Moving isn’t easy. With a million tasks to juggle, people to deal with and things to remember, the big day can be majorly overwhelming. However, by being prepared, you can cut through a lot of the chaos and avoid many of the most common moving-day mishaps. To help, we’ve made a list of 16 must-have items, as well as a few things to say goodbye to (to make moving day a breeze!).
A (Clean) Place to Rest Your Head
Let’s face it: it’s unlikely that you’re going to get everything unpacked on day one (surviving the move is an accomplishment in itself!). The key to a successful day two is getting a good night’s rest and the key to that is having a proper bed to sleep on. Make rest a priority by setting aside a set of clean bed linens and pillows for every member of the family.
While moving is hardly a vacation, it’s a smart idea to pack a carry-on bag (and have your kids pack bags) as if it were. Think of it as the ultimate staycation: pack toiletries, a change of clothes, prescription medications, contact lens solution, soap and anything else you’ll need to make yourself comfortable.
Moving day can be stressful for pets – all the excitement and a new environment can be confusing and a bit scary. Help make the day less daunting for pets by being equipped with food, their water bowl, special treats and favourite toys.
Whether you’re looking for a returned security deposit or you want to avoid denting furniture and chipping paint on your first day in your new home, protective gear like padding, extra cardboard pieces and blankets are key. If you’re hiring movers, ask ahead before you hunt for these things yourself – they might have these supplies available to use during the move.
A Caffeine Boost
No matter how well-equipped you are, there’s no way around it: moving is exhausting. Be prepared to give yourself a pick-me-up by having designated supplies for making coffee (or tea or matcha or whatever you prefer) packed separately. Don’t forget the filters!
A Way In
You finally arrive at your brand new home, walk up the door and… you can’t get in. It might seem obvious, but keys are one of the easiest things to misplace on moving day – igniting a huge hassle. Keep old and new keys in a secure place (preferably on your body) so you’ll have them when you need them.
A Shower Curtain
Picture this: you’ve spent the past 12 hours dealing with movers, lugging boxes up and down stairs and sweating through the stress of moving day. You’re dirty, grimy and smelly – all you want to do is take a nice, hot shower to feel like a human again. The problem? You have no idea where you packed your shower curtain. Be smart and set a shower curtain aside with other bathroom essentials.
Speaking of bathroom essentials, one of the easiest things to forget about is toilet paper. Unpack a few rolls (as well as some hand soap and towels) first thing when you arrive.
Cold, Hard Cash
While you may use cards to pay for most things on a regular day, moving day is special – so it’s a good idea to hit the ATM in advance. From tipping movers to sending someone to grab pizza for the crew, cash on hand can save time and make things easier on the day.
Tools of the Trade
From taking apart and then assembling furniture to quick adjustments on cabinets and drawers, having a toolbox stocked with the essentials will save you a lot of trouble on moving day. You might even want to throw in a tool belt if you have one for added convenience (and style).
You’re going to use your phone more than usual on moving day – from calling movers to taking photos – so it’s important not to pack your charger in the bottom of a box. Keep essential electronic chargers together and easy to find to avoid low-battery blues.
Don’t be a hero: even if you’re super strong, moving hundreds of boxes and heavy furniture by hand is a recipe for back pain (and a slow move). If you’re moving without the help of professional movers, invest in renting, borrowing or buying a furniture dolly or cart to make the process much, much easier.
Related: Top 10 Unexpected Costs of Moving
Snacks and Hydration
Don’t forget to feed the troops! Pre-plan to have plenty of water, grab-and-go snacks and a few treats on hand to keep family, friends and movers energized. You don’t need to be fancy, either – ordering takeout like pizza is always a popular option.
Once you arrive at your new place, you’re going to want to start unpacking and settling in right away. Make yourself an unboxing kit filled with essentials like scissors, a craft knife, packing tape, garbage bags and cleaning supplies.
There are some papers that you probably won’t need right away, but that you absolutely can’t lose. Collect important documents like passports, birth certificates, medical records and financial documents and keep them separate and safe from the moving-day hubbub.
Toss: Clothes You’ll Never Wear Again
Now that you’re equipped with some of the key things you do need on moving day, take a moment to consider what you don’t. While it can be hard to let go of something you used to treasure, if you haven’t worn that fun-run T-shirt or pair or low-rise jeans in several years, is it really worth packing it up and lugging it to your new place? Before you move, think like Marie Kondo and assess your wardrobe for items that spark joy. Moving is the perfect time to go through your closet for items that can be donated, consigned or tossed – with the added bonus of less boxes to pack (and unpack) on moving day.
Toss: Food You Aren’t Going to Eat
You know that can of beans that you’ve had in your cupboard since the 2010 Olympics? Face it: you’re never going to eat it and bringing it with you to your new home is not a smooth move. Go through your cupboards, pantry and fridge and make two groups: items that you really don’t plan to eat but that are still good (donate those) and items that expired so long ago that they’re old enough to vote (toss those). It’s also a hassle to transport perishable food, so spend the week before your move eating through your fridge to keep cold-food packing to a minimum.
Toss: Books You Won’t Read Again
Ah, most books: you read them, you loved them and you’ll never open them again. There’s no shame in hoarding literary mementos, but you do need to ask yourself if it’s worth carrying boxes of heavy books with you to your new home. Instead, consider gifting favourites to friends or donating them so new readers can enjoy them.