Packing for a move can be a stressful process, one that can often have you asking, “but where do I start?” An oft-overlooked but vitally important detail, your “Open-Me-First” carton (a carton of basic necessities you’ll need to get settled into your new place), should be on top of your list of priorities before moving day.  Here is a step-by-step guide to help you prepare and assemble your Open-Me-First carton.

Step 1: Packing Your Essentials

Here is a list of items we suggest to pack in your Open-Me-First carton that will be useful to you once you reach your new location.

  1. Drinks and snacks. It’s a good idea to bring along refreshments for yourself and the moving crew to get you through the exhausting first day.  Place these items in a cooler and empty your ice maker on the day of the move.
  2. Cleaning supplies. These can include a bucket, broom, hard-surface polishing solution (Windex), dishtowels, paper towels, air freshener, laundry detergent, and dishwashing liquid.
  3. Personal hygiene items and toiletries. Toilet paper, deodorant, basic cosmetics, soap, tissue boxes, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.
  4. First-aid kit. Hand sanitizer, adhesive bandages, cotton swabs, etc.
  5. Pet supplies. If you are a pet owner, be sure to have water and food bowls, as well as a leash, toys, bedding, and other supplies at the ready so your pet can feel welcome in its new home.
  6. Useful tools. You will need these to re-assemble your furniture. Bring along a hammer, assorted screwdrivers, pliers, and various screws.
  7. Children’s basics. If you are moving with children, have them pack their favourite books, toys, portable games, puzzles, or stuffed animals to keep themselves occupied as you settle in.
  8. Electronic devices and accessories. Remember to pack all chargers and adapters, whether for your phone, laptop, iPod, or personal tablet, as well as your modem so that you can access the  Internet. You can either pack your landline or insist that friends and family only contact you via your mobile phone during the first few days of your move.
  9. Miscellaneous essentials. Don’t forget to include small but key household items such as trash bags, light bulbs, batteries, a flashlight, a shower curtain, basic kitchen supplies, towels, and anything else you might need until you are fully unpacked.
  10. Bedding. If your move is scheduled to take a long time, set aside a large carton for bedding so that you can make the beds up without searching for linens and pillows.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using a permanent marker, identify your carton on top as well as on the side to avoid potential mix-up.
  • Remove all batteries from your electrical devices prior to the move.
  • Pack liquids separately and in a sealed, plastic bins.
  • Be sure that your movers are aware of your Open-Me-First carton so that it doesn’t mistakenly get put together with your other moving cartons.
  • Personally transport your Open-Me-First box to the new location to ensure that it arrives when you do, or simply load it onto the moving truck last, so that it will come off first.

Part of a series on packing your household goods, including: