It’s your first night in a new place! You’re excited and you’re absolutely exhausted from traveling or furniture moving and you are not ready to unpack everything you own yet. Maybe it hasn’t even all arrived yet. But that’s okay…because you prepared by packing a “first night” bag or box that is full of the essentials you’ll need to survive your first night in a new place. Here’s what you should include in that bag:

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Being able to brush your teeth before bed and when you wake up will make a new place feel like home.

Toilet paper

You’d be surprised how many new homes, including apartment buildings and even dorms, don’t come pre-stocked with toilet paper, not even one roll. You don’t want to be without, so bring your own roll.

Gift cards for dinner 

You’ve just moved and you don’t want to cook dinner, so plan ahead and get a gift card to a local eatery that is within walking distance or even better, on that delivers. These gift cards also make great presents for people you know that will be moving to throw in their overnight bag!


You gotta sleep somewhere, but maybe you don’t have all your bedding in order yet. Don’t stress yourself about putting on a bedskirt, a mattress pad, a comforter, shams, and all that jazz if you’re not up for it. I’ve found, especially in warmer climates, that just a flat sheet and a fitted sheet will get me through the first night in a new place. You can whip them off easily when you’re ready to really set everything up, or use the flat sheet as a blanket if you just want to sleep on the couch that night.

A reusable water bottle

Unpacking dishware and deciding where it all should go is exhausting just to think about. Save yourself the headache and bring along a reusable water bottle you can use to stay hydrated throughout the night without having to commit to doing dishes the next morning.

Your contact lens case and solution

This is for us folk with less than perfect vision, but it’s important. If you’re wearing your contact lens on move-in day, you may not think about taking them out that night, but you really should. So bring along your case and some solution as well as your glasses to wear should you still want to see!

Phone charger

Self-explanatory, right? No one wants to be alone in a new place with no way to communicate with the outside world, or no way to entertain themselves when they can’t sleep.

Trash bags

The few things you do unpack will create trash, or your food will, or you’ll find something weird and want to throw it away ASAP. Pack a trash bag or two just in case. You can always buy more when you go grocery shopping, but you don’t want your half-eaten food piling up everywhere.

Medications you might need

You don’t want that first night to get you sick. Any medication you’re on,including birth control, antibiotics, antidepressants, cold medicine, etc, should go in your first night box. I also recommend packing pain relievers in case you strain something while moving.

A comfortable change of clothes

You probably don’t want to sleep in your move-in clothes, but even if you do, you’ll want to wear something else in the morning. Think about what your schedule looks like so you’re prepared to run an errand or even head into the office the next morning, depending on your circumstances.


If you want to shower, you’ll want something to dry yourself off with. You may not feel like unpacking your entire bathroom, but having a nice shower after a long day will help you settle in for a restful night.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member