College Move in Day Tips

College Move in Day Tips - Tips for moving into college // eyeliner wings & pretty things

College move-in day is an absolute shit-show that gets easier as college goes on. It always involves crowded parking lots, a ton of fuzzy rugs and bungee chairs being carried around the quad and emotional parents trying to stick with their kids as long as possible.

You’ve probably seen my 10 Things to Do The First Week of College post, but now we take a few steps back and look at these college move in day tips. This’ll make it a little bit less of a mess, I promise.

1. Don’t bring a ton of people.

You’re moving into a tiny room and it’s going to be crowded and hot. Your roommates will also be moving in and bringing along family members. Also consider that you’re not going to be spend too much time with these people because the day will be hectic, so don’t bring your BFF from home to send you off. Say good bye to her before you leave and plan a visit later on in the semester when you get settled.

2. Pack your absolute essentials separately.

You may not get to unpack everything that day because there’s going to be a lot going on. Pack one bag that has anything you absolutely need to have unpacked and easy to access such as medication, glasses, your phone charger, deodorant and your student ID.

3. Don’t pack a lot of food/drinks.

This takes up a lot of space and it’s probably easier to go food shopping after you move in. With that being said, if you go food shopping after you move in be sure to plug in the mini fridge so it has time to cool for your groceries! Note the Guide to Not Over-packing in College and pack accordingly. Here’s an extra college move in day tips: Eat before you go or snack on the road! Don’t be hangry. No one wants to be hangry, sweaty and in a crowded dorm.

4. Know your dorm building, room number and check in time in advance.

If you have a specific check in time make sure you get there on time and know exactly where you’re doing If you’re on a higher floor assume you’re going to have to take the stairs very often. The elevators are typically really crowded or closed off for the move-in day helpers to use.

5. Don’t spend all of your time unpacking and decorating.

You’re going to have a long time to do this, but you only have one college move in day. Hang anything that you need help to hang and unpack some essentials, but leave some for later. Grab lunch with your parents one last time or spend time getting to know your floor, don’t hide away in your dorm to hang posters and sort your makeup.

6. Put all of your clothes that go on hangers together and through a trash bag.

You’ve probably seen this tip on Pinterest and let me tell you, it’s a life saver! In terms of college move in day tips, I can say that this one is an actual useful hack. Having to pack your clothes and then hang them one by one is very time consuming and it can wrinkle garments.

7. Disinfect all of the furniture before moving your stuff in.

Bring disinfecting wipes and disinfecting spray for your mattress/curtains. You don’t even want to know who/what has been on your furniture. Actually, sorry I brought that up, I didn’t mean to scar you. Perhaps fear will instill the motivation to clean your dorm room? I hope so.

Don’t forget to clean the inside of dresser drawers, desk drawers, the bed frame and door knobs. Be sure to follow my dorm room cleaning schedule printable to keep your room as clean as it will be on this first day.

8. Wrap delicate items in newspaper/bubble wrap.

I wrapped my glass perfume bottles in newspaper before packing them and it stopped them from breaking. If you’re tight on space or don’t have newspaper or bubble wrap, place these items in Ziploc bags and then wrap them in your clothes or bedding to cushion them.

9. Fill anything you can.

If you’re bringing up drawers, a trash can or storage containers, fill them with items! They don’t have to stay in there but this will help you utilize space. If you’re packing tote bags or a laundry bag, fill those with items, too.

10. Take note of when your roommate(s) are moving in and what they’re bringing.

It’s going to be hard to move in while someone else is also moving into a tiny space. See when your roomie is moving in and plan to go earlier or later. I recommend going earlier! See my Roommate Guide for more details and tips on this.

While many would recommend discussing who gets which side of the room beforehand, I’m a firm believer that whoever gets to the room first should get first dibs. I’m being honest–wouldn’t you rather have the side of the room with more wall space for an entire semester than earn a few bonus points from your roomie? If you’re rooming with multiple people, however, you should discuss who is getting the bunk beds in advance.

11. Leave scissors, trash bags and water unpacked.

You’re going to definitely need these as you move in, so make sure they’re easy to access. This is especially important for scissors and trash bags. If you’ll be unwrapping a lot of items and using a lot of disinfectant wipes (hopefully) so a trash bag is key. Bonus if you figure out where to dispose of trash/where the trash room is in advance.

I also suggest unpacking your fan first and getting it plugged in. Most dorms are really hot and get even hotter when a lot of people and physical labor is involved.

12. Sort some items before you go.

I brought up a 3-drawer storage unit and I filled one drawer with toiletries, one with school supplies and another with accessories. These things didn’t stay in each drawer but it made it much easier to unpack and sort things categorically. This will save you time in the long run and help you run down your packing list by category to make sure you’ve got everything you need.

13. Dress comfortably.

You’re going to (probably) be sweating from moving everything in the stuffy dorms and you’ll probably have to climb a lot of stairs and do heavy lifting. I recommend comfy shoes like Converse or Vans, a tank top and shorts. Save your super cute outfit and perfectly done up hair for the first day of classes when more people are paying attention and you won’t sweat through it or get dust on it.

14. If you forget something, don’t go to the bookstore.

If you forgot a toothbrush or notebooks, do not buy it from your campus bookstore. It’s overpriced and not worth it. Find out where a local Target/Wal-Mart/drugstore is before moving in and head there should you need any last minute essentials.

15. Utilize your people! 

They’re there to help you move in! Move your furniture, put things together and rise your bed. Do this while you have helping hands! At my school rising the bed was really difficult and required a rubber mallet and a long of helping hands, so use the people you’ve brought with you while they’re still there.

If you have any drawers or organizers that need to be built and put together, have someone help with that. Also, if something needs to be built remember to bring a screwdriver. Have someone in your family hook up the cable for your TV or help you fold clothes–use these helping hands while you can!

16. Do some research the night before.

Figure out how long it’ll take you to get to your campus and set your alarm accordingly. Write down directions to the nearest grocery store. Locate your dorm building and the nearest parking lot on a map. Also make sure all of your items fit in your car. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way too many times and spent midnight before move in day deciding which pillows and dorm essentials I could live without.

17. Label everything.

Or create a list that says where everything is (ie: Laundry bag = Shoes, Red bin = Toiletries). Also be sure to put your name and room number on bigger items like a TV or Fan. You can do this with Painter’s Tape so it’ll easily come off later on and it won’t leave behind that annoying sticky residue that labels can leave.

18. While your roommate moves in, stay out of the way.

If you happen to have gotten their first and are basically moved in, give your roomie some space to move in. This is the perfect time for you to explore campus, sort your desk drawers that are out of the way or head to lunch with your family. You’ll have plenty of time to see your roommate so don’t crowd her or take over the room while she’s trying to get situated.

What are you most nervous about for college move in day tips?

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  • McKenzie

    I think I’m most nervous about first dibs and how our decorating styles match! A unified design for the dorm is important to me because if it clashes, it makes the room more chaotic. I don’t know about you, but when I come home from class, I just want to relax!

    • That’s something I was really nervous about, too! I ended up getting there super early so I had first dibs hehe. I agree, it can be very difficult to have a unified style in a dorm room, so you can only hope your roomie has good taste! Although, you can always agree on the major things like a rug!

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