Quickly recognizing a good den location takes a practiced eye
After your new world forms your first order of business is to quickly locate some trees and begin beating upon them to harvest wood and other items like saplings and apples -- there is a 1 in 200 chance that you will find an apple in the branches and leaves that you harvest, and a much higher chance of getting a sapling from them (you will need the saplings later to plant more trees so you do not run out).
Ideally you want to harvest a minimum of 15 to 20 pieces of wood right away -- literally as quick as you can -- and then you should look for an area in the side of a mountain that will be the location of your first shelter -- and begin digging into the side of the mountain with your hands. You should only open a 1-block-wide opening since that is the widest door you can make (when we get to that point) but for now you do not have the ability to make a door or anything else just yet, so the idea is to hollow-out a hole in the mountain that you can then drop dirt blocks in the opening in order to seal yourself in for protection from the roving ghouls and other beasties that, if you fail to do this, will kill you when night falls!
Once you have sealed yourself up in your new home it is time to make the basic building blocks and tools for your survival -- starting with a crafting bench. Hit E to open your Inventory and then place a stack of wood into the crafting section, and convert it to 64 pieces of wooden board. Take the leftover wood and put it back in your inventory, then the wooden boards.
A Quickly built Safety Den can be just a hole in a wall with a door and window
Now place one wooden board in each of the crafting slots in your inventory to make a Crafting Table, and place that in your hotbar. Now place some boards into a craft slot to make sticks. Make around 16 sticks -- then if you have enough light left (chances are you will not) place the Crafting Table along one wall of your den. If there is not enough daylight left to see, you will need to wait-out the 7-minutes of night, and then in the morning you should see the light from the one block you left open on the outside wall of your den.
The view from inside your temporary den
Your next task is to make a wooden pick in order to be able to harvest stone. To this, open the Crafting Table and place one piece of wood in the three top boxes, and a stick in each of the middle boxes. You now have a wooden pick. Use the pick to harvest stone thus enlarging your den -- once you have a dozen or so stone, make a spot next to your Crafting Table, then using the Table, fill the outer box (every spot except the middle) with stone, to make a furnace.
Now, place the furnace and open it, placing some wood into the top slot and a piece of wood or two into the bottom to make charcoal. You can actually use any flammable object to make the heat for the furnace -- in the example pic I used saplings. If you actually found a Coal deposit in digging out your Den you do not actually need to do this -- but if you did not you will need to have the charcoal to make torches...
As you seek your quick den location pay attention to landmarks
Once you have 6 or so charcoal, open the Crafting Table and place one piece of charcoal in the top middle, and a stick in the slot below it, to make 4 Torches. Do that again so you have 8 of them, then place one inside your Den so you have light! Once you have widened the Den out to give yourself space, and placed a few torches to give you light, it is time to make a door, to give you a safe way in and out of your Den...
Open the Crafting Table and place a wooden board in the left-three and middle-three slots to make a door. After you craft that, put it in your hotbar and then remove the dirt you sealed up your Den with and place the door! Now we just need to go to the shore and harvest some sand before it gets dark, so we can make glass for a window!
Your first priority at the start is to quickly obtain essential building resources
Head to the water edge and look for sand, and dig some up. One piece of Coal or Charcoal will melt 8 units of other material -- like sand to make glass or cobble stone to make stone. Once you have your glass, close up your window with a piece of it, and that combined with your door make for a snug and secure Den!
While not critical you will find a door to be very convenient!
Adding Some Extras to your Den
Now that we have taken care of basic shelter, it is time to make it more convenient for you -- and to do that we need to start by making some storage! So open the Crafting Table and place a Wooden Board in every slot except the middle -- that will make one Chest. Do this again to make a second Chest, and then make a slot in the wall (like a counter) to place them on, being sure to clear away the blocks above where you place your chests so they can open.
Place the two chests side-by-side, and you gain a double-wide chest that will hold 54 stacks of items! A most excellent addition to your Den! Note that you will want to make a second set of Chests later to use deeper in your mine to hold raw materials like cobble stones and dirt, as this Chest you have just made will be for the more valuable items like ore, metal, seeds, food, and finished goods.
Making the Basic Set of Tools
You will be doing a lot of mining, and while the Wood Pick that you made to dig out your Den is nice, it is fragile and breaks quickly, so you will now want to make 2 or 3 Stone Picks -- which you make in the same way, putting a piece of stone in each of the three top slots of the Crafting Table, and a Wooden Stick in the two middle slots. Once you make three or more Stone Picks, you should also make some of the other tools.
Now let's make a Stone Shovel -- place two sticks in the middle and bottom slots, and a piece of stone in the top slot and you will see that a picture of a Shovel appears.
The next tool we need to make is a few Stone Axes -- to make these put Stone in the top left, and top middle slots, and sticks in the middle two down.
Turning Wooden Boards into Chests gives you an almost unlimited Storage potential!
Finally we want to make a sword -- so place one stick in the bottom middle, and two pieces of Stone or Wood in the middle and top-middle, and you have a Sword! That is good because you can use it for harvesting Pigs. Note that we do not want to kill Sheep -- because once we have some iron ore we can make Iron and then using that, make Clippers that we can use to harvest Wool! But that comes in a bit.
That covers the basic tools you will need. As your supply breaks you can make more -- but for now it is time to lay in some supplies -- so when the sun comes up, head out and harvest a stack of 64 wood with your new Axe, as well as any Apples you can get. If you see some Pigs, kill them with your Sword and collect their meat -- but remember you need to cook the meat BEFORE you eat it, as otherwise it can make you get sick and die.
To harvest wool without killing the sheep you will need a pair or two of shears -- you make those by placing two Iron Ingots in a slanting line to each other. Once you have a pair, when you approach a Sheep Right-Click rather than Left-Click to shear them -- if you Left-Click you attack, while Right-Click is used to interact. If you want to cut grass (to make seeds) you should Left-Click the grass tufts in order to harvest them.
Before you explore and as you expand Item Storage is a Key Concern
Before You Explore and Gather Resources
Before you go too far away from your home base you need to carefully mark it so that you can find your way home before dark -- as otherwise you will have to dig a hole and hide yourself in it until dawn. The best method for marking your home Den is to build a tower and light it with torches high enough so that it serves like a lighthouse to you -- allowing you to find your way home no matter where you are!
Finding the highest point near your Den is the way to go -- or you can construct a tower on which to place torches -- just be sure you light it up well so it is easy to find.
The Initial Resource Gathering Effort
First, well done! You have come a long way since creating your world!
Now it is time to lay in a large supply of resources -- so head out to explore, and begin gathering full stacks (or at least as much as you can get) of the following:
-- Flowers (for dying)
-- Mushrooms (Brown)
-- Mushrooms (Red)
When you have three Wool, use the Crafting Table and fill the top line with three Wool, and the middle line with three Boards, and you will make a bed. Place the bed in your house and you can then use that to sleep through the night rather than wait for it to end.
Knowing it is safe to emerge is key: Find Sand and Make Glass!
Once you have a reasonable supply of the above in storage in your house, it is time to create a mine -- now you can dig down from your house -- but it is a better idea to simply go a little ways from your house and dig a proper mine so that the two are separate places. You can add a Crafting Table and Furnace to your Mine -- and a door and even windows out front -- but once you have the basic mine dug out -- you will want to make a stack of Torches, and five or six Picks, and then begin mining in earnest.
Your goal should be to mine stacks of Coal, Iron Ore, Gold Ore, Lapis Lazuli, Redstone, and Diamonds.
Of these the Gold, Lapis, Redstone, and Diamonds will be the rarest. Once you have stacks you can head back to your house and use the Furnace to convert the metals to ingots. Store that stuff in your valuables box rather than carrying it so that if you die you do not lose the progress that you made.
Congratulations! You have survived your first spiritual 24-hours in the game, you have created a home for yourself, you have filled it with basic conveniences, and you have stockpiled resources and food! Good on ya! Now it is time to explore some of the other needs in Maslow's Hierarchy!