How to Pack for Your First Night in a New Home

If you’re getting ready to buy a new house, you’ll want to begin the packing and preparation process as soon as possible. Starting early will help you stay organized throughout the process, and will give you plenty of opportunities to make corrections as you get closer to your move date. Beyond that, it will make your work much more manageable, and reduce the stress you feel as you get closer to your move.

Ideally, you’ll pack in a way that keeps you as organized as possible, while also providing you what you need as you need it throughout the moving process.

Packing Priorities

Let’s start by establishing three “tiers” of packing priorities:

Long-term storage. Long-term storage includes things you own but rarely use in practice. For example, your board game collection, your extra glassware, and your Christmas decorations can all be included in boxes for up to a few months without anyone missing them.

Regular needs. These are things that you use on a semi-regular basis, but you can do without them for a solid week without breaking a sweat. These include things like your secondary electronic devices, most of your furniture, and most of your clothes.

Immediate needs. Then there are immediate needs, which you’ll need to have on-hand throughout your entire move. We’ll dig deeper into these options in the next section.

You can start packing your long-term storage as soon as you know you’re going to move, sometimes months in advance. Your regular needs can be packed next, over the course of a couple of months or the weeks leading up to your move. Only pack your immediate needs a day or two before you’re ready to move, and keep them with you.

In all cases, make sure you use strong containers; if you’re working with a moving company, they may have specific boxes to provide you. Otherwise, you can invest in durable plastic totes, or look for sturdy boxes from businesses in the area.

Identifying Your Immediate Needs

Now, let’s look at your immediate needs. These are the items you’ll want to pack for your first night in a new home. Ideally, you’ll take everything you need while still minimizing the number of boxes you have to transport. Each person should have roughly 1-2 boxes or bags to bring if you do things right. Again, make sure these are clearly labeled and kept separate from the boxes being moved by your moving company (if applicable).

In case of a mix-up with the rest of your packages, or if you don’t plan on unpacking for some time, it’s a good idea to include everything you need for a full week.

Make sure you include these essentials for yourself:

Basic travel needs. Remember to bring your wallet, including some cash, credit cards, your driver’s license, and your keys. You won’t get far without them.

Toothpaste and toothbrushes. Other dental needs, including floss and mouthwash, obviously apply.

Toiletries. Bring soap, shampoo, and anything else you need to stay clean.


Chargers and devices.

Clothes for a week. Be sure to have a few sets of clothes for different occasions, with some extra socks and underwear in case you need them before you’re able to tap into the rest of your packages.

A first aid kit. Buy a first aid kit or put one together yourself. You never know when you might need one, and you’ll be glad you have it if you do.

Additionally, you’ll want some supplies for your family, like:

Snacks. Don’t worry too much about food staples, but bring some snacks for the journey.

Sheets, blankets, etc. Depending on how the move went, you may want to bring some sleeping bags in case your beds aren’t ready.

Trash bags.


Toilet paper.

Light bulbs. Your home may or may not be outfitted with the lights necessary to keep your living areas lit during the night.

A multi-tool (including a can opener). Bring along a Swiss army knife or something similar that can help you open cans, cut packages, and tend to other miscellaneous issues that might crop up.

Basic cleaning supplies. The previous homeowner likely cleaned things up adequately, but you can never be sure. Some basic cleaning supplies will make sure you’re ready for just about anything.

If you have kids, you’ll want to bring a bag for them that includes all the items we covered in the “personal” section above. In addition, you’ll want things to keep them entertained, like toys.

Making the Most of Your First Night

After the hassle and stress of moving, your first night should feel incredible. There are a few things you can do to make things even easier on yourself, and turn this into a night your family will remember forever:

Go meet the neighbors. It’s not as common as it used to be, but your neighbors will probably appreciate it; go say hi and introduces yourselves.

Get takeout. Sure, you could try and pack a bunch of ingredients for a home-cooked meal, but that’s only going to make things harder. Instead, commit to getting takeout.

Don’t worry about unpacking. Feel free to unpack your immediate needs boxes and suitcases, but don’t worry about anything else quite yet. There will be plenty of time to get acclimated and unpack.

Play a game. You may or may not have access to typical forms of entertainment, like television and Wi-Fi, so consider playing a game with your family. Bring along a deck of cards, or make a game out of unpacking or exploring the house.


If you’re still in the process of selling your current home, or if you’re actively looking for a new home to buy, you’ll likely need some guidance to make the best decision—and find better deals. Contact Green Residential today to get in touch with one of our buying- or selling-focused real estate agents, and we’ll help take the stress out of your transition.