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What to Bring in Your Car When Moving

Posted: January 3, 2023
A family begins to pack boxes into their car as they prepare it with moving day essentials.

Your old house is empty, the moving truck is loaded with boxes, and you’re just about ready to head to your new space. There’s only one problem — you realize that you packed your car keys in a moving box, and that box is squared away in the back of the moving truck. 

It’s probably not the end of the world, but this should be avoided for a couple reasons. For one, it’s a major inconvenience to unpack your truck. For another, it wastes valuable time. If you hired professional movers, like Moving Help®, time is money out of your pocket. 

The good news is, it’s easy to avoid this kind of mishap. By bringing these 10 essentials with you in your car, you won’t have anything to worry about on moving day. 

10 Moving Day Essentials to Keep With You When Moving 

1. Pets and Plants 

Think about it – anything that’s alive probably shouldn’t be tucked away in a moving truck. Especially if you’re moving long distance. 

Bringing pets and plants along for the ride in your car allows you to take care of them as needed, whether that means supplying food, water, or general comfort. It also allows you to keep a close eye for signs of stress and discomfort. Don’t forget to bring food and water for your pet(s), as well as anything else they might need to stay happy and healthy. 

2. Medications and Health Supplies 

Make a list of your prescription medications and daily vitamins and supplements you’ll need throughout the move. Pack them in a small duffel bag or box and keep it in your car. You may also want to pack a small first aid kit. Be sure it has the basics, like different sized bandages, alcohol wipes, pain reliever, allergy medication, and anything else that might come in handy if an injury or illness occurs during the move. 

3. An “Essentials” Bag 

Sometimes called a “First-night” bag, your essentials bag is for all the stuff you need to comfortably get through the first night in your new home. Think about it, after a long day of moving, there’s a good chance you won’t want to start digging through your boxes to find a phone charger. That’s why it’s best to have these items in one place that’s easy to access. 

Common items to pack in your essentials bag: 

  • Phone charger  
  • Laptop charger  
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste  
  • Hairbrush  
  • Shower items  
  • Change of clothes  
  • Pajamas  
  • Eye care products  
  • Deodorant  

4. Electronic Device 

Laptops, phones, gaming consoles, and tablets aren’t just expensive gadgets, they also hold some of our most valuable information. Although there are plenty of packing supplies out there that will keep them safe from damage, it’s best not to leave anything to chance. Instead, take your devices with you in the car to ensure they aren’t damaged or lost during the move.

A couple places boxes, plants, and an “essentials” bag into their car for moving day.

5. Valuables 

Do you have anything that you can’t replace, like a rare painting, family heirloom, antique dishes, jewelry, vintage musical equipment, or something similar? Consider bringing that item along with you. Although most movers offer insurance or a similar replacement policy for lost or broken items, it won’t do much good for something that’s nearly irreplaceable or of very high value. 

6. Money 

This one may seem obvious, but don’t forget to keep your credit card(s), debit card, and any other means of payment with you when you move. These are maybe the last things you can afford to lose, literally. In addition, consider getting some cash out. If you’re making a long trip, having cash will come in handy in case of an emergency or if you come across a business that doesn’t accept credit cards during your journey. 

7. Important Documents 

You probably won’t need many personal documents during your move, but you’re better off bringing them with you for several reasons. These documents likely include your passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, and checkbook. Appoint a temporary folder or file box for these documents and keep it with you in your vehicle. After you’re in your new home, find a safe, permanent place for them again, like a filing cabinet or personal safe

8. Toiletries and Bath Items 

Keep some toiletries and bath items with you so they’re readily available 1. after everything is packed up at your old place and 2. before you unpack at your place. Your list will be different depending on your needs, but in general, you’ll want bath tissue, hand sanitizer or soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and anything else you can think of that’s needed. 

9. Extra Clothing 

It doesn’t hurt to have some extra clothing on hand, especially if you’re moving with children. Even one extra outfit and an extra pair of shoes and socks will work. Try to pack clothing that’s comfortable and appropriate for moving. 

Pro tip: Try to plan for unexpected weather changes. Also, consider the weather at your destination. For example, going from a warm state to a cool state will most likely require changing into long pants and a jacket. 

10. Snacks and Water 

You’ll need some fuel to help get you through the day and your kitchen is most likely unavailable at this point. That’s why we recommend keeping some bottles of water and snacks on hand. Even if you have Moving Helpers doing the heavy lifting, it’s smart to bring snacks that give you energy, like fruits, protein bars, and nuts.