You made it! The big move went smoothly and here you are, waking up for the first time in your new house. You toss off the covers and head downstairs to start brewing some coffee—only to realize the Keurig is nowhere to be found.
What started as a memorable morning soon turns into a scene you’d rather forget: tearing through box after box with no luck before you’re forced out into the world, uncaffeinated, in search of the closest place to get your fix.
“I remember one couple who got into a really big fight the morning after their move because one of them wanted cereal and the other had packed away all the spoons,” says Christine Daves, a professional organizer and owner of Think Organized.
The good news is that with a little planning, postmove scenes like this can be easily avoided. We got the dish from the pros about the essential items you shouldn’t pack on moving day—and there are a couple of surprises.
Toiletries and medications
“I always tell clients to pack a suitcase like you’re going out of town for two days, and longer if the move is cross-country,” Daves says. “Your toothbrush might be [in a box] in the garage and your PJs might be in the kitchen. It’s just easier if everything you need is in one place—your suitcase.”
Make sure you also include a generous supply of toilet paper and hand soap so you aren’t caught off guard.
And don’t forget to toss any medications or supplements in your overnight bag.
“Prescriptions are a really big one,” notes Branden Hedberg of Hedberg Moving Solutions, in New Brighton, MN.
Make sure you keep at least one form of identification on you during the move, especially if you’re renting a moving truck or anything else that’s going to require an ID.
Also, make sure you have any necessary documents—for both your new and old places—accessible at all times, Hedberg suggests.
In the same vein, it’s best to keep anything of importance or value out of moving boxes and off the truck. Money, jewelry, or small family heirlooms can mysteriously disappear between point A and point B.
Keep them with you, or put them in a safe deposit box. (If you’re moving across town, you may want to get a new safe deposit box and relocate your treasures there before you move.)
Basic cleaning supplies
The house you move into should (hopefully) be cleaned before you arrive. But movers will be traipsing in and out of your house all day, and that will inevitably create a bit of mess.
If you keep a vacuum—or even just a broom and a dustpan—on hand, you can sweep everything up on moving day and won’t have to worry about waking up to a mess. Plus, isn’t starting with a clean slate what moving’s all about?
A shower curtain
This one’s remarkably easy to forget and pack away: If the showers in your new home aren’t enclosed with glass doors, make sure to keep a shower curtain with hooks—or at least a liner—handy for those first couple of nights. Keep towels out of the moving boxes, too—or be darned sure you know where they are.
Comforting items for the little ones
That means favorite stuffed animals and any blanket or pillow your kids are particularly attached to. It’ll make the first night in an unfamiliar place a lot less scary, Daves says.
A utility knife and a marker
Sounds strangely specific, right? Well, these two items are going to make unpacking feel like a breeze.
“If you’re going to dive into unpacking right away, you’ll want a utility knife out—a couple of them, even, because you’ll set them down and get distracted,” Daves says.
She also likes to keep a marker handy to mark boxes that have been unpacked. Her method: Fill up empty boxes with the disposable moving supplies (e.g., bubble wrap) and mark them with a big X once they’re ready to be taken out to the trash or for recycling.
We don’t think you’d actually put these in a moving box. But no one wants that “oh crap” moment when your phone or laptop is dead and you have no idea where you put the charger. Make sure you (and your kids) know where these sanity-saving items are before you make the move.
There are only so many nights you can eat pizza while hovering over the box, or Chinese food straight from the containers. Don’t be the couple who fight; have disposable plates, cups, cutlery, and paper towels on hand from the get-go.
If you’re especially efficient and manage to unpack your dishware on Day 1, make sure you have dish soap and sponges on hand to clean them.
Imagine clipping on your dog’s leash and getting Rover excited for his afternoon walk only to realize that you have absolutely no idea where the doggie bags are. Don’t risk being the new neighbor who doesn’t pick up after their pup—leave the doggie bags out of the moving boxes. (Make sure you don’t pack his food and water bowls, either).
Trust us: At the end of moving day, you’ll want this handy.
Want to know more about moving and our ultimate check list? Stay connected with us for our weekly Blog!