Tried & True Things to Pack in Your 'Open First' Box

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Tried & True Things to Pack in Your ‘Open First' Box
Strategic packing pays off when you open the first box in your new house. (Stock photo)

Moving is not without its challenges. But one thing you realize with each move is that there are some necessary things -- the things you need to survive. Make sure to load this box last on your truck if you are moving yourself, on the moving truck if you are going directly or consider bringing it in your vehicle.

Like many things, the contents vary by where you are in life. If you have young children or teens, your box may look slightly different from a solo adult's. These are suggestions based on experience.

№1 -- Shower curtain

Just a clear liner is fine -- but getting this ahead of time will allow you to shower in your new home once you arrive without a trip to the store

№2 -- Pan

This varies based on use and per family. We always pack a two-sided griddle -- a flat side and a grill side. This allows for a variety of cooking surfaces in one pan to cook breakfast to dinner once we arrive.

№3 -- Saucepan

This is perfect for making soup, oatmeal/cream of wheat, etc for meals after arrival.

№4 -- Kitchen utensils

A whisk, spatula, wooden spoon or whatever you would need to start your kitchen off

№5 -- Can opener

Nothing is worse than getting home after the grocery run and realize you don't have a can opener.

№6 -- Mixing bowl

Consider grabbing one or two in varied sizes to help with mixing eggs for breakfast, or assembling a salad.

№7 -- Colander

You are ready to strain pasta and wash fruit and veggies if you have this on hand!

№8 -- Cookie Sheet

This multi-use item can be used to bake cookies, put a frozen pizza on or under a premade casserole you purchased from the store.

№9 -- Stool

This is especially helpful if you have toddlers who need help reaching toilets or sinks. Or honestly for reaching those upper cabinets if you want to put things away.

№10 -- First Aid Kit

Safety first!

№11 -- Paper Goods

Paper towels, Lysol wipes, cleaning cloths for cleaning your new home, consider a few rolls of toilet paper since there isn't always TP provided in your new home upon arrival.

№12 -- Favorite Pantry Items

If you drink tea daily or had a hard time finding a spice at your previous duty station -- bring those with you!

№13 -- Tools

Carry with you whatever tools you need to assemble furniture. If you hired or you are using the military-provided movers, they can put together furniture for you if they took it apart. Sometimes they have the right tools, sometimes they don't, so consider having them on hand so you can determine if something they put together is correct or missing pieces at delivery.

№14 -- Towels

Consider the quick-dry, easy-wicking ones which are lightweight and can provide some package buffering for breakable items in the "open first" box. Make sure to pack plastic bags to put the towels into.

№15 -- Dish Soap and Sponge

Make sure to keep these packed in plastic bags in case the leak

№16 -- Kitchen Towels

From cleaning to drying dishes, these will be useful. Bonus they can be wrapped around breakables in your box.

№17 -- Coffee Pot and Coffee

If you need caffeine in the morning, caffeine will be necessary to tackle the PCS unpack -- make sure you have whatever you use for coffee with you. Whether it is a pot or single-serve coffee maker, make sure you have whatever you need for that magical substance.

№18 -- Reusable Cups/Dishes

If you have plastic or metal cups/dishes you bring with you for travel, put these in here.

№19 -- Hand Soap/Hand Sanitizer

Other Considerations

Diapers/Pull-Ups -- if this is the phase of life you are in, having some readily available saves a trip once you immediately arrive

Wipes -- even if you are out of the baby phase, wipes are helpful for clean up

Kids Toys/Books -- choosing a favorite item or two so your children have something fun to enjoy when you are supervising the movers or unpacking your truck

Pet Food -- make sure you have the brand and type of food your pet is used to

Outside of the "open first" box, make sure you have these things with you as you travel:

  1. A Copy of Orders
  2. Wills
  3. Passports
  4. Personal Procured Move (formerly DITY) paperwork
  5. TSP paperwork
  6. Military uniforms and necessary accouterments
  7. Pillow -- one per person
  8. Suitcases and/or sleeping bags -- This is needed if you are sleeping in your new home while awaiting the household goods delivery
  9. Medicines -- any that are prescribed and any first-aid like medications like Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl -- make sure to have the appropriate type (aka -- infant or children's)

When packing your "open first" box -- make sure to set the items aside early on so they don't accidentally get packed!

Consider bringing your open first box with you. If you are staying in temporary lodging along your route, you may have a kitchen and the ability to cook with your box. This frees up the budget from eating out, and may just be the break you are looking for from the fast food haven that PCSing and road trips usually are. This isn't to say that moving isn't the opportunity to support local restaurants and explore, but it is nice to get a reprieve with home-cooked meals once in a while.

Do you have an "open first box?" What do you put in it?

This article originally appeared on the Millie Journal.

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