Cardboard, bubble wrap, and newspaper. That’s what I’ve been up to my eyeballs in this past week as we’ve slowly been moving in to our new-yet-temporary home. It feels really good to finally be using some of our own stuff again instead of squatting at other people’s homes — but it doesn’t make moving any less chaotic.
My husband and I have moved seven times in seven years of marriage. Two of those moves have been major transatlantic moves, hauling our small smattering of earthly possessions 6,000 miles each way. Two others have been cross-country moves, trekking a moving truck 1,000 miles each way. This is simply to say that we’ve been through most everything when it comes to moving.
Yet each time, I forget about those basic things you want to have on hand that first week, when I honestly don’t know where anything is. Every move I make, I’m reminded of that feeling of chaos, of helplessness, of not being able to do the most basic of things (drink of water, anyone?) without certain items within arm’s reach.
So here’s my list of those absolutely essential things you want to have on hand from Day 1 of moving into a new place. These are the things you’ll want to bring in your first load, and will want to locate easily all throughout the moving process.
Basic to human survival
Photo by Pascal
• water — If you can drink water straight out of the faucet, consider yourself blessed. If you need some sort of filtering system to make it palatable, bring a Brita pitcher. If your water is laced with arsenic, as it was in our most recent host country, then find out STAT how to find water you can drink without poisoning yourself.
• cups or bottles for drinking water
• sippy cups for your little ones
• dried snacks that don’t require utensils
• basic food stuffs — bread, peanut butter, apples, nuts, crackers, granola, yogurt, and milk do the trick for our family.
• nonbreakable plates, bowls, and utensils — It’s nice to not worry about storing your regular dishes somewhere where kids can’t accidentally knock them over (and with boxes everywhere, chances are high). Picnicware is great for this.
So that you can actually function
Photo by Linus Bohman
• cell phones
• a designated spot for flashlights, keys, and cell phones – Amidst the chaos, these things are easily lost. Claim one counter or shelf as the place for all of these things.
• light bulbs
• toilet paper
Photo by Barret Anspach
• paper towels and/or cloth rags
• all-purpose cleaner*
• glass cleaner*
• floor cleaner*
* Shameless plug — I’ve got homemade recipes for these — and tons more — in my ebook
• basic towels for the kitchen
In order to spend the night in your new place
Photo by Andy
• bedding for the kids — pillows, blankets, and some sort of pallet (a mattress on the floor, a sleeping bag, whatever). Include their “thing” they have to sleep with, such as a blankie or stuffed animal. It would be a long night without those in our home.
• curtains for the kids’ room — If your kids wake at sunrise, do your best to outfit their room with curtains as soon as possible.
• jammies for the kids
• change of clothes for the kids — Actually, you might want several changes on hand, if you think they may get messy throughout the day.
• favorite toys and books for the kids — Just a few of their best-loved items to keep them occupied and happy.
• nightlights for the kids — If they need them
• bedding for the adults
• jammies for the adults
• one hand towel per bathroom
• one bath towel per person
• basic toiletries — toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, and the like
I can’t say we’ve remembered all of this ahead of time for this current move of ours, but we’ve done fairly well. If you’ve got a move on the horizon, perhaps this list will get you going for those first few days of “survival mode” in your new place.
You’ve all moved before… What would you add to this list?