Moving into college for the first time
Will you be a freshman moving to college for the first time this year? If so, I have some valuable tips and info you’ll need for move-in day! Let’s begin.

Find out what’s there. Will your college provide a microwave or mini-fridge, or are those things you will have to supply yourself? Cables for tv or will you be streaming because there is no cable in the dorms? Finding out what’s available before you move in will help you not waste space when you start packing for the move.

Get to know your roommate. You may be new acquaintances or life-long friends, but either way, you’re going to be sharing a small space day in and day out. Have a least some contact before moving day. Talk about when you’ll both arrive, what each of you is bringing, if they prefer the top or bottom bunk (if there are bunkbeds), and what ideas they have for decorating (which seems more important for the girls than the guys). If they can bring the microwave, maybe you can supply the mini-fridge; divide and conquer when it comes to big items.

Arrive early. Yes, this means that you might not get to sleep in, but it will be worth it to get the closest parking spot to the dorm. Not only will you save time unloading your things, you’ll save your body from getting too tired too fast. I’ve been on the wrong end of an August move in to a Florida college – believe me, proximity can be a life-saver! Getting to your dorm early also means being able to pick out which side of the room will be best for you.

Stick to the schedule. Colleges go to great lengths to make sure moving in day is organized. Make moving to college easy for yourself by following the schedule they give you. If new student orientation starts at 2 p.m., try and finish by then. Go to the events because it’s a great way to make new friends.

Keep it clean. Bring paper towels and cleaning supplies with you. As soon as you walk into your new dorm room, give it a good clean. Make sure you get the bathroom, too. Floors are often missed so bring a swifter with wet pads, do a wipe before you start and then another after everyone is done parading in and out.

Put function first. Before you start unloading your personal items, make sure that you and your roommate have the furniture just the way you want it. An empty dresser is much easier to move than a full one.

Stay hydrated. Water will be your best friend on move in day. The last thing you want is to be sick from not staying hydrated while unloading and unpacking. Also, be sure to take plenty of breaks so you don’t get burned out on unpacking. 

Wait to buy. Make a shopping trip for things you may need for your dorm room after you and your roommate are completely moved in. Your roommate may bring things for the room that you may need (like an extra trash can). Doing this will save you time and money. Remember everything is just a click away and if shopping on Amazon, don’t forget to designate a Smile Charity (hint- WOASF)!

Remember your key. Put it on a lanyard around your neck – if only for moving day. With all the in and out – some doors lock automatically behind you for safety.  At the very least, put a sign on your door reminding yourself to get your key each time before you leave the dorm. The last thing you want to be is locked out on moving day!  You may be able to prop your room door open (bring a wedge, those doors are heavy), but the building doors may remain locked.

Bring a fan. Remember, no matter where you are in the country, August can be hot! Sometimes dorm rooms won’t be cooled down enough, especially in the regions of the country where dorms don’t have air conditioning. Be sure to bring a fan and pack it in the car last, so it’s first out (with your cleaning supplies).

Pack a power strip. You’ll have lots of things to plug in (your computer, fridge, microwave, etc.) and most dorm rooms aren’t supplied with tons of wall plugins. Bring a power strip so you can get everything working properly. Extension cords can be helpful too, but many schools do not allow them – check your do’s and don’ts list.

Use a moving checklist. Check your university’s website for a packing list.  It will have a complete list of do’s and don’ts (like NO candles).

The mattress dilemma. If you don’t like the idea of sleeping on the same mattress as someone else, bring mattress pad toppers (memory foam, egg carton, etc.). A good mattress pad can make a world of difference throughout freshman year, so splurge on a good one.  You’ll spend more time in your bed (either laying or sitting) than probably anywhere else freshman year. Also ask if you have a Twin or Twin-XL mattress to make sure you get the correct size!

Label it. Label your boxes etc. with your name and dorm room.  Many colleges have volunteers to help you move your things inside and if your items get mixed up in the elevator with someone else, everyone knows where the boxes belong.

The breakable stuff. If something is breakable, you need to carry it in yourself. Don’t trust it to the students helping everyone carry things in. They’re trying to do things fast, and that can equal a disaster with your breakable things.

Take notes. Along with cleaning, examine the dorm room before you move anything in. The Resident Assistant (RA) should give you a list to record any damages, missing items or needed repairs, make careful notes. This way, you will not be responsible for those things when you move out of the dorm. Look at the walls, furniture, and floor for stains and damages.

Elevator vs. Stairs. If your dorm has an elevator, it will help you to move in quickly. However, sometimes the elevator can get busy, so using the stairs might be your best bet anyway. If your dorm doesn’t have an elevator, pack strategically (keep boxes to a carrying weight) for bringing things up the stairs.

Bring shelf paper. You can line your drawers and closet cabinets with shelf paper so that your things are protected from dirt and stains. Be careful sticking it down though, it can be difficult to remove, and you don't want to be charged at the end of the year.  Just lay it down, it will still work.

Grab the toolbox. Bring some tools with you like a hammer, utility knife, pliers, rubber mallet, wrench, screw drivers, nails, a tape measure, power drill, level, and duct tape. You never know if something might need a little fixing before you can use it. However, some school prohibit tools coming into the dorm b/c they don’t want any major construction going on.  Check the website for rules. While not tools, you can NEVER have enough command strips and hooks.

Watch your stuff. A lot of times, dorm managers will ask students to unload near the dorm, park the car somewhere else, and then take your stuff in the dorm. You should get out of the car too and stay with your load, let mom or dad do the parking. You can get started with the delivery to your room (if there are helpers) and make sure everything gets delivered to the right place. Remember also to watch your things while you’re in your dorm room, too, as doors are constantly open.

When it rains, it pours. If it’s raining on your move in day, bring a tarp to cover your items that are waiting to be taken into the dorm. Also, bring plastic bags to cover items as you carry them inside. If it has just recently rained, you may want to bring a tarp to set your things on as you unload them.

Say goodbye to your parents. If mom and dad are with you on moving day, it’s likely that they’ll be happy to stay as long as you want – they are in no rush to leave their baby. When the time finally comes to say goodbye, be sure to give them a big hug, a load of thanks, and then have something to do immediately after they drive away so that you won’t feel lonely or sad.

Good Luck!

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