This is it! You’re finally leaving the parental nest and moving into college. Soon you’ll be off on your own, taking care of yourself, making your own rules, and (hopefully) going to class. There’s only one thing left in your way – moving.
Nobody enjoys moving. There’s the packing, boxes, labeling, sweating, and strained backs. Add to this several hundred (or thousand) other students moving into dorm rooms on the same campus on the same day, and you’ve got one big mess. If you’ve never done it before, trust me, it’s not fun. But luckily there are some things that will make it a bit easier.
How you pack all of your stuff in the days and weeks leading up to your move has a big impact on your move-in day experience. There are a few things that you can do to make everything easier:
- Pack as tightly as possible.Don’t leave a single empty square inch in any of your boxes. You’ll also likely have suitcases and other odd containers that will have little nooks and crannies empty. Stuff these spaces with your small, miscellaneous items. When I moved into my freshman dorm, I had to move everything from the parking lot to the ninth floor of my building. The fewer trips you have to take from your car, the better.
- Don’t damage anything. Be sure to wrap anything remotely breakable in newspaper or bubblewrap to ensure that it doesn’t get broken in the move-in process. Also keep in mind that you might be moving in the rain. It might be a good idea to consolidate all of your electronics and moisture-sensitive stuff into a few plastic containers to ensure that it will stay dry.
- Remove packaging before you pack. You’ll likely be purchasing a lot of new items for your dorm, and it may be a good idea to remove some of those things from their packaging before you move. Taking loads of trash back out of your dorm through the mess of other students moving in might be difficult. However, if leaving it inside the packaging reduces its size (likely for items such as bedding), then just leave it as it is.
- Label everything. Mark all of your boxes and containers with your name and dorm room building and number. You may not be the only person carrying your stuff from your car. Your roommate, parents, and RA’s will likely be giving you a hand. Many schools also have other students helping move in freshman. Having your name and dorm clearly marked on each box ensures that nothing gets lost on the way inside.
- Pack an overnight bag. Take your backpack and pack a set of clothes, your toiletries, laptop, phone charger, and anything else you’ll need for the next day or two. It takes time to unpack everything, and you don’t want to be scrambling to find something that you need that first night or morning. There will be a lot of activities going on those first few days, and having an uncluttered mind will help you enjoy them.
Move-in day is going to be an insanely fast-paced first day of school for you. If you’re packed well, you’ll be one step ahead of a lot of other students that day. You will more than likely have already received directions from your school concerning move-in day. If not follow the directions of the RA’s or other university officials there to assist you. They’ll tell you where to park and what to do. Once you’re parked it’s time to move.
- Follow Directions. It may not be possible for you to park right next to your dorm building. Just keep your cool and follow the directions given to you. There will be enough stressed parents and students around – don’t cause a scene and make it worse. Keep in mind that the school officials are simply doing their best to get everyone moved-in and get their cars moved as quickly as possible to make room for others.
- Take a hand cart (or hand truck). It’s surprising how tired you get when lugging box after heavy box of your stuff out of the car and into your dorm building. Having a hand cart with you will enable you to take the stress of your (or your old man’s) back and move more boxes at once. If you don’t have one, there are many places to rent one locally, such as a hardware store. A hand cart is nice, but it’s certainly not necessary. If you know that there will be a lot of student workers there to help you move in, then you probably won’t need one.
- Have an extra set of clothes handy. You’re more than likely going to get sweaty and unpleasant during your move. Everyone else will be too, but it still makes you feel better meeting new people when you’re in a clean set of clothes. Remember your overnight bag? That would be a great place to store these until you’re inside your dorm.
In my opinion, this is really the hard part of moving. You have to take all of your possessions back out of all your boxes and find new homes for them. There are only a few things to consider in this step.
- Be considerate of your roommate. Although it’s hard to stay out of each other’s way in your (probably) small dorm, at least be courteous and try. If you’ve never met your roommate before, this is a time to get to know each other. Try not to add too much stress the situation by holding off on making any joint-use or space decisions. Let things develop between you before broaching any touchy subjects.
- Take it slow and enjoy yourself! There will be a lot of things grabbing your attention in those first few days. New roommates, hallmates, activities, free pizza and t-shirts, and the general excitement of starting this new phase of your life. Take your time unpacking and leave yourself plenty of time to meet new people and experience new things
Remember, that depending on who you are and your situation, this might be an incredibly exciting, scary, and emotional experience. Once you’re in your new dorm, don’t rush it. Just enjoy yourself and focus on having a good time before classes start. You’re beginning the best years of your life!