The day you’ve been (excitedly? nervously?) waiting for is finally here…but maybe you aren’t quite ready for it. Move-in day can be a bit nerve-wrecking because you might be worried about what your room will look like, if you packed everything you need, if you overpacked, but for me my biggest concern my freshman move-in day was how the hell was I moving everything from the family car to the room??? How do your items go from cozily crammed in the car to Pinterest-worthy dorm room?
Move-in day doesn’t have to be as insane as you think it might be. Sure, everyone — parents, siblings, roommate, you — may feel a little stressed on this momentous day, but I’ve got some tips that’ll definitely help you get settled easier and thus worry less. I’m about to be a junior in college, so this is going to be my third time doing all this, and I’ve definitely learned a lot the first two times!
1. Pack your storage bins ahead of time.
Stacked organizers and bins can definitely be packed ahead of time with the things you intend to keep in there. This saves space in the car and gives you much less stuff to unpack when you get to your room. I like keeping any extra towels, bed sheets and laundry supplies in one of my bins, so I make sure I designate all related items to that one bin — and I don’t even have to remove a thing from it!
2. Tape things shut.
PLEASE tape any drawers or open things shut, including the door of your mini fridge! You don’t want the door flying open while you’re trying to move it through the hallways! If you have even a sneaking feeling that a container or organizer might open itself up on the way or while you’re moving it, trust your gut unless you want your belongings scattered on the floor of the parking lot.
3. Put cling wrap over the tops of bottled items to prevent spills.
I started using this hack on my makeup bottles and hair and body products and it actually works! I get paranoid that my bottles of lotion will open up and spill all over the inside of my bag *shudder*. Just unscrew the cap, place a small square of cling wrap evenly on top of the opening of the bottle, and screw the cap back on tightly. A mess in your bag or suitcase will no longer be a worry!
4. Remove bulky packagings ahead of time.
There’s no reason to keep the packaging around a pack of pens or pencils, or the annoying plastic flashlights come in when packing to leave. You’re going to need to remove them when you get to your room, so you might as well get rid of the packaging when you’re still at home and can take a meat cleaver to particularly annoying packagings. Bulky packaging only takes up space in your containers and bags, and the fewer boxes and bags you can bring with you, the better.
5. Bring water and snacks.
Moving is tiring. Make sure you bring enough water for you and your family. You’re kidding yourself if you think that you won’t want even a sip of water by the time you’re finished with everything. I also like bringing granola bars and my favorite flavor of Cheez-its as a snack (you’ll also likely get hungry in the process).
6. Arrive as early as possible.
Most colleges have a designated time period during the day for students to move in (because building offices might close after a certain time of day). The earlier you get out there and get started moving in, the earlier you can be done with it all! Plus, if you realize that you need to run out to a Target or grocery store because you forgot something, at least you’ll have more time to do so.
7. Decide ahead of time who gets which side of the room.
Hopefully by move-in day you will have spoken to your soon-to-be roommate at least once. Decide who gets the window bed and who gets the bed by the door ahead of time so if you get to the room first you don’t have to worry about taking the side of the room your roommate wanted.
8. Bring a hand cart.
This is extremely useful when moving large, heavy items like a mini fridge because you sure as hell don’t want to drag it with your bare hands from the parking lot to the fifth floor of your building! My parents and I also use the hand cart to stack my suitcase, travel handbag, and duffle bag all in one go — so fewer trips to the car!
9. Locate the building’s RA office first.
You need to go to your building’s office to check in and receive the key to your room. DON’T forget to do this! If you do, you’ll arrive at your door and realize you don’t have a key to get inside (if you’re unlucky and the people you’re living with haven’t arrived yet), and you’ll have to trek back downstairs to look for the office and get your key.
10. Find an elevator.
You’ll definitely have at least one item that you’d hate to have to lug up the stairs! Elevators are Godsent inventions for soon-to-be weary college students. Sometimes they can be a bit slow when everyone’s trying to use it at once (another reason why it’s good to arrive as early as you can!) but it beats using the stairs when your arms are wrapped around three different containers.
11. Disinfect everything.
The desk, he dresser, the mattress! I like to take a can of disinfectant spray and mist it over the mattress before I start putting on any sheets. It’s also a good idea to give the desk and dresser a once-over with Lysol wipes to remove excess dust (especially if you have allergies, like me!).
12. Need space to move around? Temporarily put some things under the bed.
I’ve lived in suite-style living for the last two years, so if I needed space to move around in the room, I kept belongings I didn’t need straight away in the living room area. But if you’re in corridor-style living and don’t want to leave some belongings in the hallway where they can get in the way of passerbys, temporarily chuck them under the bed. This way, you can just reach under and pull them out as you need them and you’ll still have space to move around in the actual room.
13. Plug in your mini fridge and get items that need refrigeration inside.
If you have FROZEN items or items that just need refrigeration (like yogurt), you need to get them in the fridge ASAP, especially if you just drove 2+ hours in the late summer sun without refrigeration for your food. This is one of the first things I do when I get to my room because I don’t want anything to spoil. Plus, since the fridge is bigger, I like to find a space that works well for it; it’s easier to find space for smaller items.
14. Get your family to help!
Need your bed to be raised a little higher? Better get dad to help you out before he leaves! Get your family to help you do whatever they can so you don’t have to beg your roommate to help you move the couch later on!
15. Know the location of the nearest Target or Walmart.
Just in case you need to quickly run over there to pick something up! Speaking of knowing the locations of things, also know exactly how to navigate to your dorm building because nothing stresses people out like not knowing which turns to take when they count the most!
16. Help your roommate get settled as needed.
If you’re all done but your roommate could use some extra hands, you should try to help out. If it were you, you’d be grateful for the extra help. Plus, this is a great way to make small talk and get to know your roomie better (and start off on the right foot with them!).
Because you just survived move-in day!
Hopefully you’ll find my tips and tricks for conquering move-in day helpful! Like I said, move-in day doesn’t have to be super stressful; make it easy on yourself so that you can live to survive another move-in day!
ALSO, don’t forget to check out my post on things that aren’t allowed in college dorms and what you can bring instead so that you can save money and space!
What are your tips for making move-in day easier?