The First Night in Your New Home

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After you’ve boxed everything up and moved to your new house, you don’t want to spend your first night unboxing half of your possessions trying to find your toothbrush. You might not even have the opportunity if all your things are still in the mover’s truck. It’s always a good idea to create a special list of “first night” items to figure out what you’ll need for your first night and morning in a new home.

Come up with this list by thinking about your basic daily routine: what don’t you want to live without? Obvious basics include medications, toiletries, bathing supplies, like towels and shampoo, and a few changes of clothes. What are you going to sleep on? If everyone has sleeping bags, there’s your answer. You’ll also want pillows, and perhaps extra blankets if it’s going to be cold.

“I’m Hungry”

What’s for dinner that first night, and breakfast the next morning? We won’t judge if you order pizza, but you’ll still need to make sure you have things like paper plates and napkins unless you want to pick them up at your destination. Something to sit on and a table to place your food on while you eat would be nice, though furniture, even folding furniture, does take up a lot of room. Camp chairs might not fit in a subcompact along with everything else you’ll need that first night, but if you have room in an SUV, they can make your first evening a lot more comfortable.

“I’m Boooooooored”

There’s something you don’t want to hear from your kids after a stressful move. Children, especially young ones, need a few toys and games to keep them occupied. Portable video game systems could work, but why not bring a few board games instead? Relax and enjoy some time together before everyone jumps back into their own lives.

Younger children might also need something to provide them with a sense of security, such as a favorite stuffed animal or blanket. Talk to your kids before you pack everything, explain the situation, and let them pick a few items to bring for the first few nights in their new room. Even if their choices seem a bit silly, anything that provides a bit of mental comfort is a good choice.

What About Fluffy?

Don’t forget your pets. Many animals don’t cope well with change, and if they’re adjusting to a new environment without any chew toys, a scratching post, or other items to keep them calm, they may cause unnecessary damage. They deserve something soft to sleep on too, so bring their beds or some old blankets. They’ll need food and water dishes, and cats also need a litter box.

cat-in-moving-box
Photo by Ehsan/Flickr

Going the Distance

For long distance moves, which we’ll define as moves that require more than a day’s worth of driving, you’ll want to add more of some items, and eliminate others completely. You’ll want extra clothes, for example, and extra food for your pets. Unlike your pets, you’ll be eating out, so you probably won’t need anything from the kitchen, even paper plates.

Your car is probably air conditioned, but the cargo areas of moving vans and trucks typically aren’t. If you have items that are sensitive to heat, you may want to bring them with you, and put them inside the car rather than the trunk, especially if you’re moving during summer. The same principle applies for cold: anything that might not respond well to freezing temperatures should ride with you. Even if you don’t necessarily need these things with you the first night, the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing they’re safe is worth the hassle.

Consider too that you might need to access work files at some point during a long-distance move, which means taking any relevant files with you or making copies for the drive. If you have a laptop, accessing computer files is easy, but if you work on a desktop, lugging it, the monitor, and keyboard around is going to take up a lot of room in your car. It’ll be inconvenient, but if there’s a chance you might need it, at least try not to bury it under everything else.

Whatever Makes Life Easier

It’s okay to have a Zen approach to what you bring for your first night: whatever feels good, man. Sometimes there are things you want to bring with you, rather than things you need, and that’s okay. Your goal should be to make your first night and morning more pleasant, and you get to define what that means for you and your family.

Featured photo by Jeff Werner/Flickr

About the author

Will moved from California to Iowa, back to California, and then to Tennessee, his current home. When he’s not moving around the country, his interests are history, fast cars, and baseball.