Plan Your First Night in Your New Home

First Night Box - young couple sitting on the floor next to moving boxes - Mayflower

The first night or weeks in your new home is exciting and busy and maybe even a bit overwhelming. The last thing you need is for it to feel chaotic. After all of your planning and decision making for this move, you can finally start to relax and enjoy your new house. Before that first night arrives, you’ll want to have all of your essentials close at hand. A first night moving kit may be the single most important box in your move. It is no doubt a must-have for a smooth transition for everyone — including pets in your household!

We’ve created some suggestions to help you plan your first night moving boxes and alleviate some of the stress that could come from digging through endless boxes just to find your toothbrush or bedsheets.

The most important thing to know about your first night moving boxes is that it should travel with you, especially if you and your family are arriving at your home before the movers.

If that’s not possible with your type of move (e.g., you’re flying or don’t have enough room in your car), this kit should be the last thing loaded on to the moving truck. The purpose of the first night boxes is to have what you need where you can easily get to it, when you need it.

Moving Tip: Make sure you have not packed any items your moving company cannot transport. For a list of items Mayflower cannot move due to health or safety regulations, refer to our restricted items checklist.

What is a First Night Box?

Your first night box contains everything you will want to easily access the first day and night you spend in your new home. The first night kit does not need to be a box; you could choose a suitcase, plastic tub, or even a storage trunk depending on what you need to pack. Remember, you may not be able to find everything you need quickly in all the boxes you’ve just moved. Don’t let your boxes bully you! Take charge of your first 24 hours or weeks and create enjoyable memories in your new space.

It’s especially important to prepare for your first night or weeks at your new home well ahead of time when you are moving with children and/or pets. It’s no fun scrambling to find your son’s sacred sleep time teddy bear or your dog’s calming toy after you’ve just moved.  After such a busy day, everyone involved in your move will likely be a little restless and hungry. Organizing and separately packing personal items and a few household necessities will dramatically reduce the stress level.

The checklists we’ve developed for your first night or weeks covers everything from sleep machines, electronics and chargers to toilet paper, linens and cleaning necessities. We’ve thought of everything, so you don’t have to. It’s important to enjoy your first night and feel a sense of accomplishment. Searching for a clean bath towel or your comfy pajamas puts a damper on the excitement of your first night or weeks in your new home.

Be sure to customize your first night boxes based on you and/or your family’s needs and circumstances. You may need to include exactly what we suggest or put your own unique spin on it, but any way you plan it, just make sure you have everything nearby and in one place.

Go ahead and pop the bubbly! You’ve got the essentials covered, and now it’s time to celebrate!

Packing Cleaning Supplies

One of the first things you’ll likely want to do before unpacking your moving boxes is some basic cleaning. Heavy-duty cleaning can wait. Instead, on your first night in your new home, strive for a quick scrub down of necessary surfaces. This will be just enough cleaning for one night, and it will not take too long, allowing you time to get to bed at a decent hour.

Along with packing cleaning supplies, it’s also a good idea to bring some toolbox standards. There may be some immediate household repairs that need attention, so preparing for that possibility can be helpful in an otherwise potentially stressful situation. You’ll have plenty of time to fix any major issues, change that outdated paint color in the kitchen and re-carpet the guest room, so focus only on your critical “punch list” items the first night.

The following is a list of items we recommend for home cleaning and maintenance on the first night in your new house:

Packing Bedding and Linens

A good night’s sleep will be critical as you embark the next few days on unpacking and settling into your new home. Make sure you are clear on whether the movers will assemble your beds or if you are responsible for setting them up. Additionally, be sure to have bed linens for every member of the family so everyone experiences a sense of coziness the first night.

Paying close attention to everyone’s sleeping arrangements can help the first evening be as pleasant as possible. For example, if you are relocating with small children, make sure the portable sleeper set is easily accessible. And if you have pets, don’t forget to set aside their beds or crates. Pets need a good night’s rest, too!

  • Sheets, pillows, blankets and comforters for the beds (or a sleeping bag).
  • Air mattress, folding bed or portable bed (if your primary bed is not going to be assembled or arrives after you move in).
  • Air pump for the air mattress.
  • Hairdryer, vacuum or shop vac if you are without an air pump.

Packing Meals and Snacks

Now that sleeping arrangements have been organized for your first night at your new home, consider eating arrangements. Your freezer and refrigerator may not be up and running on your first night and unpacking your dishes and kitchen necessities will not be on the top of your to-do list that first night. Therefore, you may want to consider eating out or ordering in for your first few meals. Visiting your local eateries is an excellent way to get familiar with your neighborhood and helps eliminate the stress of not only unpacking your cookware but also cleaning up afterward.

If going out or delivery isn’t an option, packing a can opener along with these suggested non-perishable food items is the way to go. Keep in mind, foods that require a microwave for heating may not be usable if your appliances are not installed yet.

  • Peanut butter.
  • Canned or pouched tuna, salmon or chicken.
  • Canned veggies.
  • Canned fruit (low sugar).
  • Canned legumes such as lentils and beans.
  • Instant oatmeal.

For snack time, pack portable, high-protein food items and lots of water to keep everyone hydrated. Granola bars, beef jerky, trail mix, crackers and popcorn are the sort of things you and your family will appreciate having on hand.

You will definitely need some paper plates, disposable cups, napkins and utensils. If you prefer reducing waste over dishwashing, bring reusable camping utensils and dishes instead of disposable.

For your little ones, sippy cups, bottles, bibs and formula are essential. And for your pets, placing food and water in their “familiar” dishes helps to keep them calm during the transition.

Packing Personal Items

Aside from food essentials, your personal items will need to be packed. Have your toothpaste and toothbrush, soap and shampoo and a brush or comb packed in your personal bag(s) along with your pajamas and next day clothing. But you’ll need more than that to get comfortable and settle in. We suggest these additional personal items to pack in your first night kit:

  • Toilet paper and paper hand towels.
  • Bath towels, washcloths.
  • Sleeping accessories such as a breathing machine or sound machine.
  • Cosmetics and other beauty items.
  • Personal electronic devices including laptops.
  • Medications including all of your and/or your family’s prescriptions.
  • Chargers for computers, phones and other electronics.
  • Important files and documents, such as school records, insurance policies, title documents, etc.

Of course, having easy access to personal items for your kiddos is key to a smooth transition. Moving can be disruptive to your family’s routine, and you’ll be thankful you packed soothing, comforting items to help with the adjustments of moving day.

  • Favorite toy or blanket.
  • Books or tablets.
  • Clothing and pajamas.
  • Diapers and bag for dirty diapers.
  • Wipes.
  • Pacifiers.
  • Bath items.
  • Stroller and carrier.
  • Breast pump and breastfeeding pillow.
  • Nighttime necessities.

Last but not least, you will need a first aid kit, complete with:

  • Pain killers.
  • Bandages and ointments.
  • Anti-itch cream.

Your pets will appreciate a few personal items too! Consider these items when packing for your pets:

  • Carrier or crate (if needed).
  • Collar or harness and leash.
  • Toys for your dog to chew on.
  • Poop bags or kitty litter box with scooper.
  • Blanket or crate pad.

When all is said and done, make sure your first night boxes are the last ones loaded on the moving truck before the doors are closed. You’ll want to be able to get to it as soon as you arrive at your new home.

Welcome home!

For additional moving advice and tips for a successful move, we’ve created these easy-to-follow moving checklists:

Our Official Moving Checklist

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