Ace Your College Move-In Day With These 10 Easy Tips

College can be stressful, but move-in day doesn't have to be. Try these real-life tips to make it easier.

Published August 1, 2023
college student moving in

Don't stress, don't fret. Moving onto campus is not as bad as you think, I promise. You may have seen countless vlogs or informational videos about college move-ins, which may have overwhelmed you. Just try to keep these tips in mind when you're stressed and surrounded by boxes! You've got this.

1. Pack Light

One mistake new students sometimes make is overpacking. Since housing for freshmen tends to be smaller, this is something students should try to avoid. Keep things simple and pack in categories: casual attire, formal attire, and little things in between.

Quick Tip

Remember that you're bound to make other purchases throughout the year, too. If you don't overpack when you move in, it can help you stay sane when you pack to leave for summer vacation at the end of the year.

2. Stack Up on Essentials

Running out of toothpaste when you're late to class is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Stack up on necessary products like soap, toothpaste, and even lotion. It's better to have enough of these essentials to last you through the year than to find out you've run out during the most stressful time of the semester.

Helpful Hack

To maximize space, consider storing items in these locations:

  • Under your bed
  • Closet/closet floor
  • Bottom storage drawers
  • Corner of/under your desk

3. Have Money on Hand

Money is always a helpful tool to have on campus. Depending on your school's location, extra pocket change is almost a necessity as a first-year student solely to get around. City schools tend to have great public transit, however, other schools may require many taxi rides throughout the school year.

Quick Tip

Over the summer, whether it's from working or generous gifts from your family, try to stack up as much money as you can. Attempt to minimize your spending over the summer to have as much as possible once you get on campus.

4. Research Move-In Day At Your School

Search up your school on YouTube. More often than not, there are wonderful YouTubers who have moved into the very dormitory you plan to move into. This is a great way to see move-in day from other perspectives apart from the school's website. Hop on to your school's social media and check out move-in content from the previous years.

Try to make yourself as familiar as possible with the layout of your dormitory so you don't spend 20 minutes trying to find the elevator (guilty). All of this research and analysis will definitely make your move-in day a little less nerve-racking for both you and your family.

5. Introduce Yourself to Your Peers Online

Many schools start welcome groups online for incoming freshmen. From GroupMe to Instagram, and even sometimes Snapchat, people are trying to make your transition to the college world a little easier. I highly recommend you joining these groups.

I say this with absolute certainty: your peers are just as anxious as you. Join these groups and be nervous, together. If you find it difficult to make buddies due to your potentially introverted nature, don't fear: this is 100% introvert-safe.

6. Label Your Belongings

student packing boxes

With the seemingly millions of boxes you'll have in your room on move-in day, a simple label on each box (or bag) will save you so much time and energy. When you're packing up boxes at home, try putting them in efficient categories like these:

  • Drawer tops
  • Drawer bottoms
  • Drawer undergarments
  • Accessories
  • Decor
  • Hang-up/closet items

7. Don't Bring Too Much Decor

You don't need seven throw pillows. Although they're really cute, they'll end up under your bed the same night. The same goes for other excessive amounts of decor, so try to bring the bare minimum.

Bring maybe a rug, some posters, photos, and whatever else you think will make your room feel like home -- just don't overdo it! As previously mentioned, you're very likely to buy little things over the semesters, so allow yourself space to maybe add to your decor in the future.

And always ask yourself, "Is this enough or will I cry trying to move out in the summer?"

8. Pack Something That Reminds You of Home

For many students, homesickness is so very real. You might not miss being home, but you may feel a longing for your life back home, and that's okay.

In order to cope, have at least one item to remind yourself of home. Whether it's a photo of your friends and family, your favorite blanket, or even your childhood plushie, it'll be a piece of home you can turn to when things start to get hard on campus.

9. Bring Extra Sheet Sets

If possible, don't only bring one bed set. In the midst of many exams and papers, there will be times when you can't stick to your promised laundry routine. And for the sake of hygiene, bring extra sheets, pillowcases, and blankets. When a laundry run doesn't look possible for quite some time, you can use your spare sets in order to feel fresh even with a full hamper.

10. Stack Up On Quarters

It may seem random, but quarters are near heroes on campus. Most schools require you to pay for your laundry. They usually charge your student card each time you do laundry, but what happens when it runs out? In order to get more funds, that sometimes means adding more money to your tuition bill, and who wants to do that?

As you're packing back home, try and collect as many quarters as you can to avoid having to add more money to your student account. Bonus points if you have extra for the vending machine!

Tips for Parents or Family Members Helping Students Move In

parent helping student move in

If you're a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, other family member, or friend helping your college student move in, here are a few points in mind:

  • Help the student move in before leaving, if possible. Help is always appreciated.
  • Stay calm: one stressed person is more than enough (and your college student will very likely be stressed)
  • Be patient with the student, they're navigating a completely new environment.
  • Try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Remember, it may be the last time they see you for a while!

Get Ready for Move-In Day Without the Stress

As corny as it sounds, college can be so exciting. Coming into a whole new environment as a new student can be overwhelming: trust me, I know. Don't let fear or nervousness steer you away from actually enjoying yourself at your new school.

Remember, everyone else is just as nervous as you, if not more. Once you get settled in and start getting comfortable, you'll slowly start to find yourself and like-minded friends who want success just as much as you do. Isn't that what college is all about, anyway?

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Ace Your College Move-In Day With These 10 Easy Tips