The first day in your new home after a move is always a challenge. Some people view it as an exciting first-night adventure; some see it as a special moving-day ordeal. There you are with everything you own in boxes, your furniture in pieces, and mattresses on the floor. You are exhausted from a long drive and day of unloading the truck. Everyone finds themselves facing this situation at one point or another. The only question is how you choose to prepare for and face this unique moving-day situation.
With the right planning and a positive attitude, you really can turn your first day in the new house into an adventure that everyone in the household can enjoy. As expert movers who've seen clients face this day in hundreds of different ways, we're here to share the best tricks of the trade for making your move-in-day a smooth and even fun experience.
1) Have an Overnight Bag Ready
The overnight bag is essential to surviving your move-in-day with style. Not only is it useful for the drive over if you're moving more than a couple of hours away, but it will also serve as your primary source of supplies on that first day and night when nothing is unpacked yet. Remember, the overnight bag needs to be packed before you pack your entire closet and bathroom so that your essentials are available instead of boxed.
When packing your overnight bag, think "airport carry-on" as if you were packing for at least a two-day trip and hotel stay, only without the complimentary shampoos and coffee.
- A Few Days of Clothes
Hold back at least two complete outfits when packing your closet and roll them tightly into outfit-packets for your overnight bag. Some clever travelers use gallon-sized zip-locks and soft clothing to keep each outfit fresh and compressed. A towel or two is also a great idea.
- Devices and Chargers
Make sure every one of your personal devices comes with you instead of being packed into a box. It may be helpful to pack a separate laptop bag for your laptop, tablet, phone, any additional personal devices. Do NOT forget your chargers, these are essential to both travel happiness and watching movies on your first night in the house before the TV is unpacked.
- Medication and Toiletries
Any medication you take daily or may need in a moment of stress (moving is stressful) needs to be packed carefully in addition to your toiletries. Don't forget shampoo, conditioner, body wash, tooth supplies, and anything else that you regularly use in the shower or bathroom.
2) Pack First-Night Boxes that Go Last Into the Truck
When packing, think about the boxes you want to unpack as soon as the truck arrives. The things you'll want that very first night before you dig into unpacking the majority of your possessions. Mark these boxes with neon tape or very clear lettering and set them aside to be packed into the truck at the very last so that they are the first boxes to be unloaded.
- Pillows and Bedding
It can be exciting to sleep on mattresses on the floor that first night, but not without bedding. Make sure you have a set of linens and pillows available for each bed in your first-night boxes. This way, everyone can sleep comfortably without a full unpack.
- Clothing (and Laundry Soap)
Laundry needs start the moment you arrive. Chances are that the outfits in your overnight bag will be quickly exhausted. So make sure that your clothing is easy to find and pack a bottle of laundry soap with your clothing so you can wash your travel clothes ASAP.
- Kitchenware and Dry Pantry
It's nice to have a few pots, pans, utensils, and dishes ready to go even if you don't unpack your entire kitchen on the first day. Think about how you will eat in the first few days and have a kitchen and pantry box among your first-night packing set.
- Bathroom Toiletries and Towels
You may have your essentials in your overnight bag, but most people want to unpack their bathroom quite early in the process so that make sure you can find your bathroom toiletries and towels right off the bat. This way, you can take a luxurious bath or a long shower complete with all your favorite toiletries. Plus a stack of already clean fluffy towels to dry off with.
Nothing makes the unpack easier than good television, music, and movies. Know where your entertainment boxes are so you can set up your TV early in the process. It helps to bundle all the necessary cables for each device together so that setup is quick and easy.
3) Label & Sort Boxes By Room
While you're strategizing your pack-up for the un-pack, don't forget to label your boxes by room and then load them into the truck by room. This one seemingly minor consideration can make a huge difference when it comes to an organized and enjoyable unpacking process. Consider using colored tape or labels for super-quick box identification.
- Pack & Label Boxes by Room
As you pack up each room, stack the finished boxes together and give each room a distinctive label. Color-coded tape can be very useful for quick visual sorting of your boxes when you arrive. Don't forget to also write down the contents of each box. The more informative your labels are, the easier it will be to unpack and find still-packed items in the new house.
- Sort Boxes into Correct Room During Unload
As you unload the boxes from the truck, carry each box into the room, it is meant to go, or sort them into piles in the main room to eventually reach their intended room. Unloading room-by-room will make it much easier for everyone to find what they need and to unpack rooms in complete sets when the time comes. Remember to set your first-night boxes aside where they will be easiest to find after everything is off the truck.
4) Prioritize Re-Assembling Your Furniture
Furniture is among the key things that make a house feel like a home. You will likely want to reassemble your furniture almost immediately upon arriving, so plan for that when you or the movers are disassembling it to pack up. Know which furniture you'll want to assemble and make plans to make your reassembly easier.
- Decide Your First-Night Furniture
Most people start with the couch or table and chairs as the first pieces of furniture they want ready for use in the new home. Prioritize reassembling or unpacking and arranging these pieces first before you run out of energy on the first day.
- Packets of Labeled Screws and Fasteners
If furniture is disassembled for the move, make sure that every screw and fastener is labeled and packaged in a single baggie taped to or labeled for each piece of furniture. This will make it ten times easier to get your furniture back together at the new place. Professional movers already know how to do this part with style, as they are often asked to take care of the disassembly and reassembly on either end of the trip.
- Bookmark or Scan Digital Assembly Guides
Finally, if you will be doing your own reassembly, have the instructions on-hand if possible. And have a digital backup. We strongly advise either finding an online copy or scanning your paper instructions just in case the paper instructions are lost or damaged in the move.
5) Order Dinner Delivered
Last but certainly not least, don't be shy about ordering yourself a victory dinner delivered to the house on your first night. After movies, nothing fuels an energetic unpack like delivery Chinese food or an extra-large pizza with all your favorite toppings. Whether you've got a table ready to go or have assembled a couch and table from boxes, delivered dinner lifts the spirits for the whole family. It can help teen and adult family members unpack into the night, if you care to, and can help little ones settle down with a full belly for their first bedtime in a new place. Plus, it saves you the effort of worrying about groceries or cooking when all your energy has been poured into setting up in your new home.
Making it through that first day in a new house can be a challenge, but with the right preparation, it can be a fun challenge that you are ready to tackle. With overnight bags, well-labeled boxes, and an unpacking plan, your first day can be a blast and set you up for a great unpacking experience. Whether you're moving down the street or across the country, moving with those first few nights in mind can make your entire experience much more enjoyable. With these techniques, you'll be able to catch a shower, unpack with electronic entertainment, and get a good night's sleep all without worrying about what's inside most of your boxes. For more expert tips and tricks for an enjoyable relocation, you can count on the VerticalRent team and suite of renter services.