Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. See our full disclaimer here.
This post is all about surviving college move-in day.
College move-in day is extremely chaotic. Depending on the size of the University you attend, there will be thousands of people moving into the dorms.
With this many people moving into the dorms, things can get pretty crazy, pretty fast. Lucky for you, I lived on campus both my freshman and sophomore years of college. I’ve dealt with not one, but two college move-in days. I’m essentially a certified pro.
In this post, I give you my best tips and tricks to surviving college move-in day. It requires a lot of prep, the right strategy, patience, and plenty of on-hand snacks to ward off any hangryness.
Here are 14 genius tips to make college move-in day a breeze.
College Move-In Day Essentials and Tips
Planning for your move-in day is probably the most crucial tip I can give you. Honestly, it’s not even a tip, it’s absolutely vital to your move-in experience. Take all of these tips really seriously!
When you’re packing, make sure you’re packing in accordance to where you want things to go in your dorm room. Label each box accordingly – ex. toiletries, drawer clothes, hanging clothes, desk, bedding, etc. Then, and this is super important label each box with your dorm building and room number. While unlikely, depending on the Universities procedures there’s a chance a box or two could get lost. If it’s labeled, you’re covered!
No Loose Items
It may be tempting to just throw a few things in the back of the car last minute but put them in a box to save yourself later. This really really helps when you’re unpacking your car in a rush and moving it all up to your new dorm.
If you are able, communicate with your new roommate(s) to see when they are moving in. Try your hardest to stagger move-in times – it’s super tedious to try to move everything into a dorm room when you don’t have the full room to move around in. Plus, if you have your families, with, you’re suddenly trying to get 6-10 people (with your combined families) in a dorm room designed for two. Stagger those move-in times!
Arriving At The College
When you arrive at your University, you will most likely be funneled into a super long line of cars that are being divided according to the dorm buildings they are going to. Make sure that you check your new university email and the university website to see their check-in procedure. My University had signs for us to print out and put on our windshield so we were sorted into the correct line.
Unpacking The Car
When you finally arrive at your dorm building, you’ll most likely be directed into a parking spot, and (depending on the school) volunteers will bring you some bins to place all of your items into. You’ll be directed to unpack quickly, and then for someone to drive the car to a designated parking lot where you can park for the day.
I bet that you’re going to go and enjoy a nice meal with your family after you move-in. Unfortunately for you, so is the rest of the university that’s moving in that day, or any other universities in the area. Make reservations a few days in advance just to be safe.
Avoid Shopping Trips – Plan Ahead Instead!
When I moved into college, there were 2 other major colleges in the city that also held their move-in days on that same day. (Do people not coordinate?) Traffic was pretty crazy, and when I realized I needed more hangers – we knew that we needed to brave Target. As expected, Target was an absolute war zone of people trying to buy stuff they forgot, and they were completely out of hangers. Avoid these shopping trips by planning ahead and making lists. Even if you do forget some stuff, you can always run to the store once it’s restocked a week later, as long as you have the essentials.
Essentials To Bring With
Most dorm doors don’t stay shut on their own, which is really difficult for moving things in and out of the room. Bring a door stop with you, and expect the stores to be out of them – almost no one thinks of this! Plus, it’s a great idea to keep your dorm room door open the first week of school to meet some new friends.
Whether it’s putting together furniture or lofting your dorm bed, having some tools are essential. Make sure that you bring tools that are used to put furniture kits together, and a hammer to help get stuff unstuck (like the pieces of your dorm bed when trying to loft).
Cleaning Supplies – Keep These Handy!
Dorm rooms are not cleaned out very well, and they especially aren’t disinfected to the extreme that you would be comfortable with. Spray disinfectant spray and wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes! Keep these items handy so they don’t get lost among all of your boxes. Label this box and keep it on you so you can clean out your room before starting your official move-in.
Dorm rooms usually don’t have air conditioning, and August tends to be a really hot month. My dorm room was roasting when I first opened the door to it. A fan, even a small one, really helps keep things moving and cools down the room a lot.
Change of Clothing
Wear some clothes that are easy to move around in for your move-in, but bring a spare pair of handy clothes to change into if you feel like you should be wearing something different for your dinner reservations or first social with your new floor mates.
It’s best to fully move-in during move-in day, especially since you can put your parents to work. My mom put together all of my bedding and hung up all my decor for me. We were so thankful that we thought to bring command strips and hooks in advance. They sure came in handy!
Finally, there might be some accidental injuries during move-in day. It’s good to keep some bandaids on hand, just incase. Then, you can keep the first-aid kit in your dorm for any small injuries that the school year brings to you.