Moving Blog
September 18, 2019

Getting to the "Essentials" After Moving

making bed after movingBy Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Common sense would say that unpacking your boxes and setting up your furniture should just go in reverse order as packing. And that's true, to an extent--the coffeepot is generally last in, first out. But professional movers load trucks based on size and weight--not what you need right away. They'll work with you to ensure your essentials are loaded last, but you will likely need to be available to help manage that process, as your moving company won't know the critical items from the commonplace items without your direction.

Be sure to make room in your car for the essentials, stow them there rather than putting them on the moving trucks. This way, you don't have to wait for the boxes to unload, you can go ahead and put boxes where they belong or keep them in your car until you need them so that they don't get lost in the fray.

Managing the Essentials

Technology has made managing a move so much easier--there are apps for everything from inventorying your furniture to finding your new favorite coffee shop. MagicPlan is an app that lets you virtually place your furniture in the new home, so you can direct the movers where the sofa--and other hard-to-move furniture--go on moving day.

Aside from placing the sofa, these are the first things to do--even as the professional movers are unloading the truck.

  • Set up beds--your bed never looked as good as it does the day you've moved into a new house
  • Make the beds
  • Set up electronics--you don't have to wait for the cable guy anymore, in most cities you can plug in your modem and router and you're all set with your WiFi.
  • Set up the kitchen basics--coffeepot, toaster, and microwave.
  • Put towels and toiletries in the bathrooms

Packing the Essentials

The takeaway here is that when you pack, you should have several boxes, bins, or tote bags of essentials--which are more than a change of clothes and a toothbrush. Going room by room, these are what would be considered "essential" in most families.


Moving is more art than science. If the forecast is for a sunny day, don't count on it. Have spare t-shirts, jeans or shorts, and shoes on standby if you get drenched. Pack enough clothes for two or three days for each family member--if one of you is very small, pack an extra diaper bag.


Separate the daily toiletries from the extras--this is no time to deep condition. Travel sizes are great for moving--go ahead and pack the "real thing" so you don't have to agonize over moisturizer. These are absolute essentials--for a day or two.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap or body wash, and washcloths.
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairbrushes, combs, and a hairdryer
  • Razors and shaving cream
  • Lotions
  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Band-aids
  • Nail file or clippers--somebody will break a fingernail with all the moving


Oddly enough, most moving checklists don't cover linens in the essentials-to-pack-at-the-last-minute. You don't have to wait to pack your linens, if that box is clearly labeled and easy to access, you can sock those away any time.

  • Mattress pads and pillows
  • Sheets, blankets, comforters
  • Towels
  • Shower curtains, hooks, and liners
  • Bath mat


  • Coffeepot, microwave, toaster, juicer
  • Dishtowels, detergent, dishwashing tabs
  • Plates, cutlery, cups--a picnic basket is perfect for a move
  • Paper towels
  • Trash can, trash bags

Cleaning Supplies

Chances are good that you'll want to at least wipe down the countertops and inside the fridge before you start to prepare any food. If your new house is brand new, it's clean--but probably has settled dust. Ask your realtor for a housecleaning referral to ensure your new home is sparkling when you move in; otherwise, be prepared to clean. After move-in, floors tend to need a little TLC…even if the moving company put some sort of floor protection on their paths.

  • More paper towels or cleaning rags
  • All-purpose spray cleaners, toilet cleaners
  • Wet mop
  • Disinfectant
  • Vacuum cleaner

WiFi and Electronics

While setting up the TV may not be a huge priority, ensuring that your WiFi is operational is--most people don't have land telephone lines anymore, and your cell carrier may not have great service in your new location. You can pick up the modem from your internet provider, or they may be able to drop it off prior to your move--coordinate that with your realtor. Pack your router and other electronic necessities separately from all the other stuff.

Relax--You've Got Time Now

You've got all the time in the world to unpack and get settled, but that all hinges on getting a good night's sleep, a good cup of coffee, and keeping the kids fed and entertained the next day or two. Packing with unpacking in mind ensures you have everything you need until all that you want is unpacked and in its new place--and a lot less stressful than digging through boxes looking for sheets at midnight.


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The Mickelson Family
The Mickelson Family
Best. Move. Ever!
Very pleased with the overall respect and care the men gave to my possessions. Even mailing me very quickly the only thing lost in transit. Would recommend to anyone needing a long distant move.

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