The First Night Box: The What, Why and When + A free printable checklist

As I’ve mentioned before, we recently moved to a new home.

It was kind of a spur of the moment decision. We were planning on moving sometime this year but there was no set month in which we were going to.

Then we found this place and it was like, “That’s the one!

And then I only had less than a month to get everything packed up while still trying to maintain a semi-normal household throughout the chaos of boxes everywhere and the mess that comes with packing.

It was a little simpler two years ago when we also moved as I had two months to get everything boxed up and ready, with only two kids at that stage. This time it was less than a month and three kids. Hectic times! And Hubby Byren went on a business trip to Germany in the third last week of May so it was chaos at its best at home.

Yet we did it. Everything was packed up in time and the recurring stress of the actual move day still loomed over my head.

We did things a little differently with this move, by getting in a moving company to help with relocating all our things, and even though we were moving to a place 15 minutes away from the old one, it was one of the best decisions we made.

The other best decision I made for the move was packing a ‘first night box‘.

I never packed one for the previous move and the first night and day was crazy! The only things I packed separately for us all were our clothes and a few essential toiletries. Had I only thought then to pack such an important box, my life would’ve been easier during that move.

If you’ve never heard of it before, read on because it will make your first night, and day, a lot easier.

So let’s talk about the….


The first night box is the box you’ll pack with all the essentials you’ll need for your first night and the next day while you’re still finding your feet after the move.

The last thing you’ll want to be doing is hunting down boxes to find items you desperately need and you can’t find anything!


The most important thing to remember about this box is to have it loaded last or let it travel with you.

The point is to have it easily accessible to you when you need your things.

You never know what could happen; the moving van can be delayed, unexpected complications arise and you’re sitting with your already full hands overflowing!


The rule of thumb is to pack your first night box 24 hours before the move.

It will contain most items that you use on a daily basis so packing this box last will make sense.

So what goes into your first night box?

As I’ve mentioned previously, this box will have all the essentials you’ll need for your first night and the next day.

Here’s a list of things you can pack in your first night box:

Toiletries – shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, wash cloth, sponge, towels, etc.

Clothes – pajamas, next day clothes (although it might take up some space in the box if there are a few of you, I packed our clothes into a travel bag for quicker access)

Cleaning products – if you’re using a moving company, you’re not allowed to pack cleaning products in the van, but besides that, if you need to quickly clean something at the new place, everything is at hand

Bedding – I only packed the kids bedding in our first night box so I could make sure their beds were ready for the night, and ours in a separate clearly marked box for easy finding.

First-aid kit – you’re moving and if you have your kids with you, accidents happen

Paper plates, paper towels – who wants to be doing dishes?

Toilet paper – need I explain this one?

Snacks – moving is hard on everyone and when those kids get hungry, you have something for them to snack on at hand.

Tea, coffee, sugar, milk, mugs – so it’s right there when you need it.

Camp lights, candles, matches – you get to your new place and there’s no power, but at least you have a source of light

Electronics – chargers, laptops, etc

Expensive items – okay so you might not need anything for those first 24 hours,  but you’ll know it’s safe with you and won’t get lost or misplaced

Pet supplies – pet food, bowls (remember to wash and wrap them first)

You can pack anything I haven’t mentioned above in that you might need for your first night for your family. Whatever you’ll be needing to survive the first 24 hours at your new place.

Good luck with your move and happy packing!

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