Updated for 2021

The move is still chaotic, and even more so with the COVID-19 crisis. However, when you add a “survival kit” to your moving checklist, you’ll make the transition to your new home as unseating, efficient and safe as possible.

What is a moving survival kit? This is a collection of supplies that you assemble in an easy-to-access suitcase or box that accompanies you throughout the moving process. Your survival kit should stay with you and be the last thing to pack and the first thing you open when you reach your new home.

Here are 14 essential elements to include:

1. Essentials of COVID-19 security

When traveling during the pandemic, you will need to have the essentials of COVID security at your fingertips. Provide your moving survival kit with disposable masks (enough for several changes), hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Tightly close disinfectant bottles and place them in a zippered storage bag to avoid sticky accidents.

2. Key documents

Before you start packing, digitally back up all key documents. Then, include the originals of these in your survival kit:

  • moving contract
  • property documents or leases for your old and new home
  • passports and visas
  • birth certificates or adoption papers
  • driving licences and vehicle registration
  • credit and debit cards
  • health insurance cards
  • the medical records of each family member (the animals too – especially if you move abroad!)
  • paper copy of essential phone numbers, in case your phone get lost or go out of power at a crucial time

3. Change of clothes

When you arrive at your destination, it’s unlikely that you’ll be in the mood to find and open all your boxes of carefully packed clothes. So bring at least one comfortable and seasonal replacement garment for everyone… two for young children, if you have room. Don’t forget the fresh pajamas and underwear!

4. Precious

For more tranquility, take with you any particularly precious, fragile or sentimental object. For example, your diamond jewelry, your heritage family photos or an expensive musical instrument. Even if these precious items accompany you, you must take the time to pack them carefully to avoid damage during transport.

5. Toiletries

Moving tends to be a hot and sweaty job. So make sure you have your favorite toiletries handy. These include deodorant, shampoo, cologne, toothpaste and brushes, moisturizer or hand lotion and sunscreen. You may also want paper items such as tissues, toilet paper, diapers, disposable bibs and feminine hygiene products.

6. Device Chargers

As soon as you arrive in your new home, you’ll want to start charging your phone, tablet, and laptop. (When your landline isn’t plugged in yet — or you plan to do without it — mobile phones will be extremely important.) So make sure you have a few chargers and adapters as well, depending on your new location. If you’re a family with a lot of electronics, add a power bar to your list of essentials.

7. Health Products

Be sure to store in your survival kit on the day of the move a good amount of all prescription medications, as well as other medications or supplements that you take every day. Also, a small first aid kit is a great idea. And if you need to lift heavy objects, painkillers and thermal wraps can save your life.

8. Kitchen essentials

Healthy snacks and bottled water can save your life along the way. And even if you plan to order your first meals at the new place, bring some basics like an electric kettle, can opener, kitchen knife, coffee or tea, maybe instant soup or noodles, and your favorite foods for breakfast. Disposable dishes and cutlery will be useful until you have time to access your porcelain boxes filled with glassware and crockery.

9. Bedtime Supplies

After all your hard work, it will be fantastic to relax in your own bed IF you bring with you a set of sheets, blankets and pillows for each person. These bulky items will likely require a separate box, but make sure it’s clearly labeled and easily accessible.

10. Comfort items for children

Small children are even more stressed by a move, so have their favorite comfort item (blanket, plush or other “lover”) nearby. To create a quieter vibe, stock up some familiar toys – and a few new ones too. The latter should encourage quiet play (take the baseball bat and opt for coloring books and pencils instead). Night lights help children feel safer in a strange environment.

11. Cleaning products

Hopefully, the former owners of your home will have cleaned for you. In case you don’t get that chance – and because COVID makes everyone more concerned about cleanliness – here are some cleaning products you’ll enjoy:

  • rubber gloves
  • paper towels
  • cleaning spray
  • scouring buffers
  • toilet brush
  • piston
  • garbage bags and recycling

12. Pet Supplies

Your furry or feathered friends also need TLC when you move. Keep them comfortable with a good supply of their usual food (abruptly changing the brand of pet food leads to messy digestive disorders) and water. A collar and a spare leash are recommended; just like familiar bedding and toys. Essential: dropping bags, litter box or cage lining.

13. Tools

Be sure to put “box” at the top of your list of moving tools! A hammer, flashlight, screwdriver, pliers, tape measure, scissors, safety pins and a roll of tape are also good to have at hand… even if your name is not MacGyver.

14. Books, games and entertainment

whew! At the end of a busy moving day, you and the rest of the house deserve a little relaxation. So plan comfortable downtime, with books, games, movies or other forms of entertainment. Try to choose something that the whole family will enjoy while you breathe a sigh of relief and say, “We did it!”