What Not to Pack: Items to Keep Handy on Moving Day

Posted in Moving on May 29, 2018, tagged with checklists and printables, moving tips

What Not to Pack: Items to Keep Handy on Moving Day

When you are packing up your home ahead of a move, there are a few things you will want to have handy throughout the process and when your moving day arrives. Having to unpack multiple boxes partway through your move in search of an item you unexpectedly need can be time consuming and frustrating for everyone involved. Thankfully, you can easily avoid this situation with a little advanced planning.

Start by setting aside supplies you will or may need on your moving day, as well as a bag of personal items you’ll need within the first 24-48 hours of moving. You’ll also want to set aside bags for each of your kids and pets. Here’s what you should include in each kit:

Moving Day Kit

Your moving day kit should include anything you plan to use that day, or may conceivably need, such as:

  • Folder or binder of necessary moving day paperwork
  • Extra boxes in case one rips
  • Packing and masking tape
  • Markers and pens
  • Scissors and/or boxcutter
  • Small tool kit (with different types of screwdrivers, hammer, allen keys, etc)
  • Garbage bags
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Emergency first aid kit (bandages, antibiotic cream, pain relief medication, antihistamines, anti-nausea pills, etc)
  • Flashlights
  • Light bulbs
  • Enough cups, plates, and eating utensils for everyone in the family

Download our printable Moving Kit checklist:

Download checklist (PDF)

  • Snacks and bottled or boxed beverages
  • Coffee or tea
  • Coffee maker or kettle
  • Food that is nonperishable and easy to transport if you’re not going to be able to stop at a convenience store after arriving, such as cereal.
  • Shower curtain
  • Towels
  • Soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairdryer
  • Toilet paper
  • Wipes
  • A set of bed pillows and sheets for everyone
  • The contact information and location of a good takeout place near your new home so you don’t have to cook.
  • In the fall or winter, extra hats, gloves, and scarves.

Personal Kit

When you’re reaching the end of a move, unpacking can seem like an especially daunting task. You’re tired, you’ve had at least one or two long days this week, and you may be a little emotional—after all, moving is often a major event. You probably want to do the least amount of unpacking possible, have something to eat, get a good night’s sleep, and start figuring things out in the morning. Making up a personal kit for yourself, your kids, and your pets so you have quick access to the daily necessities is an easy way to accomplish this. Here’s what you should include: 

For Yourself

  • Keys
  • Wallet
  • Petty cash
  • Pajamas
  • A change of clothes (or multiple changes of clothes), including underwear and socks
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
  • If you use one while sleeping, your mouthguard
  • Any tampons, pads, or other personal hygiene items you may need
  • Deodorant/antiperspirant
  • Facewash
  • Moisturizer
  • Lip balm

Download our printable Personal Moving Kit checklist:

Download checklist (PDF)

  • Prescription medications
  • Electronics and their respective chargers (cell phone, laptop, eReader, etc)
  • If you’re a reader, your current book
  • Earplugs
  • Sleep mask


If your children aren’t old enough to pack their own bags but are old enough to be aware of the move, ask them for their input to help them feel more involved and in control of the situation. Help them make up a bag that includes their favorite things, such as:

  • Books
  • Toys and stuffed animals
  • Portable games
  • DVDs and music
  • Electronics
  • School supplies and homework (if it isn’t summer or winter break and they aren’t transferring schools)
  • Pajamas
  • Change(s) of clothes, including underwear and socks
  • Toothbrush
  • Night light

Depending on the age of your children, you will also want to set aside a bag of must-haves that they don’t necessarily need to access on their own, such as:

  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Baby food
  • Baby wipes
  • Changing pad
  • Washcloths
  • Pacifiers
  • Prescription medications
  • Any humidifiers or air purifiers they need
  • Baby monitors
  • Carriers, strollers, and chairs
  • Any other items your child requires on a daily basis

Download our printable Moving Kit for Kids checklist:

Download checklist (PDF)


Pets can’t prepare for a move by themselves, so put together a bag of all the essentials that will help them get through the day with minimal disruptions:

  • Food and water
  • Food and water dishes
  • Leash
  • Favorite toys
  • Litter and litter box and/or pet waste bags
  • Treats
  • Pet beds and blankets
  • Pet Carrier
  • Prescription medications
  • Any vet records or certifications you may need (these are especially important if you are moving out-of-state or out of the country)

Download our printable Moving Kit for Pets checklist:

Download checklist (PDF)

It’s In The Bag

Save yourself the hassle of having to unpack everything just to find pajamas to sleep in or to find a screwdriver because you unexpectedly need to take a door off a hinge. By sorting out items you know (or suspect) you’ll need on moving day and the days surrounding it, you’ll make your moving process a whole lot easier.

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