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What to keep handy while you’re moving

One of the most frustrating things about moving from one home to another is that after all the furniture gets moved, you’re still living in boxes for a while. The stuff you need to get dressed and go to work can get misplaced in the shuffle. My classic favorite is being unable to find any scissors or knives you can use to open the boxes where the scissors and/or knives are.

Tennis shoes with socks stuffed in the heels

I just completed a move, so this is a perfect time for me to make a list of things you want to make sure you can put your hands on after the move. I suggest packing a suitcase or box you can fit into your vehicle with these items so they’re with you at all times.

  • Clothes. It’s usually easy to find and unpack your clothes after the move – there are empty closets waiting for them so you don’t have to search for a place to put them, and if you use the mover’s wardrobe boxes you won’t have trouble identifying the boxes that have clothes in them. The problem is, they won’t look freshly laundered, and when will you have the time and energy to do washing, drying and ironing? If it’s at all feasible, pack a week’s worth of clothes for everyone into a wardrobe bag or suitcase. These should travel pretty well – if they get wrinkled, a little heat from a hair dryer should fix that. Don’t forget undies!
  • Shoes. Pick the fewest pairs that will get you through a week, and remember to pack socks inside them to save space.
  • Scissors and/or box cutters. Pack these carefully into a suitcase (wrapping them tightly in newspaper will do the trick) so they won’t stab a hole through your luggage.
  • Non-perishable foods. Keep on hand some peanut butter and crackers and other food items that don’t need to be refrigerated. It may sound simple to plan on eating out for a few days after you move, but when you’re painfully hungry in the middle of unpacking, you’ll appreciate having a snack you can grab without stopping your work.
  • Notepads. Even a tiny little spiral memo book kept in a pocket or purse will help you keep track of everything you need to do or have already done. If you’re moving a whole household of people, you might want to keep this somewhere that everyone can read it and check off items so you don’t end up wasting your time on tasks and phone calls someone else already finished for you.
  • Phone numbers for your new utilities. If possible, set up your utilities before you move. But even so, keep the phone numbers available in case you need to reschedule an installation appointment, or the installer doesn’t show up.
  • Grooming supplies, especially hard-to-get or pricey ones. The good news is, if you forget to pack all your soaps, shampoos and other products, you can generally just buy new ones. The problems happen when your prescription body wash goes missing and you don’t have a refill left or the best brush for your fussy hair costs $18 and has to be ordered online. Make sure any specialty items you use are on hand immediately during and after the move. And don’t forget hand mirrors: I’m still looking for mine, so I can currently only guess how the back of my hair looks by feeling it! To make sure you have what you need, start putting every cosmetic item or tool you use into a case or bag that will travel with you. Do this for at least a few days, in case there are items you don’t use every day but will need within a week of the move.
  • Towels and wash cloths.
  • Bed linens.
  • Something for entertainment. You’re going to need some downtime from all that unpacking. Make sure you can easily find a book to read, crossword puzzles to do, or the remote for your TV, depending on how you like to relax.

If you have any other suggestions for stuff to have on hand immediately after a move, share it in the comments!

Purple plate with silverware
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