  • Kettle
  • Tea, Coffee, Milk, and sugar
  • Cups or mugs
  • Paper plates and utensils
  • Wet wipes
  • Kitchen paper
  • All-purpose knife
  • Corkscrew, bottle opener, and can opener
  • Washing up kit (in a ziplock bag just in case there are leaks)

You may also like to read: How to Pack a Kitchen for Moving Home – The Ultimate Guide. In this guide, we offer packing tips for every item commonly found in the kitchen. It is essential reading if you are packing your kitchen yourself.

What to Put in a Bedroom Open First Box

  • Bed linen
  • Pillows
  • Nightwear
  • Inflatable bed
  • A good book
  • Bedside lamp
  • Extension Lead
  • Children’s comfort toy
  • Curtains (for each bedroom to ensure privacy and a good night’s rest)

You may also like to read: How to Pack a Bedroom For Moving – The Ultimate Guide. In this guide, we offer packing tips for every item commonly found in the bedroom.

What to Pack in Your Bathroom First Night Box

  • Soap, shower gel, shampoo
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Towels
  • Toilet Rolls
  • Shower Curtain

(It is a good idea to put all the liquids in a ziplock bag just in case the bottles leak)

You may also like to read: How to Pack a Bathroom for Moving – The Ultimate Guide. Packing the bathroom may seem like the easiest room in the home, but leaking bottles of shampoo and a broken mirror can soon ruin moving day. Avoid common packing mistakes by following the essential tips in this guide.

What to Pack in Your Cleaning Supplies Open First Box

  • Wet wipes
  • Refuse sacks
  • Multipurpose cleaner
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Roll of J-Cloths
  • Hand sanitizer

Remember to keep the vacuum cleaner and floor mop handy as well, these should be some of the last things to be loaded.

Essentials Box Packing tip: Keep an eye on the weather forecast for moving day, then pack appropriate clothing, umbrella, or suncream (this is the UK, who am I kidding?) for the forecasted weather.

You may also like to read: How to Deep Clean a Home When Moving. In this guide, we share not only some cleaning tips but also some recipes for eco-friendly cleaning products that you may find useful.

What to Pack in a Moving Day Essentials Box for Friends Who Are Moving Home

A box of a few essential items and a few luxuries makes a thoughtful gift for friends moving home

A box of useful items with a few treats makes a great gift for friends who are moving home.

You may want to include items such as:

  • A box of chocolates
  • A bottle of wine
  • Some nice bubble bath or shower gel
  • Fragrant candles
  • A photo of you all together to display in their new home
  • Or how about a fun new board game?

You know your friends best but try to think of things they will appreciate and that will make the first night in their new home super special.

You may also like to read: 22 Really Useful Ways to Help a Friend Move Home. In this guide, we suggest 22 ways that will really make the home moving process easier for your friend and the best part is that you do not need to lift a single box!

Final Tips About Moving Day Essential Boxes

It is a good idea to clearly label which are your open first boxes and which room or person they belong to.

These should be kept separate from the other boxes to be loaded onto the removal van and will ideally travel with you to your new home in the car

If that is not an option then they should be loaded onto the removal van last.

They then will be the first to be unloaded and again should be segregated from the other boxes for easy access.

The essentials you need for your moving day survival kit are obviously going to depend upon your family’s needs, how you intend to move home, whether a self-move or using a reputable removal company, and what type of location you are moving to.

There is not a moving day survival box packing list that is universal and will fit everybody’s needs, but we hope the above lists will be a good guide to help you.

Why not leave your comments below telling us what goes into your open first box, it will be interesting to see whether anyone packs a foil helmet to stop the aliens from abducting their removal van!

Ready to get a free quote for your move?

Answer a few questions, compare quotes and receive competitive price estimates.

Request a moving quote

More about the author


  1. Thank You!!! I felt like I was so disorganized & overwhelmed that I had no idea WHERE TO START OR HOW TO KEEP TRACK OF THINGS I WOULD NEED IN FIRST FEW DAYS. Your advice & tips saved the day!!

Share your thoughts by leaving a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you need help with your upcoming move? Call now +1 (800) 680-6439 +1 (800) 680-6439
Get a free quote and moving consultation. We are available 24/7.
Find Movers
Get a Quote
Click to call +1 (800) 680-6439*

*At RemovalReviews we will connect you with a professional moving company. Please note that we may not be affiliated with and you may be speaking with another licensed provider.

Best removals nearby