Advice for Move - In Day

Moving may not be the most pleasant college experience, but with a little planning, you can have a smooth experience!

By Jessica Dickenson — January 4, 2023

Advice for Move - In Day

This is it!

You've circled the day in red ink on your calendar, and your mom has asked you about it a million times (at least). You are excited to start college and move into the dorms on the prescribed date set by your college.

For most students, moving into the dorms is the first time they will live independently. For some other students, this will be the first time in their lives that they will be leaving their childhood home. It is a big transition, and it can leave many students wondering, "Am I ready?"

Prepare Before You Move

Move-in day is the last step in a long process of preparing. Before you ever get to campus, you should have everything you need purchased and packed.

It is the curse of every college student and their parents to wake up the morning of move-in day and realize that they don't have everything neatly in boxes ready to go. While some things like your toothbrush and your laptop probably will be put in the car morning of, things like your clothes, kitchenware, and bathroom necessities should have long been boxed up. We get that not wearing your favorite sweater for a whole week while it sits in a box or suitcase can be frustrating, but wouldn't it be even more frustrating if you had to pull it out of your hamper or, worse yet, forgot it at home? Ideally, on the morning of move-in day, you want to be packed and ready to go so that you aren't scrambling to meet deadlines or say goodbye.

You should clearly know what you will need before moving in. Some things will need to be purchased after you move in, but you should have the vast majority of things already bought and packed. If you are flying and want things shipped, make sure you give yourself enough time to put everything together and have it arrive on time. You should also confirm your campus mailroom policy in advance to ensure your packages arrive safely.

Strategically Pack Boxes

Do you know what is almost more annoying than not having things packed? Need to have them boxed well!

When you start to unload your car, it is beneficial to be able to drop boxes off strategically. For example, you want to be able to put kitchen items in the kitchen, bedsheets next to the bed, and clothes in the closet. Having your comforter mixed in with pots and pans and your bathroom curtain is one way to pack, but it isn't very effective. Not only will you run from room to room unpacking, but you will also struggle to find specific items.

Labeling your boxes clearly is another great step. You can generally mark boxes like "Bedroom" or "Winter Sweaters." Keeping clothes neatly folded or still on their hangers makes putting them away much easier.

Likewise, there are better strategies than overpacking or underpacking your boxes. Lifting a heavy box of books and then picking up boxes with only two or three items is frustrating. Make sure you use various box sizes to help you move most effectively.

Talk to Your Roommate(s)

Dorm rooms are notorious for being on the small side. Even if you are moving into a luxury suite, there generally won't be a lot of space to have two (or more) people moving in simultaneously.

Talk to your roommates in advance to figure out a system for moving in. One person could unpack in the morning, while someone could come in the afternoon. If you are open to helping each other out, you could join forces and help each other bring in boxes simultaneously. However, never take their plans or willingness to help for granted. Make sure you communicate your plans well in advance!

The Big Day!

After you have successfully prepared, you are ready for the big day! But you have been warned:

  • There can be long lines to the elevator and mailroom.
  • The halls may be crowded.
  • You may need help finding industrial bins to haul your things.

Moving takes a lot of patience, but it doesn't have to be a painful ordeal. Here are some tips for moving in:

Wear Comfortable Clothes

You may want to make a good first impression by looking your best when you make your appearance on campus. Unfortunately, move-in day is not the right time. Wear comfortable clothes that you can move freely in, and wear closed-toe shoes.

Bring a Doorstop

Many dorm room doors automatically lock as a safety feature. While this is generally a great feature, it is also super annoying on move-in days when you continuously go in and out of doors. Bringing your doorstop will prevent you from constantly unlocking your dorm.

Bring Help

Generally, you may be an independent adult who doesn't need help. Moving should be the exception to your macho rule. From experience, the sweet spot for movers is about two or three people. You don't want to move by yourself, but any more than three people, and you'll have people tripping over each other's feet.

Bring Your Cart

Carts are the most coveted item on move-in day. Instead of hauling one item at a time, carts allow you to haul several boxes at once. College dorms usually provide some for movers, but inevitably there are never enough for everyone. Bringing your own cart or dolly will save you hours of work and make you the envy of all.

Pack Tools and Cleaning Supplies.

Some items in your dorm will require assembly or a good cleaning before they can be used. Make sure you have both tools and cleaning supplies at the ready.

Have Water and Snacks on Hand.

Moving is a lot of work. Keep up your energy and stay hydrated by having food and beverages on hand!

Moving may not be the most pleasant college experience, but with a little planning, you can have a smooth experience!

Jessica Dickenson

Jessica Dickenson

Jessica Dickenson graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with degrees in English and communication. She has applied her abilities working as a young marketing professional for a local university but works as a freelance writer and photographer in her spare time. She currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband.
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