Written by Corinne DeVries
Where do you even begin?! Preparing for your first move to college can be stressful and overwhelming, to say the least. The uncertainty surrounding what will soon be your college life is looming ahead. You’re not sure where everything on campus is, where your room is, what you should pack, if your new peers will be welcoming, or if you’ll get everything done before your move in date.
Thankfully we have quite a few college moving experts on hand to offer their advice on expertly preparing you for your move, so you’ll have one less thing to worry about!
Getting started and getting there
Most universities and colleges begin sending brochures, flyers, and check-up emails a month or two in advance to prepare you to move in. Often, among these materials will be a list of suggested items you need to bring. This is a good way to start your list of items you know you need to bring. Another important thing to remember is most campuses get crazy busy during move-in days. A high influx of cars are on campus, makes parking and getting to your dorm or apartment just short of impossible. Be sure you check what time you are scheduled to move in and where you can park to unload your belongings, and try to stick with this schedule! A lot of students will be moving in on the same day, and if you try to move in at a different time, there may not be a place to park and unload. Lastly, on move day, give yourself a little extra time to get there—there are many people in one area, and getting through campus or around town can take a lot longer than usual, and you want to make sure you are punctual for your move-in time.
It’s a good idea to get to know your roommate and become familiar with them so you don’t feel like you’re moving in with a total stranger. Meeting up to grab lunch is the best way to introduce yourself but if you don’t have time, or you roommate doesn’t live near you, you can always chat online or over the phone. This way you can find out what they like to do in their free time, as well as figure out who will be bringing what items. The typical list of items students share with their roommates are things like a futon, fridge, microwave, TV, carpet, etc.!
Sharing a bathroom
Check if your dorm is suite style or community bath. If you’re in a suite style dorm, you will want to stock up on cleaning supplies. Usually with four people plus your friends that come over, your bathroom gets gross pretty quickly. Get to know your suitemates and set up a weekly cleaning schedule for the bathroom. Since cleaning supplies can be a hassle to pack, you will most likely want to find the local convenience store once you move in, and get cleaning supplies for your bathroom.
If your dorm has community bath, you will probably want to invest in a carrier for your shampoo/conditioner, tooth brush, razors etc. to make trips to the bathroom simple. You can just grab your carrier rather than trying to carry everything in your arms. Sometimes toiletries can be awkward to pack. If you don’t want to deal with trying to find a place to squeeze your toiletries in with all of your clothes on move day, you may want to wait and buy these items at the convenience store once you arrive.
Be sure to read through all of the information the university has sent you about measurements. All dorms are different, so before buying your futon, carpet, or fridge, check the size of your room to ensure what you’re buying will all fit in your room. Also, double check things like bed size. Some bunk beds or lofts in college dorms are longer or a different size than your average twin bed. If you’re planning to buy your own sheets, double check the bed size to make sure the sheets will fit.
Some campuses offer linen agreements for on-campus living. So if you don’t want to go out and find sheets that fit, check to see if your campus offers a linen agreement. Often linen agreements include washing the sheets as well as shower towels. These items usually need to be returned at the end of the year during checkout, but it’s one less thing to pack!
In addition, check the laundry situation in your dorm. There may be washers and dryers in your dorm hall. Some campuses may include the use of the machines in your housing contract. However, some may require you to use cards or quarters. If this is the case, you may want to bring quarters or find a nearby location where you can exchange cash for quarters!
Some things you may not think about when moving into the dorm is that you will most likely get sick whether it be a cold, the flu, migraines, or maybe you will get a really bad paper cut! Or for those bad days where you seem to be spilling everything, whether it be on your carpet, desk, or even on yourself, there are a few things you will want to pack:
- First aid: bandages, antibiotic and hydrocortisone ointments, pain killers, digital thermometer, decongestant, and antacids
- Laundry: detergent, stain remover stick, and fabric softener
- Cleaning: antibacterial wipes, glass cleaning wipes, microfiber dust cloth, roll of paper towels, broom, and dustpan
- Pack light
- The dorms aren’t very big and there isn’t a lot of room for clutter. Try to only pack the essentials with maybe a few decorative items such as pictures of family and high school friends to make it feel more like home.
- It may be easy to pack clothes in a suitcase, however there isn’t a lot of storage space in a dorm room so try to pack clothes in garbage bags or something that can be easily thrown away or stored for when it’s time to move out again.
- Pack like things together
- If you pack similar belongings together, it makes unpacking on arrival so much easier.
- Tool kit
- Bring a tool kit for move in day and have it handy in case you want to loft/de-loft your bed, put together a table you brought, or something of the sort.
- Introduce yourself to people living on your floor or in your hall. The friends you make in college will likely become lifelong friends.
Also find nearby convenience stores because we all know there is that one thing you forgot to pack and you won’t be able to wait for mom to send it to you in the mail.