College move-in day is often one of the hottest days of the year and emotions run high. But do not worry ! Understanding how to avoid common pitfalls can help ensure things run smoothly. We’ve survived many moving days with our kids over the past seven years and found the perfect recipe to make it as simple and organized as possible. Here are our top moving-in tips for what NOT to do so you can focus on the transitions ahead rather than the chaos of the day itself.
1. Having no system or plan — The dormitories are small and space is limited. When you bring everything into the room to settle in, it’s so much easier if you’ve packed in an orderly fashion. You don’t want to look through seven different containers when you need something! So when it comes to things like bedding, be sure to pack everything in one box, rather than the sheets in one, the mattress pad in another, and the comforter in another. We have found that labeling the outside of your boxes also helps with efficiency.
2. Pack clothes in suitcases “Why unhook the clothes from the hangers, fold them, and pack them in a suitcase, then pack the hangers in a box, just to open the suitcase when they arrive and hang up all their clothes again?” Keep clothes hanging on their hangers for easy moving in. You can cover hanging clothes with large plastic trash bags and move them ready to hang. Suitcases still work, but use them to carry folded clothes.
3. Bringing new items into product packaging — If you bought new items for the dorm, this is one of our favorite hacks! Take everything you know you’re going to use out of the packaging and put it in the bins or boxes you use to transport everything. This helps by reducing the time it takes to unpack all the items from their packaging and saves space in the car. You’ll also have a lot less waste on move-in day.
4. Not securing bins and drawers — Many students use plastic storage drawers for their small spaces. After all, they are inexpensive and lightweight. These drawers are also great for moving around efficiently, if you do it right. After moving all six kids in several times, we’ve seen many of these units collapse and all contents fall into the parking lot or hallway. So you’ll want to use something to keep the drawers closed, like tape or bungee cords, until you’re safe in the dorm.
5. Forgetting to bring basic tools — On move-in day, there may be shelves to assemble, beds to adjust, curtains to hang, or other tasks that require certain tools. Be sure to bring a few basics, like a screwdriver, hammer, level, and a good pair of scissors. You should also bring products to securely hang items in the dorm, such as adhesive hooks or sticky putty. And here’s another helpful tip: if you’re using these nail-free hanging products, they’ll stick better if you clean the wall with rubbing alcohol first.
6. Wear cute clothes and uncomfortable shoes — Today is not the day to dress up. You’re going to get hot and get dirty, so wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
7. Forget cleaning products — The first thing you’ll want to do before unpacking is to wipe down everything in your student’s room. No one wants to start loading up a dresser that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned. Trust us on this one! You will be shocked at how much dirt will come off your wipes or sponge. So pack cleaning supplies and make sure they are easily accessible.
8. Neglecting to bring snacks and water — Moving into a dorm and getting your student settled and comfortable can take some time, and you don’t want people to go hungry. Bring a stash of protein bars and some of your family’s favorite snacks. As it is often hot at this time of year, everyone will also want to stay hydrated. Many dorms have water bottle refill stations, so don’t forget your favorite reusable water bottle!
9. Overpack — Remember that the dorms are small and students do not need to bring All of the House! All of our kids packed way too many clothes in their first year that they never wore. Also, be sure to coordinate with your roommates, so you don’t bring duplicates of things that can be shared. You can always go to a store to buy something if needed, and Amazon delivers to dorm rooms too!
Moving into a dorm can be stressful, but if you follow these nine tips, your college move-in experience can be a positive one. And here’s another bonus tip: it’s normal to feel anxious about saying goodbye once everything’s moved in, but we’ve learned that it’s good not to stay around too long after moving in. Once everything is unpacked and set up, capture the memories with a few photos, then say goodbye. It’s time to focus on the exciting new transitions to come.