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Published: September 26, 2017

First In, Last Out: A Strategy for Moving In Packing in Preparation for Unpacking

There’s nothing worse than getting through all the stages of packing, loading up the truck, arriving at your new home, only to find you are not able to locate the essentials you need immediately in your new space. Do you have a strategy for ensuring those items are where you need them when you get there? Consider FILO (First In, Last Out) boxes for the most important rooms in the house. If they’re the first into the moving truck, they’re the last boxes out—and not buried under everything else.

Think About Moving In

Let’s walk through what move-in days might look like so you can start thinking about how best to plan for them.

Day Before Move In

  • Purchase basic cleaning supplies you were not able to put in boxes (usually liquids such as dishwashing liquids, window cleaner, laundry detergent, hand soap), and any paper, microfiber or other products you need for cleaning such as paper towels, toilet paper, rubber gloves, large trash bags.
  • Purchase drinks and snacks and breakfast items for the first few days after moving in. This may include water and individual snack packs, cereal, milk, paper plates, bowls, plastic cutlery.
  • Clean your new house as much as possible without your packed cleaning tools: dust sills, wash windows, wipe baseboards, clean sinks and toilets.
  • Turn on the refrigerator (and fill with mass e.g. drinks) to cool it down.
  • Drive the neighborhood or research on your phone/online to get familiar with it and spot your nearest grocery, pharmacy, and food establishments (especially the ones that deliver).

Day of Move In

  • Early breakfast and all the coffee
  • Movers arrive: labeled boxes are deposited in correct rooms
  • Movers assemble furniture such as beds
  • Appliances delivered, hooked up and installed
  • Lunch
  • Unpacking begins
  • Dinner (probably delivered)
  • Wash-up
  • Bed

As you imagine move-in day, what do you think you’ll need? Everyone has their own idea of what’s essential.

Get Your Boxes Ready

Now that you imagined moving day(s), it’s time to put together your boxes. Designate FILO boxes, one box per room. Kids can be in charge of putting together a small box of stuff for themselves. Be sure the box you designate for them has enough room for bedding as well and pillows. In addition to the contents label of each box, be sure to mark it with “FILO” in big letters, along with the room it needs to be put in. Don’t forget a box with pet supplies in it!


Here are some tools that you’ll need that make move-in days go more smoothly:

  • Boxcutters
  • Scissors
  • Tape (to make a quick reseal of boxes to deal with later)
  • Big marker
  • A pad of paper (to make note of any items you may need to purchase)
  • Light work gloves such as garden gloves (cardboard and packing paper can chew up hands)
  • First aid supplies such as band-aids, anti-bacterial ointment


Before the movers leave, make sure they get your beds set up. It’s the first thing you’re going to want to do at the end of a long day of unpacking. The FILO box should include:

  • Bedding such as sheets, blankets, pillows.
  • Curtains and curtain hardware, in case you don’t have blinds for privacy.
  • Lighting—lamps, lamp shades and bulbs.
  • For your kids, it might also include any favorite blankets, toys, and games that will help them be more at ease in a new place.
  • For your pets, it might include their bed, favorite blankets, and toys. They’ll also need food and water bowls.


  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
  • Towels for drying off after that long, hot shower you’ll need.
  • Bath mat, toilet paper, aspirin, pain relieving cream (such as Ben-Gay), allergy medications, and any other items you may commonly use.


  • Basic cooking tools such as toaster, skillet, spatula.
  • Set of cutlery, plates, bowls, and glassware.
  • Trash can.
  • Water pitcher and filter.
  • Coffee pot, grounds, and filters and anything you may need for that.

It’s going to take a few days to get unpacked and everything in its place. Having a strategy to make those days just a little more comfortable will save you time and frustration. Alejandra.TV has four additional tips once you start unpacking.

Give us a call at 800-289-6683 to see how we can make your move affordable and as stress-free as possible.

Johnson Moving

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