Updated for 2023

Moving in Ottawa is always chaotic. However, when you add a “survival kit” to your moving checklist, you’ll make the transition to your new home as low-stress, efficient, and safe as possible. Deciding on what to keep with you before moving can be a hard thing to do.

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

Here are 14 essentials to include:

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Moving Day Survival Kit

1. COVID-19 Safety Essentials

While moving during the pandemic, you’ll need to have COVID safety essentials close by. Supply your moving survival kit with disposable masks (enough for several changes), hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Close sanitizer bottles tightly and place in a zippered storage bag to avoid gooey accidents.

2. Key Documents

Before you start packing, back up all key documents digitally. Our reliable Kanata movers recommend to include originals of these in your survival kit:

  • moving contract
  • ownership documents or leases for both your old and new home
  • passports and visas
  • birth certificates or adoption papers
  • driver’s licenses and vehicle registration
  • credit and debit cards
  • health insurance cards
  • medical records for every family member (pets, too — especially if you’re moving internationally!)
  • hard copy of essential phone numbers, in case your phone gets lost or runs out of power at a crucial moment

3. Change of Clothes

When you arrive at your destination, you’re unlikely to be in the mood to find and open up all your painstakingly packed boxes of clothes. So stock your survival kit with at least one comfortable, seasonally appropriate change of clothing for everyone… two for young children, if you have space. Don’t forget pyjamas and fresh underwear!

4. Valuables

For peace of mind, take along any particularly valuable, fragile, or sentimental items. Examples are your diamond jewelry, heirloom family photos, or an expensive musical instrument. Even though these precious objects are coming with you, you should take time to pack them carefully to avoid damage in transit.

5. Toiletries

Moving in Stittsville tends to be hot, sweaty work. So ensure you have your favourite toiletries handy. These include deodorant, shampoo, cologne, toothpaste and brushes, moisturizer or hand lotion, and sunscreen. You also might want paper goods like tissues, toilet paper, diapers, disposable bibs, and feminine hygiene products.

6. Device Chargers

If you’re going on a long-distance move, like moving to Toronto or moving to Calgary, this is essential! As soon as you get to your new home, you’ll want to start charging your phone, tablet, and laptop. (When your landline is not hooked up yet — or you plan to make do without — cell phones will be exceptionally important.) So be certain you’re toting a few chargers plus adaptors, too, depending on your new location. If you’re a family with lots of electronics, add a power bar to your list of essentials. Check out our guide on packing your computer for moving to make this step easier!

7. Health Products

Be sure to stock your moving day survival kit with a good supply of all prescription drugs, as well as other medication or supplements that you take every day. Also, a small first aid kit is a great idea. And if you’ll be doing any heavy lifting, painkillers and heat wraps may save the day.

8. Cooking Essentials

Healthy snacks and bottled water can be lifesavers en route. And even if you plan to order out for your first few meals at the new place, bring a few basics like an electric kettle, can opener, kitchen knife, coffee or tea, perhaps instant soup or noodles, and your preferred breakfast foods. Disposable dishes and cutlery will be useful until you have time to get to your china cartons packed with glassware and dishes.

9. Bedtime Supplies

After all your hard work, it’ll be fantastic to relax in your own bed IF you bring a set of sheets, blankets, and pillows for each person with you. These bulky items will probably require a separate box, but ensure that it’s clearly labelled and easily reachable.

10. Kid’s Comfort Objects

Small children get extra stressed by a move, so have their favourite comfort object (blanket, teddy, or other “lovey”) close by. To set a calmer mood, stock a few familiar toys — and a couple of new ones, too. The latter should encourage quiet play (pack the baseball bat and opt for colouring books and crayons instead). Nightlights help kids feel more secure in strange surroundings.

11. Cleaning Supplies

With any luck, your home’s previous owners will have cleaned up for you. In case you’re not so lucky — and because COVID is making everyone extra cleanliness-conscious — here are a few cleaning supplies you’ll appreciate:

  • rubber gloves
  • paper towels
  • cleaning spray
  • scourers
  • toilet brush
  • plunger
  • trash and recycling bags

12. Pet Supplies

Your furred or feathered friends also need TLC when you move. Keep them comfortable with a good supply of their usual food (abruptly switching pet food brands leads to messy digestive upsets) and water. A spare collar and leash are advisable; so are familiar bedding and toys. Must-haves: poop bags, litter box, or cage liner.

13. Tools

Be sure to put “box cutter” at the top of your list of moving-in tools! A hammer, flashlight, screwdriver, pliers, tape measure, scissors, safety pins, and roll of duct tape are good to have at the ready, as well… 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 household deserve some relaxation. So plan for cozy downtime, with books, games, movies, or other forms of entertainment. Try to choose something the whole family will enjoy as you breathe a sigh of relief and say, “We did it!”

So, now you know what you need in your moving day survival kit. But what about packing everything you own? Check out our packing tips for moving guide to help you get organized for the big day.

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The ultimate moving survival tip: Choose Cassidy’s professional Barrhaven movers for your move within Ottawa, long distance, or overseas.

We’ll customize our moving services to suit your needs. Your convenience and safety are always top priorities!


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